Script for a Haircut in Another Language

It always goes the same after being plonked in front of a cruel and mocking mirror.

I know my lines after the first question “¿Como quiere?” is asked.

“Tres con la maquina aqui, aqui y aqui,” I point to the sides and back of my head and then indicate the top. “Y casi lo mismo aqui.”

Basically, a shortish back and sides.

Then there’s the holding up of my fringe as the hairdresser runs their fingers down to a point that still leaves too much attached to my head so I have to advise “más corto”, swallowing the ‘s’ they way they do here.

“¿Más?” He moves his fingers until we negotiate a final resting spot.

“Si, perfecto,” I say to halt his descending fingers.

That usually does it and I normally sit there in silence, wondering who the old guy in the mirror as the hairdresser quietly goes about his/her business until it’s time for the mirror to be paraded around the back of my head and I nod appreciatively and say “mucho mejor, gracias.”

That’s the way it normally is.

This time it was someone new. Someone who ad libbed.

“This side sticks out more than the other,” he smiles.

Visiting the hairdresser is an ordeal. I’ve never been comfortable making small talk at the hairdresser. Doing it in Spanish just piles on the agony and awkwardness.

There’s a satellite delay as I mentally translate his statement and then the reply.

“Yes, it’s always like that,” I think I say. “That’s the side I sleep on.”

He laughs. It was over the net. I hope he doesn’t comment about my lopsided ears next. I’m not sure my Spanish is good enough to talk in detail about lopsided ears.

He goes back to snipping away. He’s fast and efficient and in less than 20 minutes I am shorn of the dead weight that A says ages me. The mirror swings around the rear of my head and we’re back on track again with the usual script.

I pay my €11 and leave feeling physically lighter and relieved that one of my least favourite activities is over.

I’ve now got two months to re-write the script to include bits about lopsided ears and sticky up patches of hair.

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