Hair Today and Gone Tomorrow

I think many of you will be able to relate to/sympathise with my
tale of woe concerning all the hairdressers I have had contact
with since arriving in Penang.

The first member of that fraternity to come in contact with my
head worked in one of the smarter hotels. Stupidly, I thought
that anyone working in a hotel was bound to be familiar with
Western hair and hairstyles. How wrong could I be! I tested
the water by having a blow dry for a few weeks until all the
grey bits started to show through and refused to come out on
the hairbrush. It was obvious that the time had come to take
the plunge and ask for a colour as well as the usual blow dry.
I admit to being a bit nervous when I asked, especially when I
was presented with the colour chart which looked nothing like
any colour chart I had encountered in the UK. Finally a colour
was chosen and the end result didn’t look too bad.

Why did I leave? Gradually the colour was changed, adding a
little of this, a little of that. Again, just about bearable, until ONE
DAY - I looked in the mirror after the fi nal rinse to see that my hair had turned coal black. The reason given? I was told it was
to make me “blend in” with the Chinese. I don’t remember ever
wanting to.

Time for a change. In a new salon I was told my hair should
be “beach” brown. This colour fi nally turned out to be “beezhe”
(phonetic) brown. Still puzzled, after a few weeks it dawned
on me that the word was “beige” but unfortunately by then I
had grown to dislike the yellow and despite several attempts at
getting rid of it I still looked like a corn fi eld.

Off I went again in search of assistance. Colour did not prove
to be a problem this time, I simply didn’t have it coloured. The
problem now became one of cutting. My hair is naturally wavy
and left to its own devices can look like the waves of the sea in a
storm. My UK hairdresser of 20 years spent the majority of them
trying to straighten it out and by the time I left he had very nearly
succeeded. It took just one cut and a rain shower to undo all his
good work. I set off in search of yet another salon, feeling more
like a victim than a customer.

To cut short a very long story encompassing 2 more hairdressers,
I have now found a hairdresser in Gurney Mall who not only cuts
but colours to my satisfaction. There’s just one small niggle - my
husband has just returned from having his hair cut and told me
the salon was empty, no customers. How long can they stay in
business? I’d better start hunting again.

First published in IWA Expressions Magazine.

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