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The third cut

February 3, 2011

If, as Sheryl Crow sings,  the first cut is the deepest, what about the second and third?

I refer, of course, not to love, as she does, but to hair. Specifically, my hair. More specifically, the haircuts I have received since I have been in Ukraine.

I have always been the person who is game to try new cuts – go from long to super short, let it grow, and all things in between. I also have had colors, colors, colors – from the lightest of blondes to chocolate brown to auburn.

It is easy to be adventurous with your hair in your native country. If you don’t like the color, you can color it back. If you don’t like the cut, you can get another cut or let it grow out. These seem like easy concepts, but it is amazing how it changes when you are in a country where you cannot accurately describe what you want done to your hair.

When I arrived in Ukraine, I had a haircut with something called round layers in it. Because my hair is not super curly and not straight, but somewhere in between, it actually provides a unique challenge when it is being cut. I learned of the miracle of round layers about six months before I came here, and they worked for my hair. Really well.

After being here for about ten weeks, my hair was looking a little shaggy, so I took to a salon where a clustermate of mine had gotten a good haircut (the color she got, well, she was not happy with that). I left the salon looking like a Stepford Wife (seriously – I have a photo of me from that day to prove it). After that trauma, I decided to just let the hair grow, trim the bangs myself (this I had done 20 years ago in Denmark).

However, after five months of that, the hair was really, really shaggy. And the following week I was to have my photo taken. So I braved the salon again, and took my then counterpart with me to explain what I wanted. I also had a photograph to show what I wanted. With all these precautions, what could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out. I left THAT salon with two haircuts – the back was exactly what I wanted. The front, on the other hand..well, it was not. I worked with it, and my hair texture worked to my advantage this time, since it is hard to see that cut with the waves that I had.

That was three months ago. After cutting my own bangs AGAIN (I wait too long then get frustrated and snip snip) I decided to ask the ladies I work with at the library to help me find a place to get my hair cut. I knew exactly what I wanted – the back was good, just needed it shorter. The front, I needed repairs. Seems simple enough, right?

Well, no. I learned the word for layers, and knew the word for repair. I told her I was okay with the back, just wanted it shorter, but the front, I wanted it to be like the back, in layers. I needed the front to be repaired.

A stream of Russian, back and forth between Alla (the lady I work with) and the hairdresser. Then they asked me something. Um…yeah…I don’t know. I showed her the magazine with the photo, said the back of that was okay but not the front, the front needs to be fixed.

The cutting ensued. To her credit, midway through the cut they asked if I liked it. I asked why the front was shorter than the back. She said a bunch of stuff and I (again) heard the term “cascade”. Apparently “cascade” does not mean what I thought it did…and was not what I wanted. At that point, I kind of gave up and threw my hands up. I was actually close to tears.

Why is it that getting my hair cut always seems to be a traumatic experience? Will I NEVER learn the correct things to say?

We forged ahead though, and eventually I think we came to some sort of an agreement. I will know more when I style it myself though…

Alla, however, loves the cut and everyone we ran into when we got back here, she pointed out the fact that I got my hair cut, and said how beautiful it is. I think she also told people to tell me how nice it looks, because she did not believe me when I said I liked the cut. Guess I am not such a great liar…it is just hard to show enthusiasm when it is somewhat of a shock to see what you got, and that it was not exactly what you had in mind.

But it is another of those experiences that I will perhaps look back on and laugh. I mean, hair? Really? There are so many other things to worry about. This is just my vanity coming through. It will diminish as time goes by. Until the next time I need a haircut.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen permalink
    February 3, 2011 10:39 am

    How can we appreciate this post properly without photographs? Best with “before” and “after”…

  2. February 3, 2011 12:14 pm

    I don’t have a photo that is more recent than my trip to Cairo. As for how it looks now…well, I will wait and see how it looks next week.

  3. Mom permalink
    February 3, 2011 1:45 pm

    Welcome to the woman’s world of hair cuts. I’m still suffering with the problem and I DO live in the U.S. It seems what we describe and even show someone in a picture is not necessarily what they see or are actually able to produce. So, we end up with their version, not ours. Speaking from personal experience, I wouldn’t suggest cutting your hair yourself, since that’s really difficult to do with even results. (I did it for years until I heard someone say, “h___s___ haircut.”
    I’d say go back to the one place that gave you the best haircut, keep with them and work around it. Life is never totally fair or easy.

  4. February 4, 2011 1:15 am

    Actually, I usually got exactly the cut I asked for in the States, especially when I started going to the Aveda school. I don’t cut my hair myself, I trim my bangs on occasion. And no, I have not received any “best haircut” here as yet – thus the post.

  5. Heidi permalink
    February 4, 2011 2:25 pm

    I have learned to sadly just put up with whatever happens, even in the US. Sometimes I get a hair cut I love! And the next time it is totally different. And I always cut my bangs myself. 🙂 I have only gotten 2 haircuts here, both from my Russian friend, in my home or hers. I refuse to pay 60 dollars for a plain, simple cut… I too hope to see pics of your hair though. 🙂 After my last hair cut, I discovered that since I have given birth to my twins, my hair has turned DARK brown, almost black… quite a shock after 3.5 decades of being a blond…

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