Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Polly's Choice

Oh, I'm just soooo parisienne, aren't I? I'm such an habituee of my neighborhood coiffeur, Sergio Bossi, that I no longer need to ask, "Vous avez le temps pour un brushing?". When I pop my head in the door, they smile and can always accommodate my impromptu request. "Vous avez le temps pour un brushing?" just rolls off my tongue, even if I cheat on Sergio and go to Jean-Claude Biguine for variety.

In NYC last week, I needed to have my hair look decent before a big event. So without the little nanosecond of communication angst I have before conversing with most Parisian shop owners, it was going to be a breeze chatting with the hair stylist. After all, we speak the same language, right? So at 9 am on Saturday I popped my head into a little hair salon on Amsterdam Ave. The handsome 30-something guy at the desk greeted me.

"Hi," I said in my most sophisticatedly-cool-I-live-in-Paris-but-am-visiting-NYC way. "Do you have time for a blow...."

Okay, English words failed me and I thankfully stopped my self in time. I could only wave my hands. And gesture at my hair. And think of Kevin Kline saying to Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, "It's seersucker."


Anonymous said...

Found your blog from, and I really enjoy your writing. I'm often paralyzed with anxiety when I have to explain myself to French shopkeepers, especially hairdressers! I'm almost grateful I have a strong enough American accent that no one wonders why I have trouble expressing myself. Not that I'm sure I ever knew how to explain myself to a hairdresser, even back in the States.

Anonymous said...

The irony was, of course, that I ended up having my hair blown dry in NYC by a lady who spoke only Spanish. More of a linguistic challenge than in Paris!

I've finally learned all the right French terms, anyway -- all the vocab you don't learn in school such as "lisse", "du volume" "balayage" "meches" etc. Simply finding a good hairdresser who doesn't put you in the poorhouse is a challenge.

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