Make the cut – hairstyling in different countries
A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. Stereotypes abound, but having long luscious rich locks seems to be what most people expect from a woman. There is a lot of focus on this area when making sure you look fully presentable, and an entire industry around maintenance and care and fashionable styles.
Whenever I travel, I like to check out the local women. Depending on where I am, the women could be immaculately groomed, or look effortlessly put together, or couldn’t care less about what they have on. When I was in Venezuela, I was expecting beautiful women (I was influenced by their immense beauty watching Ms. Universe) and true enough, I saw them all around with their beautiful wavy dark hair framing their face.
I was emboldened, so I headed to the salon. Speaking no Spanish, I figured, what the heck, hair grows back anyways. Using finger and hand gestures I tried to get the message across “do whatever you want. Whatever you think would look good” and I ended up with a middle part and layered hair. It wasn’t something I would have expected, nor something I would usually do (my normal style is a side part with side fringe and back blunt straight cut.
I was actually quite happy with the result. It was a fun change, and it was a style that most of the women there had. I felt like I had a bit of an in.
When I was living in Paris, I headed down to Grenoble to visit my friend who was studying there. My friend R was the same friend I had travelled with to Venezuela. We walked around the small town, sat down and had drinks in the beautiful sunlight. There isn’t too much to do around Grenoble, so after sufficient time and activity had passed and we were lazing around, I thought, maybe I’ll get my hair cut.
R was picking up French at this point, and I (even though I was living in Paris and studying French everyday) could not strum up anything beyond ordering a coffee. We walked into a salon that looked decent, and between R’s simple French and my hand gestures I tried again to get the message across “You’re French, you MUST know style. Therefore, do what you think is best for me”.
My marvellous blonde French hairstylist gave me a very interesting cut. Side parting, layered around my face, it had a bit of a rock and roll edge and yet still could look elegant. I loved it. I’ve since then brought a picture of me with this hairstyle around town, but no one seems to be able to replicate it yet.
And so, travel is about new experiences. About picking up and learning from others. It’s also about trying things that locals do. Even something as scary as not knowing what is about to happen to your crowning glory. Your mane. This long hair you have cultivated at least over a year. It’s exciting to trust in a local. Give it a shot! try something new. And remember, at worse, you can always wear a hat!