Ever since I had a "friend divorce" who also happened to be my business partner a decade ago, I have been on the constant prowl for a steady hairdresser.
Like most of you, I would just have a automatic standing booking every 4 weeks with Stephen Andrew Jones if he was even just a two hour flight away just to to get a haircut / color / blowdry and find out which of you are natural blondes / are greying / are actually really nice or bitchy.
But alas my former hairdresser was introduced by this former friend so she got custody of "Sara"
( not her real name ).
I miss Sara.
She was the best type of hairdresser.
She spoke fluent English and I never had to explain using a translation app which, mind you, they didn't have in those days.
She was Australian and furthermore, a Victorian which is my Australian home state so we had cultural notes that overlapped.
She was a no nonsense Aussie girl who was frank which was much appreciated in terms of
Should I chop my hair off ?
Nah - won't suit you.
She had a great sense of humour but she had emotional intelligence so knew when to chat and knew when I just needed to hear the hairdryer whizzing around my ears.
I had a standard cut that she just knew to do that when I went for my first post divorce haircut, I didn't know what to ask for.
These two pictures of my blow dried straightened hair is when I went to my local hairdresser that isn't even Italian - they are a Neapolitan establishment.
Their English is just as pronounced as when they speak Italian.
This is what I got when I asked for bouncy with volume and curls at the end.
This explains my defeated look.
I have been in England too long to complain so instead I smiled and said - Si, me piace, grazie.
Then I went home complained to my husband and what-sapped my friends with wtf emojis.
So now I do what must really annoy hairdressers...
I show them pictures of my hairgoals from Pinterest.
Ok - so can you make my hair like Giselle's?
Cheers luv - you've got 45 minutes because I am running late.
Definitely not Giselle, but the following time I needed a blowdry,
I showed them pictures which don't need google translate and they put more curl in my hair.
Thank you Pinterest.
Now you are thinking, hang on Naomi, you do live in London.
Let me explain.
London does indeed attract a great pool of talent an ambitious people.
However, hairdressers are split into several categories.
They want to do fashion editorials for magazines or
they want to set up their own proper retail boutique.
So once most of them are successful, they tend to go back to their country of origin with their London street cred or they go into the suburbs or other cities where it is cheaper to rent a shop on the high street.
Indeed, even my "Sara" returned to Melbourne a few years ago so I wouldn't have had her in any case.
When I was in Korea, I thought I would use my time there to experience real life scenarios rather than going to the restaurants and living just the best bits of any city.
Going to a hairdresser was one of them.
My Korean is okay but it is a colloquial version not one of proper education as I was never schooled in it. So I lack the nuance that I might mistakenly think I have in English.
I wanted bangs / a fringe.
He looked gingerly at the selection I showed him.
"But you have neither proper Asian hair nor Western hair so your hair won't fall the exact same way.
We must find a solution." he said.
I thought he was taking the piss.
I was like, are you kidding me?
It's not a UN resolution that needs a back up plan.
It's just bangs dude.
But of course that was just in my head and I did a polite Asian nod that you see in those let's compare cultures segments on TV.
But the issue really came in when I said I wanted not only bangs but in combination with a side sweep.
He vetoed it.
I told him that is what I wanted and showed him a pic of a recent haircut that did what I wanted it to.
He said that it looked lopsided and and heavy.
I insisted I am a civilian and it only matters if I am comfortable and I don't need to look good for camera.
He insisted he has a reputation and if people ask where I got my haircut that he would be judged.
I said I don't live in Seoul and I wouldn't tell anyone.
He says his reputation is important and he has his code.
Needless to say I won't be revisiting his salon.
You would think that brunette hair is easy to color but actually I find it surprisingly hard to get the brown I like.
While this is beautiful, for my it is too stripey.
This is a bit dull and flat.
The next two pics are too red.
I like a mix between the bottom two.