Sunday, December 11, 2011


I think H's heart sank when I suggested we get haircuts together before we went to the ball this weekend.  Why?  Probably  because I have a horrible history with Friseure.

It's not all their fault.  A lot of Germans have straight hair.  I have American hair.  It's thick and wavy and unmanageable unless you know what to do with it.  When I lived in Chicago my hair stylist was from the South Pacific.  She had hair similar to mine, thick, wavy and frizzy.  She knew exactly how to cut my hair and flat iron it to low maintenance perfection.  She was so fabulous she only did cuts and I usually had to wait a week before she could fit me into her schedule.

When I moved to Hamburg four years ago I started going through salons like wildfire.  For a year I found an overpriced salon where a debonaire gay Englishman cut and highlighted.  Included in my 80 to 120 euro service was gossip about how Tom Cruise was secretly in the closet.  Unfortunately he quit and when I went back to the salon for my roots I ended up with bad highlights.
 That's not really me, image via Google.  
(Nine out of ten pictures of bad hair are of Christina Aguilera?)

Since then I've had my hair turned orange by an inexperience colorist, been given bangs when all I wanted was a trim, had uneven cuts, terrible layers and lots of frustration. 

My husband suggested I try RYF.  I took a picture of my old hair, via Chicago, and explained in terrible German to the stylists, Nenna, what I wanted.  It's important to note that Nenna didn't have typically German hair herself.  It was thick and frizzy and beautifully highlighted and she did exactly the same kind of thing my stylists in Chicago had managed to do.  I was so grateful I gave her an outrageously huge tip and when she moved from one RYF to another I followed her faithfully.  It's also worth noting that Nenna was really, really nice.  She put up with my awful language skills and never got impatient when my hair tried to form impromptu dreadlocks.

Last week I didn't have time to drive all the way to Hamburg just to get a haircut so I optimistically tried the first salon I could find in Malente.

I started to have a niggling of doubt when the Friseurin asked me if I wanted my hair cut wet or dry.  I know from experience it's not possible to cut wavy hair dry because it won't be even.  She fumbled with my thick hair, dropping clips and yanking out tangles.  She cut only the bottom layer and declared herself done.  I asked her via my husband translator to trim all my layers.  She did and again declared herself done.  I tried to explain she needed to blend the layers.  She didn't understand.  The owner came over and said my hair had to be dried first.  I argued, asking that they cut it exactly the way Nenna did because there was no way I was going to a ball with bad hair.  The owner raised her voice incensed, declaring my hair too 'dark' to cut wet.

I have never been yelled at by someone in a customer service position before moving to Germany but now I'm getting used to it.

After I refused to back down, the owner attacked my hair with thinning shears like an angry Edward Scissorhands.  I sat there flushed faced while clumps of hair fell to the floor and tried not to panic since stress isn't good for the fetus or whatever.  When she finished I said they could attempt to dry it and couldn't help but laugh at the frizzy lion's mane when they finished.  I wrapped my frizzy mess in a bun and we left.  I snapped a picture before I restyled it and after.  The second picture also my four month 'baby bump' which looks more like I ate a giant burrito.  Doesn't the bedroom look so much better with the bed made?

After I styled it my hair cut was actually very nice.  The experience of getting it isn't something I'd like to have again so next time I'll probably go back to Hamburg. 

Customer service is priceless.


  1. Although I am a man, I know exactly what you mean. I have been living in Germany for 9 years and I still have yet to find a hair stylist that can cut my hair in a way like I was used to in the States. I have thick curly (frizzy most of the time) hair (i'm a mix between latino and irish-american) and nobody here in Germany can cut it correctly. I tried asking (in German of course) the hair stylist to give me a fade or to blend the sides with top. They can't do it. I tried keeping it simple by saying "short on the sides, longer on top". Still doesn't work. I end up getting a some sort of 80's feathered cut for frizzy hair. A few years ago, frustrated by all the bad hair cuts that I had been getting, I started cutting my own hair (much to the shock of my German wife). Finally, I had give that up too. So now I try to hold out on getting my hair cut for when I travel back to the States, so that basically means, I wear my ball cap way too often. I sometimes (when my wife forces me) go to my wife's stylist. But still not a good result. (I end up paying an arm and a leg for a cut, that I am not even close to being happy with.)

    And do not even get me started on the customer service issue either :-)

    Btw, great posts! Keep on writing. Best of luck to you and your family!

    P.S. I used to live in Chicago too. I lived in Logan Square just north of Bucktown. Good times!

  2. Thanks for commenting!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one :)