Whats the hardest thing about being an expat?
Missing your family? Not having any truly relatable friends? Constantly having to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius? Initially having to hold up your left hand in the shape of an L as a reminder to drive on the left?
Yeah, ok, I guess those things are difficult, but they don't measure up the real challenge which slaps most female expats squarely in their face with surprising force...
Finding a hair stylist!
Walking through a shopping mall today, I quickly caught a glimpse of a dowdy looking girl with the most boring, drab, lame hair in all of the United Kingdom and wondered why she wouldnt put in a little more effort... and you guessed it, "she" was me. Ugh.
Back in the States, my Aunt (who is a real hair stylist, not like that Aunt who might cut your bangs with kitchen scissors when you could no longer see) used to do my hair for free, whenever I asked and if I didnt like what had been done, she'd fix it.. for free, whenever I asked. Yeah, I know - what a spoiled brat, eh?
When I moved here I learned how the other half live - they have to pay for hair cuts and make appointments within regular business hours. Can you believe it?!
Once this had properly sunk in, I made my first appointment at a local salon which came highly recommended and was charged £50 for a haircut that closely resembled the times I decided Barbie was tired of the same ol' same ol' and gave her an "updated" look with my dad's weed trimmers. Seriously. My hair was hacked. I then got two ok cuts at two different places, but they never understood exactly what I wanted and they certainly didnt suggest anything new or different, and then there was the conversation ... so repetitive and predictible at every place:
18 year old hair stylist girl: "where are you from?"
Me: America. Colorado, actually.
18 YOHSG: Oh is that near California?
Me: Yeah, kinda.
18 YOHSG: So why did you move here?
Me: My husband is from here.
18 YOHSG: But aren't American boys so much cooler?
So I've given up - I've let my hair grow to where it doesnt need to be cut every four weeks, can be pulled back on really bad days and is so dreadfully boring even on good days.
What's a girl to do? Pay £100 instead of the £50 to see the man behind the curtain rather of one of his trainees? Suffer bad haircuts until you find someone who "gets" you? Pretend you are mute when you finally do choose a place?
Had I just moved to the next state or even cross country, I'd go home to Aunt Linda every four weeks, but international travel for a hair cut seems a bit excessive, even for me.