Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Irina, My New Favourite Hairdresser

I took a gamble this week. I tried a new hairdresser. Nobody had recommended the place and I didn't know anyone who'd been there. But it was convenient and local so I went in and made an appointment.

When I arrived on Saturday, I was greeted by a 50 something year old woman with a lovely smile and beautiful skin but very little to say. After several hand gestures, I realised she wasn't too confident with English. My Russian doesn't exist, however, so our options were limited.

I tried to tell her what I wanted. We're talking colour here, so the details were quite important. As we fumbled our way through it, I became increasingly nervous about how this was going to turn out. I really did feel uncomfortable.I was just scared that she didn't know what I wanted and even more concerned that perhaps she didn't really know how to deliver it.

She pulled out some magazines and started pointing to different pictures. She could sense my nerves and I could see she was frustrated by her limited language. She wanted to put me at ease, but wasn't quite sure how to do it.

She landed on a picture of Jennifer Aniston and I decided that regardless of what I want, she knows good hair when she sees it, so I'll just relax and go along for the ride. I gave her a big smile and said "Yes, something like that." I may or may not have said a little prayer.

Friends is a thing of the past, but the hair lives on.


This woman, who I've since come to know as Irina, was lovely. After we agreed  (however loosely) on what she would do for me, we both relaxed and I attempted to chat with her about topics other than hair. As it turns out, Irina's English was just fine. She knew enough to chat solidly for an hour, she just needed a little confidence booster.

During our chat, I got a fabulous insight into the life and experiences of someone very different to myself. Irina not only understood what colour I wanted, but she delivered it expertly. Why wouldn't she? Before moving to Australia, she'd owned her own salon for 30 years in Kazakhstan. She didn't speak a word of English before moving here, but enrolled in TAFE to start learning the week she arrived. She hopes to one day open a Salon here in Sydney and I hope to be her first customer.

I can't exactly tell you that I left the salon looking like Jennifer Aniston, but my hair looked just as good (until I stepped out into the rain and went home looking like a drowned rat, but you get that). On top of wonderful new hair, I got to spend two hours getting to know someone I otherwise wouldn't, which really took the edge off the stupid amount of money it cost me!

Have you met someone interesting lately?