Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It's been a few weeks since I have had time to write, so first let me roll the clock back a bit and update you on the week before we left for our Eid holiday to Paris.

For the entire week just before we left on vacation, I had registered for a photography class at Virginia Commonwealth University here in Qatar. I wasn't really thinking about how hectic my week would be, but, I made it to every class and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the ins and outs of my new Canon (I will discuss this later).

My point in telling you this is to give you an idea that I spent the days running around with Ella getting us ready for our trip, and the evenings in my class... throw in a birthday celebration for Colin and a few other volunteer activities, and I was solidly busy... so, I was thoroughly looking forward to a trip to my hair salon on Tuesday afternoon.

Ella had had her vaccinations that morning and I was a bit hesitant to leave her, but I really needed some hair attention (I had let it go too long and I was looking a bit shaggy) and it was only going to be an hour or so. So, Ella happily had her afternoon nap (with Mercy keeping a close eye on her), and I snuck away to have some much needed salon time.

Doha doesn't have the selection or quality of salons that I am accustomed to. Sure, there are some swanky places, but they often come with huge price tags and not always the greatest service. Plus, finding a person who is skilled at cutting curly & thick hair like mine is always a pain in the butt.
After a few different trips to various places around Doha to "sample" the stylists that were recommended to me by friends, I ended up with one spot that I was pretty happy with. All English speakers, funky atmosphere, and a stylist whose hair was as curly as mine, and had "Master Stylist" next to her name on her card. We hit it off and I have been going there since May.
It should be mentioned here, that last time I went to this person (I have grey hairs now people... I need to maintain my 'color' every six weeks...), she mistakenly used a lighter shade than I normally use on my hair, which she had to try and correct before I left. The salon was busy that day and my appointment ended up taking forever. My hair took a bit of a beating that time - too many chemicals, I think - but I was understanding. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes... and she had confided in me that she was having man-troubles at the time. Enough said - I forgave her for the slip up.

So, I had waited extra long for this new appointment, wanting to give my hair a chance to bounce back from the double chemical dose I inflicted on it a few months earlier.

I get there on time, happy to have an hour to relax, and to get a chance to treat myself before our vacation.
Long story a bit shorter... she is "touching up" my roots with a gooey mixture that looks PRETTY damn orange. I immediately comment:

Me: "Gee, this looks pretty orange. Are you sure?"

My girl (not mentioning her name on the off chance she may ever stumble upon this): "Tash, trust me. I know what I am doing"

Me: "Okay. But it kinda looks pumpkin-y orange"

My girl: "Read your magazine. Stop worrying. I promise it will look great"

So, I get a nice warm hot chocolate and dive into the new People magazine while my poor hair is 'processing'. I started to grow uneasy every time I look in the mirror. The goop on my head seemed to be glowing brighter and brighter. Anyone that knows anything about dyeing hair knows that the stuff generally darkens as it processes, right? So, I call to my girl once again, and she once again reassures me that I am worrying over nothing. Okay - I need to put a sock in it as I am being obsessive (odd for me, right?).
I sit there for what seems like an eternity, and finally its time to wash it off. OMG. I can tell when she is washing that something isn't right, just by the way she pauses repeatedly to examine the top of my head. What has happened?

I ask to see a mirror. She hesitates. We lock eyes and I know she has done it again. I look in the mirror she reluctantly passes me (while telling me it will take 'no time at all to fix'), and I see what I feared most... about 1/2 an inch from my scalp up is a very odd shade of reddish orange. Are you freaking kidding me? BRIGHT reddish-orange.

I have a newly-vaccinated baby to get back to, and I hear it is raining outside - I HAVEN'T SEEN RAIN IN NINE MONTHS. I want to go home, not go through this again. I sit there silently fuming as she slops on another batch of BROWN goop. Ahh, so she remembered the secret potion she used before? A little late. How hard is BROWN to mix up? Just basic run-of-the-mill BROWN.

But this time, things are not feeling right. Burn. Yes, my head is burning. Slight at first. Not so much to warrant a complaint. Besides, she has left me to sit here alone while she takes in her next person, as she is now running late, so I have no one to complain to. Five minutes pass. Ten. I can't stand it anymore. I catch her eye and tell her I need this stuff off my head now. She says "I think its ready anyhow". So we wash. The water does nothing to ease the now pain I am starting to feel. I can feel panic bubbling up inside me as I start to think that maybe my hair is falling out. What have I done? Eek!

So, I look in her mirror again. Okay, it is back to normal now, but my scalp is completely on fire and it looks like she has left streaks of brown dye on my forehead and across one my my cheeks. It turns out that crap doesn't come off too easily once you get it on your face.

I am wild on the inside now. Trying to keep my cool, I tell 'my girl' not to bother blow dry it, as I am worried about Ella, and Colin is already on his way home from work. My photography class is in one hour. I have to go.

I pay my bill in a rush to get out of there, and head home. So, to review: 3 hours and 45 minutes in salon, 2 batches of burning hair dye left sitting on scalp, NO haircut to speak of (the thing I wanted most of all), and a huge bill at the end.

By the time I get home, I am in quite the state. I fly around the house crazily changing my clothes for class, while hysterically telling Colin what has just happened. I didn't even get to snuggle with my poor Ella! He is trying desperately to reassure me that it looks great, but when I stop moving around and stand before him... guess what he says? He says: "You've got something on your face".

WHAT? I had forgotten. Rush to bathroom. Mother of God, my face has brown hair dye stains smudged all over it. As does the side of my neck and the tip of one ear. I am about to go into a mad ranting rage just as the doorbell rings, and my friend is here to pick me up for class.

I scrub my face like a maniac, grab my camera, and head out the door.

Mindy (the friend who I am taking class with) was very sympathetic as I ranted on about my afternoon. She lends me a scarf she had in the car to hide the neck stains. She even tried to tell me that no one would notice my brown smudge face from across the classroom. Whatever. I knew how I must have looked with wet frizzy hair, a brown and pink face (pink from rubbing my flesh raw trying to wash the brown off before leaving the house), a scarf on my neck when its 30 degrees outside,and no make up on. You can just picture it, can't you?

Wouldn't you know it that we were taking portraits that night! PORTRAITS. I am not even joking.

My hair is pretty much back to normal now, and the colour is the same as it always is. On a very bright note, I went to a great little salon in Paris on day two of our trip and had a fantastic haircut and a gentle-so-worth-every-euro scalp massage & conditioning treatment. It made up for everything... well, almost everything... head isn't tender anymore but I now have a slight mental scar from the whole experience.

My girl, by the way, has emailed and texted me a few times, apologizing and wanting me to come in for a proper cut. She was very apologetic about what happened. I wrote her back an email and told her (very nicely) that my head would be taking a break from the salon for a while.

So, my question to you is this - do I break up with her? I really like 'my girl' as a person, but can't really trust her potion-mixing skills anymore. I would miss the funky little salon, but perhaps its time to start 'seeing' a new stylist? Do I just never go back, or, do I akwardly explain why I can't? I figure I won't need a cut till around Christmas... breaking up is so complicated!

Your comments are oh so welcome!


  1. Oh so uncool! Poor your hair!

  2. Oh, you definitely have to break up with her! No questions. She'll know why and is probably too embarassed to mention it if she sees you with someone else at the same salon. This is your hair we're talking about!


  3. I don't think you owe her an explanation. You mentioned you've already told her that your head needed a break. I think that might clue her in a little...if it doesn't, she's got other things to worry about too!
    BREAK UP!!!!!!


  4. OK.. so here's the thing. If you were anywhere else in the world I wouldn't hesitate to say not only break up but dump her, and dump her immediately.

    BUT given that I also live in a foreign country I know how hard it is to find a place that you like. And I think we can all admit that when it comes to getting your hair done, atmosphere has a huge effect on the experience. We don't just want nice hair, we want a nice time.
    So my question is this.. was the hair CUT good the last time she did it? You could always forgo the colour and just have her cut it...
    Also - you could email her and ask her what the second colour she used was and have her write it down (and you should too) so that you can remind her of it if you go back...

    Again - if there's another option, find a new girl. But if you love the place it might be worth a little email conversation to see if the relationship with the nice salon can be salvaged..

  5. Hi again, a definite no. It is your think curly locks after all,keep her away from your head. A master stylist should no how to mix color. I love reading all this blog, it is so interesting.

  6. What happened? Did you end up dumping her?