A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings

My European Haircut

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Being super girly has never been my thing. In kindergarten, I was the girl classmate the boys would invite to their birthday parties because I was into playing games that involved ninjas and pretend weapons. In middle school, my best friends and I wrote and recorded skits about Mario and Luigi, and later we did one about LOTR (Lord of the Rings). In high school (and still today), you could guarantee that I’d choose watching The Dark Knight or Iron Man over any recent chick-flick. In college, I avoided craft parties and nail painting gatherings at all costs. But when it comes to my hair, I’m as girly as a girl can get. I love getting my hair done. 

Best friend Jen and me geared up for our midnight scootering game. It was intense enough for camo.

When we came to Vienna, I had pretty much decided I was going to have to grow my hair out due to the expensive salon prices (It can cost up to €130, which is around $160). But luckily for me, Kim and Amanda found a way around those prices – they go to Sopron, Hungary instead.

Here you can find most things to be just a little bit cheaper. Instead of €130 for a cut and color, it’s closer to €40, which even in USD is much cheaper than a cut and color in the States. We drove to Sopron Friday morning, and due to time contraints, dropped Kim off at one salon while Amanda and I went to another so we’d be able to get our hair done and finished around the same time as Kim. Amanda and Kim refer to the salon that Amanda and I went to as “the cattle chute” due to the fast and furious pace of the hairdressers. Knowing this wasn’t a huge confidence booster but it’s all part of a new experience.

After a bit of a wait, it was finally my turn. The hairdresser spoke mainly Hungarian and a little bit of German while I speak a lot of English, the tiniest bit of German, and negative infinity Hungarian. Fun times were about to be had. I pulled up a picture of Katie Holmes:

The hairdresser looked at it, nodded, listened to Amanda translate for me, then went to work. At this point I was breathing pretty easy. The color I just had done was normal and didn’t turn out pink, and there was a picture to go by for my cut which seemed simple enough. But then my stomach started to flutter. Do you see how Katie has those little tendrils of hair that hit right above her jaw, giving her hair some length to it?  Those were the first things to go on me. All of sudden I could see over half of my ear. I tried to look emotionless though for fear she would ask me a question in one of her two languages and I wouldn’t be able to answer her which would fluster us both somehow resulting in my head being shaved. I stayed as calm and still as possible, and watched the scissors.

Next, my hairdresser moved to the top. Notice how Katie’s hair is stacked on top – there’s a lot of height and it all goes to one side, and so for me I thought this would be perfect because I have really thick hair that would have loved to be cut that way. But that went, too. By this time, my length had been cut off, the height had been trimmed down to a small poof, and all that remained were the bangs. In the picture, Katie’s bangs are somewhat thick, long, cover most of her forehead, and all go one direction. I figured if I at least had the bangs, my new do wouldn’t cause me to run out and buy a headband so people wouldn’t mistake me for boy. But alas, bye-bye bangs. They were feathered out and shortened and it’ll be awhile before they hit my eyebrows again.

I watched the entire haircut take place aside from the times I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t pass out in the chair. My hairdresser was so precious and seemed genuinely interested in accomplishing this particular cut that I couldn’t dare freak out in front of her or check my wrist to feel how fast my heart was beating. The only thing going through my mind was, “I look like a boy. I look like a boy. I actually look like a boy”.

She blow dried it, gelled it, sprayed it, and triumphantly said “Done!” while she stepped back to admire her work. I smiled as big as I could without showing my true feelings, then slowly walked back to Kim and Amanda as if I had just encountered a traumatic experience and forgot how to walk. To my relief, I was met with encouraging words instead of horrified looks. It took me a long time to get over the shock (I was even shaking while I was paying), but eventually I “came to” and went on with my day like a normal person.

It’s still really short to me. In a way I’ve gone full circle because when I was playing all those ninja games in kindergarten, my hair was basically as short as it is right now thanks to my parents’ decision to cut it all off. Now here I am, 23 years old and still playing ninja games (also known as working for a non-profit in Vienna) with really short hair. There’s a good chance hair flowers and headbands will be worn regularly until I’m completely used to my new style, but hey, at least I’m one step closer to being European.

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Author: Holly

Vienna-based American wife/mom/expat.

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