Saturday, March 26, 2016

Whatever Lola Wants

I swore I wasn’t the type of person who freaks out over a troublesome haircut. I explained my relaxed attitude to my friend this morning. “I mean, it’s only hair. If it’s bad, it will grow back.” That’s why I couldn’t understand myself as I sat in the swivel chair, regarding my hideous reflection and suddenly fighting back tears. I’m supposed to be so carefree! But I wasn’t this morning and that’s because my hair was PINK. I had asked for red and pointed to a swatch of dark red hair on a chart, but it seems my request had little bearing on the outcome.

Hair styling is a male-dominated profession here in Turkey. The man working on my hair used the same macho body language I see every time I step outside my apartment to communicate to his colleague that he better watch where he points his blow dryer. A few times this guy next to us swung his blow dryer so recklessly that my shawl blew up in my face. Luckily, a fight didn’t break out between the hair stylists. I mean, these guys are armed with scissors.  They’re dangerous!

Before I knew my hair was pink, when I was waiting for the dye to set, I was blithely reading on my Kindle “How to Be a Woman,” by Caitlin Moran. Although this book is meant to be funny (and it is super funny), a passage in the introduction made me a bit emotional and suddenly changed how I felt about a man doing my hair. Caitlin Moran writes, 

“But all those littler, stupider, more obvious day-to-day problems with being a woman are, in many ways, just as deleterious to women’s peace of mind. It is the ‘Broken Windows’ philosophy, transferred to female inequality. In the Broken Windows theory, if a single broken window on an empty building is ignored and not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may break into the building and light fires, or become squatters.”

I saw myself as a building with shattered windows and began feeling sorry for myself. Then came the unveiling of the pink hair, and that was the biggest shattered window of them all. The hairdresser declared, “Perfect!” even though it wasn’t at all what I asked for. I complained to him, “It’s pink. I wanted red. I have really white skin, and if my hair is too light, it drains all color from my face.” I re-pointed to the dark red swatch of hair and asked him to do it again.

The second time around, I decided I looked like Franka Potente in the film, “Run Lola Run.” I’m okay with that. As I recall, Lola did most of the glass shattering with high-pitched screams. She is also a good character to model myself after since I am running a 10k in Thessalonki, Greece next weekend. Maybe I can color-brand myself into beating my personal best.  

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