Monday, October 18, 2010

at the kuaför

It was well time to get my hair done.  I'd had my highlights done before I left for Turkey and since I'd been here 6 weeks my roots were long showing.  Colleen and I booked an appointment with a reccomended hair salon and got up early on Saturday morning to go.  Before I go on, I must underline the fact that this salon doesn't have ANYONE who can speak English...and well, my Turkish is about as good as their English.  Colleen and I decided our primary strategy for overcoming the language barrier would be visual aids.  As soon as we got into the salon we grabbed some magazines and pored over them for photos of highlights to show our kuaförs.  They nodded in agreement, and so our adventure began.  For my hair, they put in a FULL set of highlights...and I mean FULL.  Almost all of my head was covered, which kind of defeats the purpose of highlights, but I'm rolling with it because he's the kuaför and I don't have the vocab to argue.  (Here's where I stop and expand on the fact that most kuaförs around here are MALE.  Yes, the person painting bleach on my hair and wrapping it in tin foil is indeed very much a man.  This strikes me as funny because I'm only ever had a woman do my hair.  I'm not saying males can't or don't do hair (Tony and Guy, anyone?) but I will say that where I'm from, hairdressing is not exactly a male dominated profession.)

I find out that these men really, really do know what they're doing.  The man washes out my highlights in three increments, starting from the back of my neck so that the highlights on the top are actually lighter, giving my hair great variation.  My cut was fabulous too.  I was initially worried, so I looked through a hairdressing book to find pictures of hairdressing tools and found a picture of a razor.  I pointed to this tool and then to my head.  The kuaför then nodded in agreement and pointed to my developing mullet and made razor sounds.  He knows he needs to razor off my mullet!  Wow.  I'm shocked at how easily it was to communicate what I wanted despite not having even one word in common!  I can easily recall having to spell out what I wanted to hairdressers, who speak the same damn language as I do.

I walk out of the salon with a lot less lira in my wallet (it was pretty expensive, but please don't ask how much, I'm trying to forget about it) and a whole lot blonder.  Barbie has got nothing on me.  I don't think I've ever been this blonde before (except for that one time I tried highlighting my hair myself, fell asleep outside in the sun and my hair was as white as the white side of Cruella Deville's hair...and I spent the summer trying to undo the damage.  Remember that, Mom?).  But THIS time my hair actually looks nice, and I have gotten over the shock of ALL of it being so very blonde.

The only downfall with having blonde hair here is that it is so very rare, so it attracts attention.  Most Turkish people have fabulous olive complexions and shiny dark hair, so it's a bit rare to spot a pale complected blonde girl.  I do get looked at, and occasionally stared at.  It's not a huge problem, and I must admit that sometimes I feel like a bit of a celebrity...that said, there are certain times with I go celebrity incognito (hat and sunglasses) to blend in with the's amazing what a difference it makes.

Do we stand out?


  1. Picture Please Kirb!!! Love your blog.... can't wait to see the updates!!!

  2. Great to read about this adventure at the hair salon. By the way, your hair looks lovely. He did a great job!!!

  3. What a fantastic story! I have a hair/languages story. I am writing about it now and I'll post it. First I want to upload a photo! You have inspired me.