Thursday, 4 June 2009

Un corte de pelo or The Haircut

At best, Theo submits to haircuts with resignation, at worst with a mild form of panic (especially when asked what style he wants). He puts it down to youthful traumas involving side-partings, but personally, I believe it has more to do with his low to non-existent patience threshold and general hatred of being fussed over

No such reservations in my case, but even I had been putting off making an appointment for a much-needed trim because of concerns about communicating with a hairdresser whose language I can only just speak and barely understand.

Luckily, our friends David and Nataly came up with the ideal so
lution and it was called Jurgen. They both rated his hairdressing skills highly, but the fact that he came with a virtually perfect command of English and disarmingly low price-tags sealed the deal.

I telephoned his one-man salon in Atocha and made the appointment in Spanish - but the moment I told him my name was Kate, he switched into English, adding gratifyingly that until that moment he hadn't been able to place my accent (on second thoughts, maybe that wasn't such a compliment...)

Anyway, at the agreed time, Theo and I arrived in Calle de Alcalen to find a jolly, bearded German standing at his door awaiting our arrival. The salon was simply, if sparsely furnished, a single room with a rough stone floor that opened straight onto the narrow street. No frills. But it was all clean and well-ordered and had an air of efficient bustle about it, created entirely by Jurgen himself.

Jurgen had spent ten years living in the UK and has been in Madrid for the last five, which means he can do fluent hairdresser chat in three languages, switching seamlessly between them, depending on whether he was talking to Theo and me, his mother (who telephoned partway through my cut) or the various elderly Spanish women who filed in to have their colours done.

It also lent a certain breadth to the conversation, which included Jurgen's professional development (from a wannabe make-up artist onwards); German hair-styling qualifications (stringent); his mother's health (failing); the benefits of young men (fast recovery rates) and the relative merits of fellatio and cunnilingus.

This latter was loudly discussed in the hearing of Carmen and Pilar, both of whom were in their seventies and who clearly had no idea of the graphic turn taken by the conversation. Jurgen's ten years in Britain had not been in vain - he had a confident command of all the best-known Anglo Saxon synonyms on the subject.

Our haircuts were satisfactory - especially given the fact that we paid just over twenty euros for the two (including a wash and blow-dry in my case). Theo commented that his new style (short back and sides) made him look a bit gay, but I've got a proud history as a faghag, so that's not necessarily a bad thing. The only slightly worrying development is his tendency to comb in a side-parting.

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