The Hair Cut
“Can you come with me to the hairdressers to tell them what I want?” I ask Zsuzsa.
“You don’t need me to come. You can speak enough Hungarian to let them know.” she replies.
But then I remember the last time I went to a Hungarian hairdressers, when they cut my hair a little too short.
“I’m not sure.” I say.
“Honey, just ask for a little haircut.”
“What if they try and make me look Hungarian? What if I come out with a moustache?”
“You’ll be fine.”
Thirty minutes later and I’m venturing in to the local hairdressers. I’m alone and scared, but this shaggy hair isn’t going to cut itself. I approach the scissor wielding staff and ask the dreaded question.
“Beszél Angolul (Do you speak English?)?”
Son of a bin man! I take a moment to compose myself. I convince myself that all is okay. I speak a little Hungarian. I know how to ask for ‘A little hair cut’. I’ve got this! I take a deep breath, ask for, what I later realise is “A little hair” and take my place in the judgement seat. The hairdresser today is a trendy gent. He’s clad from head to toe in black, with skinny jeans, a tight fitting t-shirt and a black beanie hat. He seems confident in what he has to do. And so it begins.
The first ten minutes of the haircut are incident free. He sprays a little water, trims a little hair and circles me repeatedly like a prowling tiger.
We enter the second half of the haircut and it’s now that proceedings will take an unexpected twist. The hairdresser, who I think I’ll call Laszlo, whips out a big canister of hair mousse and a hairdryer. He then begin to build my hair up, and up, and up, slathering on dollop after dollop of mousse and using the hairdryer as a weapon of mass volumisation. All I can do is sit and watch in bewildered horror, unable to communicate with my hair aggressor. It’s like watching a car crash happen in slow motion, but with more hair and a lot more hair mousse.
The hair cut finishes with a little hair spray. I mean, of course it does! I stare at my reflection. WHAT THE HOLY FUCK DID I ASK FOR!? I look insane! I look like a hipster from the 80’s! I look like a mixture of Jedward, Eraserhead and Joan Collins! I look like a sodding cockatoo!
“Okay?” asks Laszlo.
“Igen. Köszönöm. (Yes. Thanks)” I reply and give him a tip. After all, I’m British.
I leave the hairdresser, stooping low to navigate my hair through the doorway, and stand in the crisp, Hungarian winter’s air, now a significantly taller man than I was thirty minutes ago. I wait for Zsuzsa, comforted by the knowledge that she has my hat with her. Ten minutes go by. Zsuzsa approaches. Her eyes widen.
“OH MY GOD! WHAT THE FUCK HAS HE DONE TO YOUR HEAD!?” asks Zsuzsa.
“Hat please.” I reply.
This hat is staying on my head until February.