Today, I am celebrating my sixth consecutive year of good hair(cuts) in Germany. Halleluja, it happened; I have learned what to say (and what not to say) to hairdressers in this lovely country so that the haircut in my head matches the one in the mirror! It has been a long journey laden with tears, lots of chocolate, and more tears. The first ten years of terribly bad, awful haircuts taught me the following:
-passing the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (German equivalent of TOEFL) in no way prepares you for the "Zugang zum deutschen Haarsalon"
-the sign "Wir suchen Friseurmodelle" (looking for models) does not in any shape or form mean that the salon owners are looking for people to model haircuts (a little gel, a little teasing, and wha-la); it means that they are looking for people (the best candidates being poor, foreign students who passed the DSH, but really don't speak the language) who are willing to play a little German roulette with their hair.
-after agreeing to be a model, the phrase you worked so hard learning after your last trip to the salon, "bitte.nur.Spitzen.schneiden" (please just a trim -you know, to get rid of the spliss-ends), will be ignored and does NOT apply.
-a picture really is worth a thousand words.
-if, upon quickly scanning the lady about to cut your hair, you begin dreaming of marvelous ways to makeherover...politely get up and hightail it out of there! No words need to be exchanged, a simple smile and speedy exit will do.
-if, upon quickly scanning the lady about to cut your hair, you begin admiring her style and throw out that second, hard-learned phrase "Ich vertraue Ihnen" (I trust you), don't assume that you will not tear up during the cut, wishing you knew the word for "STOP" in German, cursing the fact that you were too proud to bring your boyfriend to translate.
-resist the power of that damn leather chair to make you wanna cutcutcutaway and realize that you are not Judy Jetson, once it's off, it's off!
Three wonderful salons and the hairdressers working in them not only helped me form my language to fit my hair needs, but also took hold of the reins, telling me before the leather chair began lulling me into cutcutcutting, "heute schneiden wir nur die Spitzen" (Today, we'll only cut the tips or ends or whatver the darn translation may be). These salons are: Hairless in Ingolstadt (I know, the name's scary, but the owner gets an einsplusmitstern); Essanelle (thank you my trusted friend, Lily); and Michael Ax (it really doesn't matter who cuts your hair; they are all great).
Have a (good hair) day!