[source] THIS IS NOT ME. But it's more or less the same hairstyle.
Fast forward to last November. Getting your hair cut in a different country can be a really scary experience, especially when you're not fluent in the native language. Yes, I speak Spanish, no, I don't have a problem getting by day to day, but I wasn't feeling quite up to having to explain how I wanted my layers and bangs cut. (Kind of like how I choose to take the 45 minute bus to Gibraltar once a week just so I don't have to explain all my back problems in Spanish. It's just easier that way.)
Long story short, thinking that I would automatically get the hair cut I wanted just because they spoke English was a gross-underestimation. It was awful. It was so European. And so not what I wanted.
Needless to say, when I went for an appointment yesterday, I gave up on Gib. Instead I settled for a little place right around the corner from my house. The hairdresser had a rather awful reddish/orange hair dye job, but she was sweet and very friendly. She laughed at my horror story from Gibraltar and assured me that I was safe in her hands.
All was going smoothly until a very loud, very old, very scary looking blonde Spaniard waltzed into the salon. She was waiting to have an appointment after mine, but about 10 minutes in she got disgusted and stood up to leave. The hair dresser said "where are you going? I'm almost done! I just have to blow dry and straighten her hair, and then it's your turn." The old lady stopped, thought about that for a second and then said "La muchacha? La muchacha es jovén! Por qué tienes que planchar su pelo? La muchacha es muy joven!" (The girl? Why do you have to flat iron her hair? She's so young!") Confused? Yeah. So was I.
All I understood of the conversation after that was 'la muchacha joven!' which she repeated every other sentence, coupled with vague gestures to my hair. At one point the hair dresser told her "She's not Spanish! Ask her where she's from!" And the old lady huffily replied "No voy a preguntarle nada!" ("I'm not going to ask her anything!")
Umm, sorry lady, did I offend you with my youngness??
While all this was going on, the hairdresser was cutting/blow drying/straightening my hair. But she would keep stopping to talk to la vieja, and to turn the blow dryer off because she couldn't hear over the noise of it. I know that I've been in Andalucía for 6 months and a lot of 'Spanish things' have stopped drawing my attention, but I couldn't help but laugh at just how Spanish the experience was. In the U.S., if you're at work, you have a job to do. You do your job, and then when your done with your job, you can chat. But work comes first.
In Spain, or at least Andalucía, it's often the other way around. Sure, you might be working and there might be a line forming, but, what's that? You're friend just walked in? Hold everything!! Gotta go give dos besos and hear her life's story. The customers can wait. I know this doesn't hold true for everywhere, but it is definitely an experience I have had many times over.
Luckily, the stop-and-go work didn't affect my hair cut, and I left wishing that I would have found her salon months ago.