Traveling presents loads of challenges from scheduling to packing. Knowing what to bring and what to leave behind can make your brain explode! And once you get to your destination you realize everything planned turns upside down on you and how you cope will effect the outcome of your vacation.
On my first trip to Italy I was instructed not worry about bringing items such as shampoo and conditioner. Those types of items would be provided and only take up valuable space in my luggage. Awesome! So, once I arrived and took my first shower, I soon learned how different everything was going to be in this beautiful place and having good hair may be the one thing I’d have to let go of in order to just relax and enjoy myself. See, the water in Italy is very different, hard even. Nothing I normally do to my hair was working and what is typically pretty soft and manageable became a ratted mess on top of my head with everyone surrounding me in the bathroom looking perplexed. On a walk one day I decided I would get it cut and purchase some products so I could at least get a brush through it. So, Claudio took me to a place he’s familiar with and a man named Roberto, who spoke not a lick of English, took my case on and transformed my hay-like hair into a stylish bob accompanied with products to get me through the rest of my holiday. I was very happy with the entire experience and Roberto and I depended solely on communication through photos and eye contact. When I returned to the states everyone remarked on my cute style and I was able to retell my awesome story.
The next summer, when I returned, I had already decided I was going to repeat this hair situation and maybe turn it into a tradition; any time I visit Italy I will see a stylist and get a fresh, new look. It was about 3 days into my 15 day vacation that I found myself back at the same salon, but this time Roberto was nowhere to be found. Instead a thin, very tan woman with a bob took me to her chair. I remember looking at her hair and feeling a slight sinking reaction and probably should have listened to my gut. I asked Claudio to translate for me, but she insisted she spoke enough English to understand what I wanted. So, I told her and was sure to include a lot of hand gestures, “I want a stacked bob and a trim on my bangs, nothing drastic” I said as she shook her head in confirmation. Claudio situated himself in a chair with a magazine and this lady started working on my hair. After what felt like three quick snips I could feel my hair off of my shoulders and my bangs felt…gone. When she turned the chair around for the big reveal, my eyes grew as big as plates and I could not hide the shock and terror on my face, complete with a quivering lip. It was at this moment when Claudio looked up from his magazine and gasped, “Oh my god”.
I had village idiot hair.
In that very moment, everything flashed before my eyes as if I were looking at calendar pages of my 15 day vacation, dropping one by one and seeing photos of me and my friends posing in front of various landmarks, and the only thing standing out was this hair and those hideous, ridiculous, gnawed off bangs! “What have you done, you horrible bitch?!” I thought in my head. And I knew Claudio was thinking the same thing has his jaw seemed permanently stuck open in disbelief.
You can only imagine how the rest of my holiday went from here. Every single day I woke up like a horror story, straight out of bed, rushing to the mirror to look at myself and just say, “It’s fine, it’s fine. Nobody cares what your hair looks like, Carrie…” and tried to believe it was all okay. Finally, seeing me struggle to smile for photos, Claudio suggested that we go to his friend’s salon in Salerno. He assured me that Alessandro could fix it and I’d be happier for the duration of my trip. The next day he took me to Hair and Hair Lifestyle Salon and rushed to his friend, “Emergenzea! Disastro!!” Claudio shouted as we entered, all eyes on me. Ale kindly took my hand and led me to the washing bin and calmed me down. He did need to cut a bit more to shape the style and then he corrected the bangs by adding some layers. When he was finished he asked if I were ready to see the result. He turned the chair around and said, “Do you like it” and waited with his hand across his heart and breathing heavily. Choking back tears I said, “yes, yes, thank you so much!” and he let out a long sigh of relief. Alessandro took a total nightmare and, with what he had to work with, gave me a softer style; eliminating the blunt, clown-like abomination I had received from that Satanic woman a few days prior.
I don’t want any of this to paint me as a vain woman who isn’t able to enjoy a beautiful holiday due to some bad hair. However, to give you an idea of how bad it was, here are some names and comparisons given to be by my friends and family:
The Lego Lady
Dora the Explorer
The Fifth Element
Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carey) from Dumb and Dumber
And last, but certainly not least, Nicolas Cage’s bird hair!
There are very few photos of me with that hairstyle. Everyone knew it was a complete disaster and we all signed this imaginary, unspoken agreement to not photograph Carrie in this condition. And that was the last time I flew all the way to Italy to get a new hairstyle. Instead I do what most normal American women do and go to my one and only stylist and let him or her take care of it and make suggestions. My head belongs only to Raphael these days in good ol’ Texas. And since all of my back and forth trips I have learned a thing or two about how my hair will behave when I visit. I still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) over this, too. I have flashbacks of seeing the shadow of that hair, stiff from salt water and helmet like, cast on the side of a rock in Capri. And, yes, I am still heavily teased about it by my friends and family. They can’t seem to let go of it any more than I can’t seem to let go. It was THAT bad.
Let this be a cautionary tale: some acts brevity and moments of change are better suited at home, in your mother tongue. But, then again, #perchenovacanza…right?!?