You know how women are? At least most of the ones that I know. Sometimes we like to do something different, to make ourselves look pretty in a new way. That is what I was hoping to do with my hair last Friday. I didn’t realize it would become a hair color fail, a grand ordeal, and another lesson in expat problems.
I picked out a Tortoiseshell hair color because I was sick and tired of my bleached blond locks and my dark blond roots. My hair is a dirty blond and I thought Tortoiseshell would blend in well with my natural color. With the help of a friend I found a hairdresser. We showed her pictures of Tortoiseshell hair styles. She claimed she could replicate the look and blend it in with my roots.
I didn’t think anything of her location. Her shop is out of her home, like many small tiendas in Mexico. It is tiny, about 10 feet x 10 feet in size and has a slide up metal door for the entrance. This hairdresser seemed to have all the supplies and products needed for the job. Her price was very reasonable and she was well recommended. I made an appointment.
The Hair Color Fail
It was late evening and the lighting was bad but I could still see the lines around my head. Tortoiseshell color doesn’t have lines. It’s well blended. I asked her to fix them and she tried but it didn ‘t work. I asked her to fix them a second time and she tried again. At 9:30 I was done. I was exhausted after five hours in her shop and I could not see the back of my head clearly in the lighting. I paid her, apologized for the trouble, and gave her a tip.
The next morning I realized I still had a line where the colors changed and I had a large blond patch. I was miserable. There were tears. I didn’t know what to do. We don’t have 500 pesos in our budget for my hair. I was doing something special for myself. I haven’t been to a hairdresser for over two years. Brad cuts my hair at home. To get this fixed at another salon would cost another 500 pesos if not more.
My husband and I went back to the hairdresser with another Spanish speaking friend. I stayed in the car because I was embarrassed and worried. Our friend asked for our money back, at least part of it, and showed her the photo above. She made excuses, said it was my fault, and did not offer any solutions. Brad was defensive, he understands Spanish, and he told her it was a terrible job. (Apparently this was grosero (rude) even though she wasn’t taking responsibility.) Only after exchanging multiple words were they able to come to an agreement. She could not give us any money back but she would try to fix my hair with one solid color.
From Blond to Tortoiseshell to Brunette
I felt so weird sitting in that chair for another two hours. I was scared the hairdresser was going to mess up my hair even more! I am thankful that the color came out okay. I gave her a hug and told her “Thank you.” Now I am a brunette. It’s not what I originally intended but I like it. Almost anything is better then a vivid line and blond spot on the back of your head.
Learning a Lesson in Expat Problems
The real problems came later. Uruapan isn’t a “big” town. A few days after this went down, I start hearing things… rude comments, lies, and gossip. All of it stemming from the hair color fail. I don’t know who said what exactly because it’s all third person. Honestly it doesn’t matter. But it does hurt. Maybe I should have just let her have the money and went somewhere else to get my hair fixed. We would be taking a loss but it would have kept the peace.
This is an expat problem life lesson. This isn’t the first time that we have been “put in our place” because we expressed our feelings. From what I understand, we don’t know how to “correctly” express our feelings in Spanish and when we do it comes across wrong. This makes communication very difficult. As expats we are once again reminded to embrace change. We have to display humility especially when we are not fluent in the language and we don’t know the customs.
Isn’t it funny how a hair color fail can teach you a life lesson in change and humility. Life is weird like that. Signing off in Mexico and still loving it, Tina ;-)