ME AND MRS WOLF… (Or never go to a hairdresser who doesn’t speak your language)
How I thought it would turn out OK, I don’t know.
For the last few weeks I needed my hair cut and coloured. I noticed a hairdresser’s shop within a minutes’ walk of my apartment so I decided to book an appointment. My cousin who was staying with me and speaks German came with me and explained to Mrs Wolf, the proprietor what I wanted.
What could go wrong?
When I looked around the salon it did look dated, and the owner Mrs Wolf who probably was in her 80s with dyed blonde hair was wearing carpet slippers.
An appointment was made for 3pm on Thursday. When I arrived Mrs Wolf was liberally spraying lacquer on a customer’s hair which I thought a little strange as he was a man in his 50s. Perhaps that’s normal in Austria.
Mrs Wolf’s two daughters who work in the salon had identical dyed blonde hair and wore slippers. One of them showed me to a chair, where she produced a book with samples. Mrs Wolf and the daughter had a heated discussion, I presumed to decide on my hair colour. Mrs Wolf jabbed her finger on a medium brown and nodded.
“Do you think it will be too dark?”
Mrs Wolf waved her hand and said something I couldn’t understand. She sent the daughter off to make up the colour.
As she plastered the colour on my head, I asked if she spoke any English.
Shaking her head, she said in German.
“Nein, only Hungarian.”
Mrs Wolf proceeded to take a seat in the middle of the room and gave a commentary loudly for everyone who was in hearing distance her opiniononAustrian politics. Her daughters shook their heads, and tried not to laugh.
Mrs Wolf’s elderly customer arrived. She ushered her over to a seat, stuck a few rollers in her hair and went out for a smoke leaving her under the dryer.
Another woman sat in the chair next to me while Mrs Wolf’s other daughter powered up a razor and proceeded to shave off half of her head of thick shoulder length hair.
At this point, I became slightly alarmed and said in poor German.
“Not that short please.”
The daughter smiled, and finished colouring my hair. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw smoke billowing from under the dryer.
The daughters rushed to extract the customer shouting.
Mrs Wolf ambled over and wafted a tea towel to get rid of the smoke.
I think she might have said.
“What’s all the fuss about?”
I had to cover my mouth to stop laughing out loud.
I was led over to the wash basin and my hair washed. When I looked at the colour I could hardly believe it. I was dumb struck. My hair hadn’t been this colour since I was in my 20’s.
Time to have it cut, the daughter began and suddenly she whipped out a razor and used it on the back of my head. The result is a short back and sides and I mean very short!
The daughter whisked off the cape and nodded briskly. She had finished. Time to pay.
Mrs Wolf has a very old till. Every time she added an item she would call it out in a loud booming voice. She even charged me for a head massage when the conditioner was applied. Her daughters cringed with embarrassment and groaned.
“Mama, Mama. You can’t.
Meanwhile all the customers were hooting with laughter. She waved her daughters away and presented me with the bill.
I think Mrs Wolf said.
“Do you like it?”
I replied in German.