Thursday, August 31, 2006
When we went to France to work, I was already starting to lose my hair. However, I still needed to get a haircut occasionally. I don’t really like to get a haircut (read the archives). But in the USA I did it when needed in a shop that featured barbers with hairy arms,“Field and Stream” to read and a strong odor of Witch Hazel and Wildroot. Soon after we settled in near Paris I started looking for a barbershop. Anything I saw that looked like the right kind of place also looked very expensive. I don’t really remember, but I think I didn’t ask the guys at work because I didn’t like their hairstyles. My wife suggested that I go where she went to get her hair done. I protested, but she insisted that there were men getting their hair cut while she was there and that there were male stylists that did it. She did smirk a little as I left, but I was slow witted that day. What she hadn’t told me was that these male stylists were more feminine than the women stylists. Arnold Swartzenager would have had a hissy fit and I felt a lot creepy-crawly. They chattered on in a French I couldn’t begin to understand and flitted about like butterflies. Once was enough.
Three or four weeks later I flew to Frankfurt for a big hush-hush meeting between our top brass and a large European company. I was there as camouflage I think. Another obvious American was also there and he and I sat on each side of our CEO. The meeting was being conducted in English and I was taking the minutes for our team. What the people we were negotiating with never figured out was that my counterpart spoke their language fluently. While he appeared to be doodling on a legal pad, he was actually writing notes to our boss about what the other team was saying to each other in their language.
But I digress. After the meeting we were standing around the Frankfurt airport and I said that I was going to find an airport barbershop. For reasons I have never understood, our chairman and CEO volunteered to show me the way. He led me upstairs and into a shop and in excellent German (sounded good to me anyway) instructed a gruff old barber how to cut my hair.
I became the only American I knew that lived in Paris and flew to Frankfurt for his haircuts. Of course, I had to have another reason for the trips so my schedule was a bit ragged and often so was my hair.