Having been in Beirut for some time and having been brought up in the UK, I feel it necessary to give props to the local Lebanese hair salons.
As a foreigner, I was first introduced to this fascinating world by a friend after I was desperate for a haircut and didn’t know where to go. She told me to go to her hair dressers because she swears by her “green fingers”- Of course, this intriguing piece of information made me book an appointment right away. I later found myself standing outside an extremely modest hole in the wall wondering if this was the right place. Yup, it must be, as the name of the salon is out front – for the purpose of this blog we shall call it “Nina’s Salon”. One could not see through the glass frontage what with all the teenage pink posters plastered everywhere.
Hmmmm, will try it anyway.
As I opened the door…..
WOOOOMPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!! I am engulfed by a fog of hairspray and the sound of what seems like 100 hairdryers working overtime – the place is heaving with women and hair assistant’s frantically working on volumes over of hair. Good god.
I am ushered to the “waiting area” which is an area near the back of the stairs in this tiny salon. It seems completely normal that 5 people are waiting in a 1sqm space and is a miracle that I do not fall down the stairs and break my neck whilst shuffling around to allow people past. I am in the way of everything and no amount of re-shuffling is going to fix it. A savior appears in the form of a pink polyester uniform to wash my hair (next to waiting area).
After 1st part done, I find myself back in the waiting area where I have full view of the salon. Not surprisingly, I have to wait my turn in the sea of bodies. This time allows me to observe what I can only describe as a military operation run by queen bee herself – Nina. A women who should head an army – she knows exactly what is going on, who needs what and when and how and no it shouldn’t be done like that. Much like Beirut city, it is organized chaos. Synchronized if I may say, directing orders to the assistants – from hair colouring a veteran lady to cutting a teenager’s locks to pandering over the needs and hairdo of a bride-to-be. I could write a whole post just on this hairdo but will refrain.
I am beckoned for the much-awaited hair cut. It is she and only she who cuts the hair amidst the salon fury. – Before she begins, she blesses my hair with a reassuring mutter under her breath. I now feel that my wait was not in vain as I have never been blessed before a haircut. I like.
I feel special.
Done in a heartbeat, Nina commands two assistants to blow-dry my hair – which of course is the norm at Nina’s. No time to waste. Head pulled up, down, right, left….. Abracadabra my do is done!
Feeling like a new woman hyped up after the hair anarchy, I step through the portal onto the calmer streets of the city.
As I reflect on the vortex experience, I look at my watch and realize Green Fingers had me in and out in 30 minutes. Some feat considering the endless plethora of women and their manes.
Would I go back? Most definitely.