Thursday, 26 July 2007

Short Back and Sides

Sitting at the dinner table tonight, we got to talking about hair colours.

My niece, Dani, is sporting a very good-looking auburn head of hair at the moment, just a bit redder than her natural, very dark brown. We started to initiate her into the terms used for hair colours down here - and realised how confusing it all is. It teaches you to beware going to the hairdressers unprepared - get the lingo right before you set off!

Our 'knowledge' stems from a friendship started when we first moved into La Sesquière all those years ago. Whilst taking the dog for her very first promenade in our new village, we spotted the silhouette of a fearsome beast looking down on us from the top of a wall. Outlined against the evening sky was a frightening animal - think 'Hound of the Baskervilles' and then multiply the fear factor!

Telling the girls to move on swiftly and not to attract it's attention, we were horrified to find that the dog was coming down off it's mountain and ending up on the road in front of us. It approached us with no tail wagging, and just as we were trying to decide our next course of action ..... she turned into a banana shape with her head almost touching her backend. It was a super-friendly, very bendy, tailless boxer dog with trimmed ears.

As we realised that she was fawning all over us, her owner appeared down the drive, apologising all the time in fluent French.

He introduced himself as Samuel just as his two daughters appeared running down behind him in their nightdresses (Alex 6 and Astrid 3). Two weeks before, Sam and his partner Laurence had given birth to their third child, a little boy named Axel.
(Photo: Sam making a snowman on our terrace with Nic)

This was the start of a continuing friendship, which brings us back to the topic for this post. Sam is a very experienced, and exceptionally good, hairdresser who has corrected us on the translations for different hair colours (might be different in different areas though!):

Brown hair = blonde in French
Light brown = blonde claire
Blond hair = blanc
Dark brown hair = chataigne
Black hair = brun

Now I am by no means an ardent feminist, but when someone tells me that I am a 'blonde typique' my hackles tend to rise whatever language they are using. I informed Sam that I most certainly wasn't - and he proceeded to tell me even more firmly that I was! It was then that our dual confusion was worked out - although I am most certainly brown-haired in English, it seems my hair colouring is definitely blonde down here!

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