Bad Hair Day

I just got back from the US. Literally just got off the plane, and soaked by a surprise downpour as I dragged my bags across traffic to Charlotte's car. My hair was already atrocious from the 16 hour transit from Philadelphia to Atlanta to Rome, with my dog and some gossip magazines. I took a nap almost right away, despite what they say about fighting jet-lag. So now my hair is a bird's nest, complete with split-ends and twigs. I am afraid to brush it.

But I can safely say it is not the worst hair I have ever seen (nor ever had). That title goes to Massimo, circa October 1993. Massimo was a mercy date, a favor to my cousin Riccardo who pretended he was doing me a favor by introducing me to a potential "student". (I had just moved to Rome, had no job and no boyfriend.)

As per instructions, I looked for a "friendly guy standing in front of a BMW" in a piazza at 3pm. Nice and vague. Luckily I knew which piazza, and I could tell from the various men next to BMWs who Massimo was-- he was standing by a dark blue BMW smiling a "I am the owner/protector/race car driver of this BMW. She is like a child to me. I constantly nuture her into high performance, as I will nuture my new female friend" grin. Unfortunately, I was fresh off the boat from Los Angeles, and my smirk was probably of the "it's just a 3 series?!" ilk.

His grin was a classic I have seen many times in my life. The hair, its style, however, was unique. In retrospect, I realize that his style was an interpretation of the now familiar "Totti", nearly shoulder-length hair, held back only by an ample amount of grease creating a Roman-macho hair don't. Not quite an ape drape, as the sides are not short, but long and lovingly pressed into the head.

Massimo was in no extreme Totti. And his hair was just a cheap imitation. His attempt at coiffure was not greasy at all, but dry, crispy (crispi, Italian trans) and brushed straight back, giving him an electric--shock look.

I try not to judge a book by the cover, but the untouchable hair combined with his detailed fervor for running at high noon in midsummer, inviting me to build calve and thigh muscles that very evening at the steps of the Quadrato Colosseo, and his self-proclaimed "I don't need an English teacher, I just wanted to meet the American cousin" statement forced me into a quick judgement. I didn't want to meet up ever again.

Instead of employing the variety of excuses I have often found repelling in the past (sudden coughing and nasal snorting, declarations of love for ex-boyfriend who was just like "Totti" or whatever sports/business figure is intimidating, strong need to take care of my dog/friend/sister), I simply told him that I preferred smoking to squats, reading to running and only wanted to teach English to those with the desire to learn.

Right away, he drove me to a pretty lake in EUR to get hot chocolate.

Where to get your Hair Do....

1. Lui Lei

Via Paolo Pannini, 21/23 06 3232591 (near Teatro Olimpico)

Stylist: Federico Cost: around 50 euros
Pros: he is artistic and open-minded, listens to what you want. All cuts grow out well. When I burnt off all my bangs with a flat iron, Fede was able to make me look human.
Cons: He speaks limited English. There are no appointments so the wait can be a pain.

2. Paolo di Pofi

Via Del Tritone, 102 06 42012388 (near Piazza Barberini)

Stylist: Paolo

Costs: about 80 to 100 euros

Pros: excellent cuts, note as "the best hairdresser in Rome. " Great color. Great styles. The best extensions in Europe. He has worked all over the world, so yes, you can chat in English.
Cons: So noted that he is busy and he often appears rushed as he tries to please everyone. No matter what, he does a great job.

Honor Roll

Spano & Co,Via Dei Greci, 40 06 3235634 (near Piazza di Spagna)

Two of my friends get their hair cut, colored and styled here. And they always look great. Cost can be over 60 euro for a hair cut, plus blow out/style and color. Mostly Italian-speakers.

Aveda, Rampa Mignanelli 9 06 69924886 (Piazza di Spagna)

Excellent place to change your hair color-- especially if you want to go back to your natural color, or test out a "natural" color. Good vibes...

Noi Salon Piazza del Popolo 3 06 3600 6284

I met the two owners at an enoteca and we fell instantly in love with each other. Or maybe it was our mutual love for dogs, hair and Los Angeles. Owners are American and Italian.

Contesta Rock Hair Via degli Zingari, 9 06 47823717 (Monti)

Lots of people like to come here because they promote rock and roll.