I walk into the salon with my words in a notebook. “Hi, how are you?”, the hairdresser asks automatically. I smile at her and show her what I’ve written down: Hello. I can’t speak but I need a haircut. Would you be able to fit me in today? I only need a trim.
At first she is unsure of how to respond. Her initial reaction is to start writing down an answer but then she remembers that I am mute, not deaf. Still she finds herself making all sorts of unnecessary gestures as she talks and leads me to a chair. “About two centimeters off?”, she asks as she holds up the ends of my hair. I nod and I write down: I don’t really mind what you do. Just try to fix the layers and keep it not too short.
I stare at her from the mirror’s reflection and I can tell that she is not used to working without chatting. She tries to angle questions towards yes or no answers but it’s hard for me to nod or shake my head while she is cutting my hair so instead she starts talking to the other hairdressers and customers just to break up the silence. I have no problem with this. I am happy to sit back and watch as my dead ends get snipped away and fall to the floor. I like looking at other customers’ reactions when everything is finished and they go to pay. Mostly they look pleased but that’s usually how it goes when you get your haircut. You’re either very impressed with how good your hair looks after it is freshly cut and styled in a way that you will never be able to replicate at home or you hate what it looks like but you’re too polite to say so.
When my haircut is finished it looks fine, which means I am satisfied. The hairdressers gestures once more towards the front desk and awkwardly tells me the cost. I hand her the money and she thanks me and tells me to have a nice day.
“You too!”, I say loudly with a cheeky smile as I walk out the door leaving her stunned and speechless.