The first book I remember owning – that was completely mine – not shared with my brothers, sisters, niece or nephews – was “The Baby Born in a Stable.” Mom bought it for me at the Religious Goods Store at St. Agnes. I actually got to pick it out. Here’s a current pic of it on my bookshelf in my home office. No joke.
I kept most of my books because it was big deal in such a big family to have a big book. Ok, so the book wasn’t big, but it was a big deal. I was spoiled compared to my older siblings. Not all of my things were hand-me-overs. (“Hand-me-overs” is a term I coined. These were things that came from other families, because the siblings weren’t giving up their things easily to hand them down.) Unlike my siblings, I was more likely to get new things. At one point, I even had a subscription to the “Read About Me and the Bee” series. These books were custom printed, adding your name, a pet’s name, and three friends. Mom made me add my brother and two of my nephews. Friends? Riiiiight. They wouldn’t even let me play baseball with them unless they really needed a base. But they were my friends in the books.
Do you remember in grade school, back in the 70’s, when we could order a book through school? I think it was through Scholastic Books. (Check this out – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jl-incrowd/sets/72157601903080963/). We sure had a lot of fun reading Highlights magazine. Scholastics had some wacky stuff to read too. But the one book that stands out for me was “You and Your Hair.” It changed my life. I still have the book, but not here in Ankara. Below is a pic of a similar book by the same author. Obviously, this was pre-70’s.
I know I was going somewhere with this post, ahhh yes, the Turkish hair stylist. There is nothing a girl likes more than to have nice hair. Some like to look good for a man. I find that my boyfriends never really notice. Did I say boyfriends? Um, I mean my husband. So the pleasure of having a good hairdo is strictly for me!
I have long thick curly hair. Some call me blessed. To me, it’s a nightmare and always has been. “You and Your Hair” taught me a few tricks, like rinsing with cool water for more shine. As an adult, I’ve come up with a few tricks of my own – like letting someone else do it for me! In Philadelphia, I found my dream hair stylist, Jody, a very hot guy at Giovanni & Pileggi. (I’m sure his wife and kids think so too!) Jody says it normally takes him 10-15 minutes to blow dry a full head of hair. It takes him at least 35 to do mine. A wash, quick trim, and a blow dry costs about $70-80 at G&P. Worth every dime.
During my first week in Ankara, I was told that it is possible to have my hair blown straight for 4TL. I wasn’t sure whether I believed that. And I was very certain this deal would never happen to me. I live near the Embassies. Generally, things cost a bit more here. So I asked around.
The hair salons here are called kuaför (as they are in Germany.) They are easy to find. Like most other businesses, they are often lined up next to each other, 2 or 3 of them, side by side. I thought it would be difficult to tell the difference between a hair stylist and a barber for men. As it turns out, it wasn’t so hard. I would peek through the window of a salon and if I saw a group of men, I kept walking. If I saw a picture of a woman in the window, I would stop in and ask, “Ne Kadar?” and then move my hand in the motion of a blow dryer. They would respond with the price of a blow dry.
[A big thanks here to my German professor, David Odell, from TUCC who encouraged me not to be afraid of using motions and other descriptive words when speaking. I once asked my German cousin for “a machine to make my hair dry.” She giggled and taught me the word, Haarfohn – a blow dryer. At the time, we didn’t realize she was also helping me learn Turkish. I now know the Turkish word for a blow dry is fön, similar to the German, Haarfohn. Although I am pretty sure that the translation for a Turkish blow dryer (saç kurutma makinası) is something like “the machine to make my hair dry.” ]
After asking around, I found that one day I could enjoy this simple pleasure for 9TL. Seeing that I don’t yet have a job, 9TL seemed like a luxury. But lo and behold, today I saw a sign that read, 4TL! That is $2.65! I know, I know, you are now wondering why I didn’t get it done for 9TL!
I poked my head through the door and asked, “Ne kadar, fön?” A handsome man responded. 4TL. To him, this was probably like asking the price at a dollar store. It was clearly stated on the sign. So I pulled on my hair and pointed out that it was long and thick. “Çok saç” I told him and asked again, “ne kadar.” He repeated. This was only going to cost me $2.65. Wow. I was going to finally get my hair done and for the price of a loaf of Wonderbread! This deal even came with a bonus! I had found another good looking hair stylist! (My apologies to my husband, but he knows how I enjoy a man running his hands through my hair. But I’m just digging a deeper hole here, aren’t I?)
I returned home, showered and washed my hair. Certainly, you didn’t think this price was going to include a hair wash did you? Women here wash their own hair, or the stylist will spray it for you. Of course, the salon would probably wash it for you for a small charge. I can’t imagine what that costs!
It has been a long time since Mrs. Riccardo did my hair from the small salon in her West Chester basement. And I bet she charged a little more than this guy. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Maria DiSanti here to save me from my home coloring kits. But again, his sign says only 20TL for a coloring and a dry. In the past I have been known to shave my head, bleach it blonde, and generally treat my hair like an accessory. But I’m thinking I just might stick with this guy for a while. So what do you think? Worth every lira?!