English as a NEW second language...

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/08/13 01:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/08/12/4361116.aspx

I have been meaning to write something about a recent traumatic experience that happened to me, but things have been so hectic that I haven't had the chance.

It even involves language a bit!

This is the story of a haircut.

But let me back up for a second and explain one important point -- the fact that I hate changing hairstylists.

My last regular stylist was wonderful, and I loved the work she did. She was the manager of a HairMasters, and I liked her enough that when they moved her to manage a different location (in Issaquah) I even followed.

Did I mention I hate changing stylists?

Anyway, she ended up getting married and she left the job. I have been holding off trying to find a new one, and going to SuperCuts type places.

Although, come to think of it, I guess I found Autumn by accident too -- going to HairMasters to avoid finding a new stylist when my last one stopped working at Elegant Affair.

Anyway, enough digressing.

I have been going to SuperCuts, getting my hair cut ideally every three weeks (though in practice usually 4-6 because of how much I suck at the whole work/life balance thing).

At my last haircut, the woman I got was not a native English speaker. It would be fair to say that not only had she learned English as a second language (ESL), but that she was in the process of learning English as a brand new second language.

Suffice to say that language as a means of communicating vital concepts and ideas was not happening that day at the SuperCuts.

Not her fault, not mine -- just a failure to communicate.

They even offered not to charge but I'm not that guy, I paid for the cut.

In the end I could not comb my hair back (which is what I have been doing for years) because it was too short -- combing it back would mean having most of it sticking up right in the air.

So I went with the idea of combing it forward. Like a bowl but slightly less organized.

I planned to just have it that way until I could comb it back again, but a whole bunch of people whose opinions I respect actually seem to like it this way better. Some of them even read this blog, maybe one or two of them will read this very post.

Hello if you fall in one of the above categories (oh, and hi if you think you are in one of those categories but aren't; I won't embarrass you by telling you that you are one of those people!).

So I might keep the hairstyle. It is slightly less work if I can remember not to try to make it go back when I am running my fingers through it, which I'm sure I'll learn to remember eventually.

Hell, if I can manage to take a picture with the camera on the MacBook Pro (this is neither a hardware or a software thing, it is just that I am terrible at having pictures taken of me due to the fact that I have smile issues as I have mentioned before), then I may even update the picture in the About Me section on the right, with the new hairstyle.


This post brought to you by U+200a, a.k.a. HAIR SPACE)

# Mihai on 13 Aug 2007 2:42 PM:


In one of my haircut accidents I have asked for a "1 inch long" and I got something like "1 cm long" :-)

The explanation was the "this is 1 inch for us" (which is funny now, but I did not find it so funny then :-)

It looks like the problem was not the language (she was speaking English at native level, as far as I can tell), but she used the "electrical thing" with "accessory number 1"

So I have learned that "haircut number 1" is not the same as a "1 inch long," and I have also learned that in fact I kind of like hair that short, especially in summer :-)

# GregM on 13 Aug 2007 4:40 PM:

I've also learned that what some people call "accessory number 1", other people call "accessory number 5", and vice-versa, so I now just ask for "the long comb" on the clippers.

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