Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Cute" versus "cool"

I get my hair cut at a minimalist Japanese salon in the East Village. This is like saying I get my coffee at a Starbucks in Manhattan, a McDonalds in America. I picked the salon I go to out of the many because it's especially minimalist-looking, even by minimalist-Japanese-salon standards. The haircuts tend to be quite good as well. The only difficulty is that I do not know Japanese, and am unlikely to any time soon, given that it stands well behind Dutch, Hebrew, Yiddish, and German on the list of languages I ought to know or know better. So while I'm never proud of my ignorance, in this case I'm resigned to it.

When I called to make the appointment, I mispronounced the name of my regular stylist; when I arrived, I saw that my appointment had been made for someone named "Thoered," give or take a letter. Sofia Coppola could have stayed in the States to get her point across. When it came time to describe the haircut I wanted, most could be accomplished via pointing at pictures in a magazine cut-out scrapbook the salon has for that purpose. However, any more specific requests were today, as they have in visits past, met with a discussion of whether I wanted to look more "cute" or "cool." My first visit, I thought "cute" sounded the safer bet, but apparently that means bangs that are shorter in the middle, which wasn't so great, so I decided to go with "cool." I was a bit concerned today, though, when the stylist cutting my hair told me that another woman comes in regularly, a customer who's "very cool," and gets my exact haircut... but with a large section of her hair shaved off in the middle, visible only when the hair is pulled back. This look is, I learned, "cool." I did what I could to explain that I didn't want to look too cool, and am, I'd have to say, happy with the result.

6 comments:

Withywindle said...

"Thoered" sounds like the hairdresser for the Riders of Rohan.

Phoebe said...

"Theored" isn't the hairdresser. I am "Theored," because "Theored" is "Phoebe." Who are these Riders?

kei said...

I don't know the Japanese in the East Village that well, but it sounds like they've relocated a small portion of Tokyo to Manhattan--lots of Japanese people, everything is still expensive and there is little (communicable) English.

I know that distinction between "cool" and "cute" though. It's kind of vague, but can be applied to clothes and makeup as well.

FLG said...

The Riders, like Withywindle, are from Middle Earth.

Withywindle said...

Indeed. Phoebe, you haven't read Lord of the Rings? And, given your name, have you seen Yeomen of the Guard?

Phoebe said...

No, haven't read it, and given the to-read list, probably will not any time soon.