The Corrective Cut

“Tell me the truth. You took scissors to your own hair, didn’t you?” (see note 1)

Victory is clearly mine. [tweetmeme source=”connergo” only_single=false]

Ay querida,” I tell my new favorite hairdresser in that mix of English and Spanish that comes naturally to the bi-cultural. “Is it that bad?”

She meets my gaze in the mirror and gives an unequivocal nod.

Ingrid grows wide-eyed as I explain Anabel’s lazy layering technique and scissor-happy strategy – indignities which were foisted on me nine months prior in an upscale Havana salon.

“Tsk tsk,” is the sum of her response. Seems there’s some sort of unspoken hairdresser solidarity that prevents her from dissing a faceless colleague, despite the butcher job she will now proceed to try and fix.

We talk at length – about my lifestyle, my outlook, and my hair-related derring-do. How short am I willing to go? Bangs or no bangs? Ingrid blanches when I tell her I don’t own a blow dryer. Luckily she recovers quickly.

“I’ve cut lots of Chinese hair – don’t worry. We’ll achieve maximum volume with the cut. No extra product or tools needed.”

And she gets busy. It takes over an hour and some clever techniques to correct the god awful mess I’ve been sporting since October. It immediately becomes clear, however, that this is simply the first of a pair of corrective cuts I’ll have to endure (and pay for) to repair damage done to me in that private Havana salon that shall continue to remain nameless. Even in Ingrid’s able hands, my head is somewhat of a lost cause – the layers are so drastically uneven they remind me of the laughable styles favored by the pseudo rebels at 23 & G (see note 2).

Sure, Ingrid’s work is costing me $45 instead of the $5 I paid the bedazzled bunny of a hairdresser Anabel, but it is worth every penny. Even here capitalist truths rule: you get what you pay for.

Thanks mujer for the killer haircut and for finally giving me something positive to say about Miami! (see note 3).


1. If possible, Ingrid’s question was even more endearing than my 12-year old niece’s observation from a week before: “Aunt Conner! From the back you look like a teenager!” Bless both their hearts.

2. Calles 23 & G in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood is where tweens and teens congregate by the hundreds to get tipsy on rum, flirt and maybe sneak a couple of cigarettes. All very vanilla, but interesting to see what the Cuban youth are up to these days. My conclusion? Not much.

3. If you ever have a longish layover in Miami, head to Angelo’s Hair Port in Terminal E and ask for Ingrid. Tell her the NYquina who lives in Havana sent you!



Filed under Americans in cuba, Living Abroad

4 responses to “The Corrective Cut

  1. Ole

    Hey Conner-
    Another highly entertaining post. I identify with the easy mingling of Spanish, English (and Cubano,too)when talking to bi-cultural folks. It is the truth- somethings are just more right in one language rather than the other. And if the Cuban tweens are not up to much, as you say, perhaps that is for the Better. At least they are not killing themselves and their friends off in drunken car crashes, as is almost a daily occurrance around here, unfortunately Glad you are back on the road to coiffured splender- I’ll bet you were glad to whack some hair off the way this summer has been, na? It’s been Brutal in S. Fla so I imagine it’s been the same for you. Saludos. Thanks for the great post- please keep them coming.


    • Hola Ole

      Yup. Sure is hot down here (“a scorcha” as my Maine friends say). Makes it hard to think/write/walk/breathe. Technically as I type this, it’s 93* F (34* C for you metric heads) but with the humidity it feels like 102*F/39*C. We’re talking Haitian hot.

      Texting and driving – it’s here already. Sad to look around the jammed packed conference room given over to World Cup finals yesterday to see the youngsters not high fiving and clinking glasses to celebrate spain’s vistory, but overworking their thumbs as they twittered and text’d.

      ay, la vida!

  2. samantha

    Last time I was in Havana folks kept bugging me to get a hair cut, After two months I needed one. But I was frighted to let anyone but my SF Castro district stylist cut my hair. I did let one of the women in my casa’s building do my nails though.

    If you come across any good hairdressers in Havana please post them. I’m on my way back in January and by March might want to get a trim 🙂

    • Ha! My very best and favorite hairdresser of all time had a chair on the fringe of the Castro – kick ass Hawaiian woman who knew hair.

      One reader commented on the original post (Virtues of a $5 Haircut) with name and number of a good hairdresser here in havana. they’re here, you just have to find them (and have lots of patience….the best have long wait times)

      On a different note, the plan to hand over the salons here to the workers is happening, with several already here being privately operated. Upshot, according to a friend: slightly higher prices, but good service and wide acceptance by public. So maybe you can get that trim for 40 pesos!

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