the last ten-dollar-runaways-style hair cut for a while

Going to the hairdressers here is always an experience. I almost always have some story to come home with, and today was no exception.

First, I should probably mention that after living for two and half years in the Middle East, I feel like I am qualified to say that Arab women can be quite blunt when they want to be. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, it can just come as a shock to Westerners who grow up with certain politeness rules in place, and any violation of those rules usually results in one being offended. It’s something I quickly got over in the first few months living here.

Today I showed up to my local hairdresser, asking for a cut. She’s a rough woman, my hairdresser. She grabs and pulls and pokes; gentleness is not her forte.

Her first question is ‘Where is the baby?’
I laugh and reply, ‘Ma fii bebe lissa, inshallah.’ I don’t have kids yet, as God wills it.
How many years have you been married?’ she asks.
‘Almost three,’ I say.
There is lots of tutting and exchanging of glances with the other two women in the room.
‘Inshallah, God will give you babies. Enough, three years is enough to be a bride!’

In the middle of cutting my hair, she grabs my eyebrows and says, ‘You want your eyebrows done?’
Now, she’s done my eyebrows before, and it was not the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had, her lacking gentleness and all, so I quickly declined. She turns to her friend, and says, ‘But she needs it! It’s too messy! And her arms! She needs sukar (sugar wax)!’ all the while shaking her head and tutting. I don’t think she quite knows how much Arabic I understand, so I sit there trying not to laugh. But goodness, don’t go to a salon here unless you’re up for some severe scrutiny of your physical features.

I have to confess, while I was there, I was planning on writing a blog post about how this would be my last $10 cut and blow dry for a while. But then my hairdresser started lamenting loudly about how much her electricity bill was this month – 58JD! For a woman who probably only earns 250-300JD a month, that is pretty steep, and it’s an indication of how tough things are for the average Jordanian. Obviously it’s not as bad as places like Egypt, but times are tough. I’m not sure if the conversation I overheard was a deliberate ploy to soften me up for when my bill came, but if it was, it worked, because suddenly the price of a cut and blow dry went from 8JD to 14JD.

Nevertheless, I’m going to miss my shrewd, slightly grumpy, little-bit-nosy hairdresser. Maybe not the Joan Jett-Cherie Curry style hair cut, though ;)

Photo on 2013-06-13 at 19.25

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latest Aussie YA faves

I want to share some of the Aussie young adult books I’ve read lately and thought were absolutely brilliant. I’m not your conventional reviewer (Goodreads has plenty of great reviewers), but I’m going to share some of what I took from each book.

girl defectiveGirl Defective by Simmone Howell

This was my first Simmone Howell book, and I’ve since read Notes from a Teenage Underground, which was just as great. Girl Defective is set in Melbourne, and it quenched my homesickness. I like how it questions some of the traits in our culture today, like the ability to stick at something/be committed to something  (I’m not sure if the author intended this, but it’s what I got out of it.). I love this observation by the main character:

“She didn’t get it. She had no family, she moved around. She was like that Rolling Stones song ‘Ruby Tuesday’ — I used to think it was exotic, but now I wasn’t so sure. If you lived like that, what was to stop you from disappearing altogether?”

shadowshazeThe Rephaim Series #1 and #2 by Paula Weston

Wow! Just wow. I’ve avoided angel books for a while because I read one or two not-so-great series, but this was highly recommended by some Goodreads friends, and it does not disappoint.
Reason Number 1 you must read this series: Rafa.
Reason Number 2: it has a complex, intriguing and unpredictable plot.
Sometimes I think with YA there is this idea that a plot can’t be too intricate, but this is not the case with Shadows and Haze. Page turners for sure. Also, it’s the first paranormal Aussie series that I’ve ‘believed’. I don’t know why, but I think in my head paranormal must be set in the US to be ‘believable’ (because crazy supernatural things happen in America every day, right?), but Paula did such a good job at convincing me that sexy angels can turn up in Aus just as they might the US.

thewholeofmyworldThe Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes

I finished this last night and I cannot stop thinking about it. I grew up in a family obsessed with AFL. I have seven brothers and each one plays/played footy, some at the state/reserve level, and this book just brought home so many memories! It deals with some sensitive issues extremely well, and I loved the main character, who was not at all angsty even though she was trying to cope with grief and the usual dramas that come with being a teenager. I think it’s an extremely important book for young Australians to read, especially as it sheds light on the footy culture: the good aspects as well as the bad.