Today, to get Q ready to face America, and more importantly to see her fiancé for the first time since April, we spent the morning and the first part of the afternoon at Dessange. I had my hair color “refreshed” as I am not yet ready to be gray. Inside my head I am thirty (it was a good decade). Also from past experience I know the best French manicure I have ever had (the woman has a plum line inside her nail brush) awaits at the hands of Leila who is now glowingly six months pregnant with her first child. Q had her hair cut and highlighted, and also had the French manicure.
I was somewhat ambivalent about allowing someone to put color on my hair. Yes, hanging my head in shame at being such a control freak, I have been applying color to my own hair the past few years since it began to manufacture its own brand of frosting. Having become at last apparent to me that the natural color of my hair is not to miraculously return one morning when I wake, I have acknowledged the coloring is a matter best left to professionals, but just in case I brought my straw fedora.
Actually having decided to allow someone else to do the color in a salon environment was somewhat freeing in that I now had a choice to the color. I recently read in one of the American beauty magazines that women over fifty should not have red hair as it makes the complexion look aged and “splotchy”. Women who have been redheads should instead change to a “honey blonde” color. Monroe? Theron? Deneuve? Or Kate Hepburn? I considered it. “Do you want to be a blonde?” asked Q.
“I don’t really know. I don’t think I know how. I think being a redhead is part of my aren't I charming and smart routine. What do you think?”
“I don’t know Mom. I’ve never seen you with any other hair color. I think you’re too pale to be a blonde.”
In the end I have decided to remain among the flame-haired of the world, as the other seems too fraught with uncertainty. I mean would I have to change my conversation to include rapture about the latest it-bag? Would I have to give up boxing? Could I stand the blonde jokes? (please do not take offense blondes of the blog world as I know you are an individuated group)
Arriving at Dessange, Q for the last time acted as my interpreter and explained what I wanted. Fouzia, who is a lovely young woman with black hair, dark eyes, and creamy copper skin, reassured me immediately with her expertise and professional manner. I pointed to a color among the palette selection – “No.” I pointed to another, “No.” I looked at her expectantly. “We will combine these two colors. (not one I had picked out) You want an Irish red yes?” Being unsure as to the exact hue of locks of my neighbors to the east in Ireland I nodded nonetheless, knowing it was those self same Vikings that raided their shores as well as Scotland. Q left for her treatments assured I was in good hands, and anxious for her own pampering.
Fouzia mixed, painted, shampooed, massaged, and conditioned me back to the same color I have been used to these fifty years with a bit of a saucy shine. Well satisfied, I was happy to see Leila and her manicure kit. I was not disappointed; she continues to give the best French manicure I have seen. During the manicure Shizlom* arrived, blow dryer at the ready, and gave me a straight and shinny flippy do that suits me to a tea. As usual the twin sensations of having my hair brushed, and having my hands massaged sent me very close to a restful sleep state.
At the beginning of the treatments and again upon request I was supplied with espresso and bottled water, always a plus. As I had nothing to do now but watch my nails dry, I watched Q have her manicure by Leila as Karal shampooed, conditioned, and cut her hair, then took her off for her brushing. I pulled out my laptop and began my missive for you lovely readers. Dessange is located at 1, Av Ahmed Balafrej in Souissi/Rabat. The telephone number is 037.65.76.26. I would strongly suggest you drop by to make your appointment as the same by telephone can turn to a lengthy and sometimes frustrating affair – much like the Treaty of Versailles.
There was a bevy of beautiful children today in the salon – getting those back to school hair cuts no doubt. One young man took particular delight in saying “Bonjour!” – everytime he spotted Q.
Q returned looking smashing! The highlights that Karal applied are subtle yet sparkling, and the cut not only gives her hair that sassy swing we all want but also volume. Really quite well done even though when it comes to haircuts my heart still belongs to Muss.
We had called ahead to check that the salon takes charge cards, as is a good idea anywhere in Morocco. After some internal political dispute over the arrival of the bill for the waxing, we were able to pay up and depart for lunch at Paul’s. As I write this sitting at my office at the Majestic in the New City, I toss my hands into the air and say, Mon Dieu! - as I realize I forgot to leave tips! Bugger, I shall return on Wednesday and remedy that – easy enough as Dessange is just down the block from Moving.
The only unpleasant note of the visit that was other wise just right, were the waxing treatments. Those of you, and you know who you are, who have the bikini wax and beyond, know there are certain things that must be done to ensure a satisfactory outcome – you must take two aspirin or Advil beforehand, the technician must trim the area before applying the wax, and you never wax an area more than twice. I fear all but one of these precautions were violated. I did take two aspirin before leaving home. In addition to not trimming the area until AFTER she had unsuccessfully and painfully waxed it once, Aziza used the thick cooling wax rather than the sugar wax used most often here and in Europe. All in all a very Unsatisfactory experience.
Still, we left the salon feeling pampered and lovely. That leaves only one thing for it – lunch (and preferably shopping of course if you have time). Lunch at Paul’s was up to its usual lovely standards with a cutting edge fashion parade of the ladies who were lunching today. Years of French colonization, when combined with the natural style consiousness of the Moroccan women has brilliant results. We had a delicious sautéed vegetable salad and gourmet hamburgers with French fries as only Morocco can do them.
Q is finishing up those errands today that can only for whatever reason be completed at the last minute – we’ve all been there – so we skipped café au lait and dessert. She has gone home to try for a quick nap as she was up far into the morning packing, and then she is over to the embassy to turn in her final report for the Fulbright Foundation and collect her last check. She is meeting me here after she has her final Arabic lesson with her tutor (is that perseverance or what?). I am relaxing with my café au lait, talking with you, and now to work.
Afterwards we meandered through the medina for Q to collect gifts for friends in America. I bought some of the King’s dates for her last night and we found some wonderful paintings.
I am posting this when I arrive home tonight. Since I am taking Q and M.C. Solaar to Casablanca tomorrow to catch her aeroplane, I will be posting late then as well. I should be back on schedule on Wednesday when I go over to the Mega Mall to oversee the photographs for my Curling article, and per request I shall take to the ice myself. That’s it for today lovely readers. Can you tell I am trying to stretch out every last moment with her (sigh)?