READER REPORT:

Hairdressing confidential

BRUCE LEONARD
Last updated 12:18 13/01/2014
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QUEEN OF SECRETS: Karine Bafaro of Carlo Bay

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It is one of life's unsolved mysteries.

Why do I share with my hairdresser, my innermost thoughts and feelings? Even a secret or two that must be kept from my wife.

There was a time when a man's haircut was a recurring routine event. Straight back and sides was the standard style. Zip-zap with a razor, snip-snip with the scissors, a dab of brylcream, a splash of old spice, and you were done.

Time passes, and as the Kiwi male strode towards sophistication, he began to frequent dual-gender hairdressers. Not only was he having his hair blow dried, he was even asking for highlights and having his eyebrows trimmed.

The 15 minute appointment has become much longer, and consequently, so did the need for conversation.

Here in Burgundy, where I am fortunate to live, the 'coiffeur' rendezvous is at yet another level.

Every five weeks, for a full hour, Karine and I are joined at the scalp.

The welcome alone can occupy several minutes as respectful customs are exchanged. A cheery 'Bonjour', kissie-kissie, the mutual admiration of new clothes.

Then there's the pre-cut analysis, shampoo, coffee, wait, the cut, shampoo again, blow dry, some titillating of one kind or another, and of course the eyebrows.

The final act is the sales spiel of hair care products at eye watering prices. Shampoo? No merci. Apres-shampoo? No merci. Autres produits? No merci.

But all of this is just the side show. The main event is the conversation.

Karine has this technique of leaning close to your ear and talking in an almost conspiratorial tone. As if to say, this is just between you and me Bruce, our moment of privacy and intimacy. Forget the hive of activity going on around us.

Do I respond? What grown man wouldn't?

Karine not only knows the names of my children, she knows those of my grandchildren. She knows where I go on holiday and when. She knows my favourite food, wine and brand of clothing.

It is Karine who is asked, 'what should I buy for my wife's birthday?'. I don't flinch for a second when her recommendation is a gift costing the equivalent of 20 tickets to an All Blacks test match.

She knows what restaurants I have eaten at, what music I love, my favourite sport, and the fact I don't watch much television.

Even more impressive, she remembers all this trivia five weeks later, when between visits she has probably had 300 other client conversations.

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So why do I share all this with Karine? How does she provide this comfort level? Why do I even think she is remotely interested in knowing all this routine personal information?

Is it the warmth of her personality? Is it her skill and professionalism? Is it the sense of intimacy of her work?

I really don't know.

But I do know, it keeps me inking in another rendezvous.


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