A little while ago a young, Asian woman came into the salon looking to get her hair done. Her English was a bit spotty, but between the magazine she brought in and a lot of gesturing and pantomime and charades, we figured out what she wanted I got down to business.
The style she was looking for was somewhat like this: long and layered, and finished off with a big, fat curling iron. No problem.
As I work away with the curling iron, she asks "how long will this last?". I assume she means the cut, and reply "about 4 to 6 weeks; by that time you'll likely need another cut". She says "no, how long will the curls last?". I pause, thinking that maybe with her English not so good, I'm not getting the meaning here. "The curls, you mean?", holding one up. "Yes, how long will that last?" I pause again, because, really, isn't that an obvious answer to anyone with hair? Finally I answer "well, until the next time you get it wet". "What???" she asks incredulously, "you mean I'll have to style it every day???" Another pause while I flip through the Rolodex in my head for all the possible meanings that sentence could cover. "Why.....yes", I finally reply. "Well, is there anyway to make it last longer than that?" she asks? Now I'm figuring that language is not the problem here, a firm hold on reality is the problem here. I finally say "if you know of a way to make a curling iron set last through a shampoo and a blow dry, I'd love to hear it".
That was the end of the conversation.
I still wonder what, exactly, she was expecting my answer to be.