It had been way too long, and I’d made up my mind to pay a Frenchman to give me what I needed so badly.
That morning I ran early, not for health’s sake, but to put some color in my cheeks, vain, silly girl. Later, in the bath, I shaved my legs twice, washed my hair with the gardenia shampoo I use on special occasions, and sprayed just enough orange blossom scent to catch interest up close, but not enough to announce my arrival. The slim sheath from Montreal that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn would signal what I was looking for. Et bien sur, it had to be the pointy pewter Parisian shoes with the ankle strap, something no other woman in Austin is wearing, definitely. I know Frenchmen appreciate these carefully chosen details, and I wanted us to understand each other perfectly.
Driving downtown I looked in the rearview mirror and shook my head. What on earth was I thinking, dressing up for this? Because I want it to go well. I secretly hope we will develop a long term relationship, even if there is money involved. I need this in a big way.
Perspiring a little at the nape of the neck, I stepped up to his atelier and pushed open the door. A giant blow- up plastic ball took up most of the floor space in the foyer. I called out his name, and heard a step in the next room. I’d liked his voice on the phone, what would he look like? “Allo?” He was here! What, did I think he wouldn’t be? My heart raced. It had been a couple of years since the last Frenchman, but here I was doing it again, like some Pavlovian dog.
Herve stepped out of the back room, compact and solid, tan, with pale grey eyes. His hair was perfect, wavy, just long enough, sexy. He grasped my hand confidently.
“Welcome, I’m so glad you’re here. Please come in. Would you like something to drink?”
“Yes, please, just some water.” I needed to cool off before we got going.
After bringing me un verre de l’eau, he sat me down, and we bantered a bit before he asked me what I was thinking. I told him way more than he probably needed to know, that I’d been travelling for over a year, that I felt frayed and frazzled, that my last really good experience had been in Paris two years ago. He nodded. My style de femme needs more attention than that, and he could help me.
So he commenced in on me, deftly, speaking occasionally, always in French, complimenting me on my accent, which made me swell with pleasure since l’accent is one of those details that the French appreciate. He began by leaning my head back and massaging my head. Then, he pulled out the tools of his trade and did it. I enjoyed watching it happen to me in the mirror. I didn’t need to say a word. He just knew what I wanted. When he was done, I sighed, “Merci, Herve.”
Herve had given me more than a great haircut. He’d cut a year of stress off my head, brought a smile to my lips, and made me feel like a new femme. My anticipation was just the first part of a great day. My unreasonable expectations were satisfied. I plan on visiting Herve again. Here are photos de moi, avant et après.