Now, I have a hair drama. Remember my last time in Rome and the wonderful Manolo? That Italian hairdresser knew how to cut and colour. But, quelle horror, the salon he worked in has moved to Trastavere and they’ve taken my Manolo with them. I have tried to find the salon but no luck so far. So I decided to go into the same salon where Manolo used to be and see what they could do.

Fortunately, the receptionist spoke enough English for me to explain what colour I wanted and how to cut my hair. I have very fine, straight hair and if it’s cut too short at the crown, I end up with a cockatoo crest. She confidently enthused that most Italians speak English – oh yeah? I seem to be running into all the ones that don’t. Including Salvatore, the new Italian hairdresser. I’ll give him credit though – he can cut very well.

But….I explained the colour I wanted by saying rosso (or red in Italian) and pointing to the colour on the colour chart they shoved under my nose. The colour I chose was RED. Let me repeat that: RED. So I’m not quite sure what happened. But I’ve ended up darkish brown with fawn highlights.

I have always had red hair except for a brief stint in my stupid 20s as a blonde. My natural colour, way back as a teenager, was a reddish coppery blonde. Guess you’d call it strawberry blonde.  I’ll dig out a photo to prove it. I have never been brown or dark brown. I mean, you may as well be BEIGE and DEAD BORING.

Before the colour was revealed, the most hilarious thing happened. Salvatore proceeded to the highlights. Along came this elegant older woman; I’d say she was in her 60s. Reed thin. High heels clinking on the marble tiles. Tiffany silver heart bracelet. Jet black hair. She couldn’t speak a word of English despite the receptionist espousing that most Italians speak English.

She then whipped out this cap thing. The sort I haven’t seen in Australian or New Zealand hairdressing salons since the 1920s. Well, the 1990s maybe. You remember ladies? The rubber cap they plonked on your head and practically pulled over your eyes. Then the hairdresser started what they secretly wanted to do all along – torture you – by pulling your hair strands out through the holes in the cap and making your eyes water when they reached the hairline. Back then, I think highlights were called streaks.

So the reed thin Italian lady roughly plonks the cap on and pulls it down. Then….and I’ve NEVER seen this done…turned the top rim up and stapled it to the cap. Followed by – getting a blue ribbon, stapling it to one side of the cap, pulling it under my chin, and then stapling it to the other side. Don’t believe me? Here’s the evidence.

Well, sort of. I was dead scared of reed thin woman so had to secretly take a photo. You can’t see the blue ribbon under the chin, stapled onto the cap. Talk about giving me a chin lift! And what’s with that creepy star fish mirror thing they have going on?

By the time you see me here with the dreaded cap on and looking like I’m wearing fern fronds on my head – we are at the 3 hour mark. Yes, THREE hours. Salvatore worked slowly. The hair washing chic worked slowly. Oh and I had my hair washed THREE times, slowly.

When they revealed the finished product, I nearly died. Dead boring brown. And where are the highlights? Reed thin woman declared it to be Bellissima and was clearly waffling on about how the colour suited my skin. I thought I looked like something out of the Vampire Diaries because the dull colour just drained me. No warmth.

Salvatore then took his time to blow dry and by the time I made it to the reception desk to cough up Euro 127.00, I had been in there for nearly four hours. Oh and Euro 127.00 was the 50% off price! I nearly choked but revived myself when I saw reed thin woman making a bee line for me with a huge fluffy brush.

Without asking, she grabs my face and proceeds to plaster it with powder, followed by bronzer and lip gloss. True to say, dear reader, what with washing my hair THREE times, they had practically washed off my makeup. But talk about in my face. She then launches at me and gives me the Italian hello and goodbye thing- kiss, kiss on each cheek. I backed out graciously and proceeded to have a meltdown outside.

I now feel devoid of personality. I mean my hair colour has always sort of defined me. The receptionist said that reed thin woman owns the salon and considered that I had WAY too many highlights in my hair. And that now I look more like a sophisticated Italian lady. Bollocks. It’s plain dead boring.

My mission (and I choose to accept it!) is to hunt down Manolo. Then drop at his feet and beg him to fix this boring bloody brown business.