I am not sure how or why I let a man with a pencil moustache cut my hair in an underground vintage store, supply me with beer in a teacup, and give me a conker to hold while he snipped away.
Here I was last night, just showing a friend this funky store I had discovered, when all of a sudden, I hear a voice behind me in the sequin section rattle off something about my hair in Turkish. Somehow, through my pathetic Turkish and his few words of English, I am able to gather that he thinks I need my hair trimmed and shaped into a fabulous bob. I explain very brokenly:
Önce ben bir cok güzel bob var, ama her zaman Istanbul'da kesim yaptim, saçım çok kötü!
He laughs, either at my language or at the expression of dread on my face— every time I have gotten my hair cut in Istanbul, there have been terrible results that have nearly made me cry. I am not a girl who cries easily, mind you. I don't understand what happens— Turkish women have fantastic hairdos. Perhaps it's the texture of my pin-straight volumeless hair; hairdressers think they have all this hair to work with, but a few snips and I might as well shave it off.
He is so persistent, and explains he is not a hairdresser, but an artist. He understands hair, and knows what my hair wants to do. To his aide glides in a delightfully elegant Spanish man dressed head to toe in white— my sudden translator. My horror stories are now conveyed in perfect Turkish, and the moustached artist's assurances of his brilliance are expressed in clear English, with a beautiful Spanish accent. I don't know why, but I agree to be led by the hand to a striped setee. Before I know it, a vintage slip is tied around my neck and a teacup of beer is placed gently in my hand.
The hair artist gestures the movement of a diaphragm with his hands as he exhales and inhales deeply— I understand he is telling me to relax and breathe. As if a light bulb switched on in his mind, he disappears for a moment and returns with a shiny conker and folds it in my palm, whispering, "this, very special."
Two hours later, I do indeed, have a fabulous bob. I thank my new hairdresser— hair artist— and he offers to take me fishing. I politely decline, and thank him for giving me back my bob.
They even have lederhosen!
By Retro is in the Rus Konsolosluğu karşısı, Suriye Pasajı off Istiklal Caddesi.
There is usually a guy in a gold lamé sultan Ottoman costume out front trying to entice you to come in.