March 16, 2009

A Very Funny Series of Emails

My cousins Jill and Alisa are coming to Paris in April. We can't wait to have them. In preparation, Jill recently sent me this email:

I thought of one more question....stupid, but important. Will my flat iron work there? I heard somewhere that your oulets aren't the same. My hair is impossible without a flat iron. Do you have one if mine won't work or do they have adapters or something? Just have to know. Thanks again.

I wasn't quite sure about how to respond technically, since we had had a mishap this summer with my mom's curling iron. So, I asked Xavier about adapters and he wanted to know what for. I told him, with a bit of hesitation, that it was for a hair thing. His face lit up with a smile. Les Américaines! he proclaimed and volunteered to take over from there.

Here is his response (I was falling off the couch laughing):

Hey Jill,

Emilie forwarded your last email to me, she was not sure that we had a practical solution for your hair straightener dilemma...May I jump in the conversation at this technical juncture.

First, I went on a website to educate myself about these devices:

Then, I realized that most of these "cosmetic" appliance devices use a range of 25W to 80W which is too much for our little (
although cute) power converter. Rosie already blew it up once trying to approach hair styling in France in the same way...

Last, let's just be honest here: do you really need a hair straightener, Miss America? I am not sure...but if so, I can suggest the following American alternatives:

Classic: Hair Sprays. Hair spays are used to stiffen hair and hold a hairstyle in place. They are made up of various polymers that provide hold, reduce moisture, and increase water resistance. They are generally weaker than hair wax or gel, but are gentler and less damaging to the hair. They are sprayed from aerosol cans and are usually scented (good).

2. Less common but far more in fashion:
Hair Relaxers (relax your hair, relax your hair, Emilie would say...) which straighten curly hair to make it more manageable. They work by softening the hair so that it remains straight when stretched. Their effects are usually temporary to semi-permanent (just what we want, right?), depending on the application and the strength of the chemicals (we will rely on you for this).

Hair relaxers use mild depilatory chemicals – the same ingredients used in hair removal – to thin and soften the hair. These chemicals can damage the hair and skin when not properly applied. Although hair relaxers may be applied at home, experts recommend having them applied by professionals to prevent the chemicals from damaging the hair, scalp, and surrounding skin.

3. Traveler friendly:
A Wig. A wig is an artificial head of hair that can be made of human hair, horsehair (that sounds good, Melanie will be delighted), or synthetic materials (but environment friendly). It consists of a hair cap woven or injected with strands of hair. It is worn on the head for fashion, role-playing, disguise, cosmetic enhancement, and other stylistic reasons including religious and cultural observance. It is available in different colors, hairstyles, and lengths.

I hope this helps and I trust that you will look stupendous regardless of what you choose from the options above; I really look forward to seeing you guys in Paris, even more so now...


Classic. Xavier has reconfirmed all of his ideas about American women's hair.

One last thing though. Every morning after Xavier's shower, I hear the sounds of a blow dryer in the bathroom. Xavier?


Alisa said...

Do you seriously not have one of these Emilie? They do become a necessity.

Still, I was laughing from Miss America down.

Jill said...

This is my favorite post of all time! And I'm coming, even without my straightener!

tmildenhall said...


Jill and me were just in Iceland for spring break and even with a converter her hair straightener blew up and now lives in the trash. Those things are expensive too, so tell them not to risk it. The great part was we blew out the power in our hotel room twice too!

Mels said...

Xavier is so funny, but I prefer not to use horse hair Xavier just to let you know. That is so funny, I remember you telling me abotu when mom blew that power out, sounds like you did research X, and Jill and Alisa I hope tou have fun in France with Em, X and Marguriete.
Love you all
Tuffy is doing a lot better, I get to start to ride her, slowly. LOVe you all

D1Warbler said...

I can definitely sympathize with your dilemna as I nearly blew up my favorite hair dryer in Italy years ago when a converter didn't work there either. (I was chaperoning Kimi's choir.) Get some mousse (instead of relaxers or hair spray) and relax away!

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