Greek hair salons

You need to stay another 10 minutes in the Climazone, I hear, as I let the suburban middle-class sip through the nylon gown. Old ladies eerily look ahead in the mirror, picking up information about you with the aluminium foil leaves on their head. Stylists succumb to requests for the same Playmobil hairstyle, even if Jesus won’t tell them apart in church later on.

This style, sometimes translucent blond, sometimes butterscotch, peaks around Orthodox Easter – that’s when hairdressers become arbiters in an aggressive social arena. Holy Greek tradition meets modern south suburbia. And south suburbia means you can’t remind your hairdresser’s overhearing clientele of the 2015 government debt crisis. If your hairdresser, asks about holiday plans, you have to say “yes” and elaborate.

Never respond with ‘I’m staying in Athens’.  This is why questions are asked in first person plural. “Are we going on holiday?”. “Did we have a nice weekend?”, we – as a collective post-recession. “How are we doing?” Status anxiety is washed down salon sinks, adult sons are sent tupperware weekly and nuclear family dysfunction hides behind extended family garden smoking on Sunday. We go to islands for Easter, by car and then ferry.  

A plasticised coating covers the ferry’s windows in such way that the sea outside seems VR. Green led lights above them reflect in uneven patterns like a casino suspended in purgatory. A man vomits. A woman reclines. The non-committal enjoyment of MUZAK is threatened for a bit. Three TVs stream a documentary about Indian monsoons, to remind you this is just the Argosaronic Gulf. A crew member crosses the cabin cursing behind his teeth, “fuck my house”, common and multilayered. Your stomach is a multi-mixer. Wind on the deck gives old ladies a second blow-dry. Someone makes their cross, you bump into your hairdresser. “Where are we going on holiday?”

Siri, what song is this? 

From the Onassis Foundation photography exhibition GR80s, 17 Feb to 12 Apr 2017

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