petite anglaise

March 15, 2005

saturday afternoon fever

Filed under: misc, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 7:30 am

When I visited our apartment a couple of years ago, arching my back so the agent immobilier would notice the fact that I would shortly be spawning a little Frog and move our dossier to the top of the pile, I was very taken with the hairdresser’s next door.

The psychedelic, rainbow coloured, curvy shop front looks rather like it has been fashioned out of papier mâché. The sign on the door reads “Paris – Ouagadougou – Gif sur Yvette”. The name: Les Intondables, which literally translated means something like the ‘unshavables’ or the ‘unshearables’. Tondre is a verb of which I am rather fond, given that it can mean to ‘mow (the lawn)’ or to ‘shear’ (a sheep) as well as to shave your head. A tondeuse can therefore refer to either a small electric razor or a lawnmower.

But the best thing about the funky hairdressers’ is the music that booms out of their shop day in and day out. An eclectic mix which means that you never know quite what to expect, but are almost always pleasantly surprised. I often find myself humming along with a long forgotten track whilst poking around looking for post in amongst the junk mail and other unwelcome debris lurking in my letterbox. (‘Fools Gold’ by the Stone Roses was one of last week’s favourites, and I actually sang out loud to ‘Temptation’ by New Order. Do I sound old yet?)

Until last Saturday I had never crossed over the line and danced in the lobby however. As Mr Frog, Tadpole and I emerged from the lift on our way to the supermarket, our ears were greeted with the opening bars of ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ by The Smiths and Tadpole’s enthusiasm proved infectious. We are having something of a Smiths revival in our household, as Mr Frog brought his old CD’s back from the Evil’s so that I could put them on my Ipod. Tadpole seems to have taken a shine to Morrissey and enjoys ‘dancing’ (if it can be called that, being essentially arm waving at this stage) to ‘Vicar in a Tutu’ almost as much as to her other current favourite, ‘Head, Shoulders, knees and toes’.

Tadpole span round and round, waving her arms above her head and shrieking her appreciation, wobbling a little as she started to get rather dizzy. Mr Frog valiantly tried to encourage her to move her legs, executing the sort of moves that would make you howl with shame if you saw your dad doing something similar at a pub disco. Meanwhile yours truly was shaking her booty with reckloss abandon and yelling ‘wiggle wiggle? Go on [Tadpole], wiggle your bottom!’ Tadpole collapsed in a fit of giggles. I winked suggestively at Mr Frog (who was now doing his very best John Travolta impression, despite the fact that it did not match the music at all) and slapped my rear. Thank goodness we had the place to ourselves.

Except we didn’t.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I spied a shadowy figure in the stairwell, his silhouette outlined against the sunlight pouring in through the window. The bellowing music and the fact that the stairs are lined with carpet had allowed someone to creep up on us unnoticed.

I gestured to Mr Frog, who stopped mid-pose, looking rather like he was halfway through a spirited rendition of ‘I’m a little teapot’. There was an eery lull in the music – someone in the shop must be fumbling around for a new CD – and even Tadpole went silent, sensing that something was amiss. The man, a grumpy looking gentleman in his fifties with very bushy eyebrows, sidled past, maintaining a buffer zone between the dangerous whirling dervish people and himself, with not even the ghost of a smile. Perhaps he was worried that he might actually catch a sense of humour if he got too close?

When the door had swung safely shut behind him I collapsed in a quivering giggling mass.

It is at times like these that I am glad I remembered to do my pelvic floor exercises.


  1. Hahahahaha! I can just picture the scene. Great post!

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — March 15, 2005 @ 8:26 am

  2. Thanks for a good morning laugh !

    Comment by Jenny — March 15, 2005 @ 8:35 am

  3. it’s situations like these that always kill me. back “home,” I would probably just rock it even harder and invite the looker to join in, but somehow, I don’t think that would work as well here. Sigh.

    Comment by kim — March 15, 2005 @ 9:14 am

  4. Funny!
    So when will you actually go for a haircut in the place? Or do you fear they would dye your hair pink?

    Comment by Zebulette — March 15, 2005 @ 9:46 am

  5. That grumpy, middle-aged fellow with big bushy eyebrows sounds familiar to me. If it wasn’t for the gladioli-toting one’s famed europhobia, I would suspect you had been happened upon in your indie reverie by Morrissey himself, on his way to get the old quiff tidied up chez ‘les intondables’.

    Another great story Petite- you was robbed in those there bloggies, by the way!

    Comment by jonathan — March 15, 2005 @ 10:32 am

  6. Petite – you should find out if Mr Grumpy has a bigger apartment than you guys. If so, you should keep up the whirling dervish thing – he might suddenly decide that he doesn’t want to live near the crazy Dancing Queen and her family anymore!

    Comment by Iain — March 15, 2005 @ 11:34 am

  7. Well zebulette, it did occur to me that if I had a hairdressing mishap chez eux it would be difficult to look them in the eye afterwards and they might wonder why I hadn’t come back…

    And as they tend to sit outside the shop on sunny days and always hold the door open for me + pushchair, I would constantly be running into them.

    Instead I go to Saks in my home town of York – with branches in glam locations like Scunthorpe, Ilkley and Antwerp you can’t go wrong, can you?

    Comment by petite — March 15, 2005 @ 1:12 pm

  8. Strange but I recently had a similar experience with Diana Ross’ staying alive – it was in front of a group of junior high kids and instead of scorning me, they joined me!

    Get down, petite!:lol:

    Comment by sammy — March 15, 2005 @ 1:34 pm

  9. Dancing grannies are even worse than Mr Frogs. (It doesn’t stop them.) And Mr Frog can’t be any more embarrassing, dancing, than husbands I have known (mine.) Thanks for citing me by the way – and putting me on your site too. Feels good from someone who’s writing I read with such pleasure. In time – when the current crop of wrinklies (strange how you never number yourself among them.. even if you should) take themselves off – I’ll get back to blogging too.

    Comment by grannyp — March 15, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

  10. V. funny! :arrow::lol:

    Comment by Aimee — March 15, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

  11. Hilarioouuuus as usual, you dangerous dervish, you!

    Comment by Antipo Déesse — March 15, 2005 @ 4:46 pm

  12. :lol:
    It’s the music that makes the world go round round and round …..

    back to my desk and turning the music down.

    Comment by Andy — March 15, 2005 @ 4:55 pm

  13. Sound old? You should hear the songs lurking in the back of my head. Only no-one would want to hear me sing.

    Comment by David — March 15, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

  14. enjoying the Stone Roses should never make you feel old! That’s just good music…

    Comment by Chris — March 15, 2005 @ 5:10 pm

  15. Maybe he was only grumpy because his arthritis was acting up and he couldn’t join in the fun.

    Comment by Bluegrass Mama — March 15, 2005 @ 7:58 pm

  16. Wonderful post!

    Re: your illo, did you know that the Saturday Night Fever dancefloor was auctioned recently?


    Comment by Julia — March 15, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

  17. I don’t get the Burkina Faso link with the sign on the door – what’s that all about?

    Comment by BHR — March 15, 2005 @ 10:18 pm

  18. bhr – either I’ve had too much wine this evening or I’m just being blonde – what on earth are you talking about?

    Comment by petite — March 15, 2005 @ 11:59 pm

  19. Petite – I think BHR is talking about the Ouagadougou reference…

    I love the “Gif-sur-Yvette” punchline, actually – reminds me of the coach firm in the film Brassed Off, which has this logo on the side of their buses: “New York, London, Paris & Grimley…but mainly Grimley” :-)

    Comment by Iain — March 16, 2005 @ 12:35 am

  20. aha, I guess they are just taking the piss out of swanky places that make a big deal out of being in Paris – London – New York. Instead they have chosen some rather obscure village and Ouagodougou.

    Comment by petite — March 16, 2005 @ 8:38 am

  21. as for the name ‘les intondables’, i think it is a reference to the title of one of the ‘genie des alpages’ albums, a psychedelic comic strip by f’murrr (takes you back to the 70’s too…)
    …a great laugh (that is, if you like absurd french humour).

    thanks for this good-mood post, dancing queen!

    Comment by saar — March 16, 2005 @ 10:24 am

  22. great post petite! I really had to laugh out loud by imagining you three “wiggling”. Your descriptions are so good that one can really almost see you there! :grin:

    Comment by mélanie — March 16, 2005 @ 12:56 pm

  23. […] So the next time I changed both salon and approach. I chose a hipster-looking coiffeur and told him in broken French to “create whatever you dream.” My stylist’s dream, it turned out, was to give me a modified Job Bob with slightly longer layers. He earned points, though, for managing to smoke and snip at the same time. I went back to Les Intondables twice based on the merits of its jukebox and proximity to Sushi Yakatori Bagel. […]

    Pingback by The Paris Blog: Group Blog about Paris, France » Blog Archive » — September 5, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

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