One of the things I really dreaded in Korea was getting a haircut. You may recall the first time, back in 2004, I was brave enough to venture into a hair salon with very little Korean under my belt and ended up with very little hair. While my haircuts improved drastically with every visit since then, although with the odd lemon, it always took a bit of confidence walking into the local ‘Blue club’ in Daegu to get a cut.
So when I decided to get a haircut today, my first in Beijing, I made sure Em was with me. With an open afternoon there was no better time to see what I could do with this hair. Since the hot weather kicked in (yes, I was using my heater 5 weeks ago!) I’ve found having hair in Beijing rather, well, unnecessary. It also seems like every Chinese bloke in Beijing feels the same way and, for the most part, the crew cut has made an overwhelming appearance on the streets again (although I’ve been assured it never disappeared in China, especially the ‘flat-top’).
Despite knowing that I wanted a short cut (not a drastic buzz though) I still wanted Em there in case, you know, they chopped a finger off or something. It just so happened that Em also wanted her fringe shortened and a ‘twist’ in her hair, so was happy to take me.
As we’d been out for the morning, and I was sweating a fair bit, I was worried my hair would be too dirty to clean. I always wash my hair at least an hour before getting it cut, so the prospect of getting it cut after a whole morning out was almost unthinkable, although Em assured me they would wash it beforehand.
And that they did. A guy came and put a dressing gown on me (with a 20 centimeter gap with my stomach hanging out) and proceeded to wash and massage my hair with nothing more than a 200ml bottle of water and some very frothy shampoo. Without wanting to overstress it, it was sheer pleasure. It I didn’t have my contacts in, I probably would have been sleeping after 30 seconds.
Next, I had my hair rinsed and prepared to have it cut (at another seat in the salon). The hairdresser came over and asked what I would like him to do with my hair. Well, I have no idea what he said to me, it was all in Chinese, but one would assume there isn’t a great deal more he would be asking me (it certainly wasn’t my number, he was way out of my league!).
Em came over and asked me what I wanted and we finally agreed that a 9mm buzz would be great. They hairdresser shaved with his electric razor with vigor and keep up a good conversation with me despite the fact that all I could answer with was ‘yes’, ‘ok’, and ‘I don’t know’ which consists of my entire Chinese vocabulary.
The end result was a standard short cut. Nothing fancy, bust certainly will make me feel a lot cooler this summer (or the next few weeks anyway).
Finally, when I was waiting for them to finish up with Em’s hair, they offered me a massage. I hesitated but Em told me it was free and that I should. Well durr. Of course I would!
Actually, the massage was more a beating of my head and stretching of my arms. I was hoping for something for the shoulders and neck, but they weren’t even touched. Still, why would you complain about that?
And how much was my hair cut you may ask? 25 yuan, or about $5 Australian dollars. Yes, you couldn’t even buy a dirty look for $5 in an Australian hairdressers!
All up, a very successful and enjoyable experience.