Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Difference Between A Good Haircut...

...and a bad one is around 2 weeks. You get a bad haircut in London and you're mortified: you have to get home, and people are going to see you. Unless you live in Shoreditch, where people look like they cut their own hair; either that, or Stevie Wonder did it with a knife and fork. The worst haircut I ever had was at a Turkish barbers in Dalston (I should have known better). It was so bad I had to shave my head afterwards.

But when you travel, you get what you're given. Pigeon English isn't good for communicating how you want your wig adjusting. I've learned to sit back and hope for the best. And a couple of quid isn't too bad, considering you could bung Toni & Guy forty quid and end up as physically badly off.

I wandered down a narrow alley off Jaksa, after thoughtfully rubbing my stubbly chin and squinting at the list of services on offer at this local salon. Haircut and a shave for a couple of quid? Count me in. You can't beat a good wet shave. So I settled myself down in the chair, and the owner sauntered over. "Shave please?" I frowned in a certain degree of puzzlement when she simply wet her hands and rubbed them on my face. A solitary eyebrow was raised further at her when she produced a bottle of Dove moisturiser and began massaging this liquid around my chin. Needless to say, there was no lather produced. It was when the BIC disposable razor was produced that I started to giggle. Surely she wasn't serious? My giggling was obviously infectious, as she started laughing, too. Her English was so limited that I couldn't communicate anything at all to her about what I found so funny. I tried not to laugh as she began, as I didn't fancy my throat being cut just yet. And I suspected we were laughing for completely different reasons, initially. But it was just so funny, I could only wonder how the haircut was going to go. Miraculously I got away with no cuts at all, but there were so many areas she missed that I knew I'd have to finish it off at home.

Next I tried to explain that I just wanted my hair thinning out, as it grows so quick, and was surprised when she motioned that she understood. She started cutting into it, and I started laughing again. In a salon at home, her attempts would have been cause for major alarm; but she was laughing, too...and I think we both understood the reasons for our mutual mirth. Vidal Sassoon would have been horrified. Clumps of hair were flying, but it was such a surreal and amusing experience that I decided I'd just sit back and enjoy the ride.

I didn't look too butchered after she desisted...it'd grow back over the next few weeks, anyway. I got up and paid, and the giggles broke out again as she thanked me for the cash (I even tipped her a little) and said "Thank you, mister. See you next time." Probably not, but an amusing half hour. And a nice cup of tea, too.

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