||It was time, I needed a haircut and a beard trim, but that
poses a problem in this country. Its not that there is a lack of
barbershops, or decent prices, but a problem in quality. The basic
Russian male haircut is refereed to as the ‘flat-head’ which is
not our flattop but more like a random assortment of very short hairs
going every direction.
At first I thought that hair care was not a male activity, but I’ve
seen too many types of shampoos and styling products here with a man on
the label. When winter started I thought it was the shopkas, the
large wool hats, that were messing up the hair. Hell, I get
horrible hathead from my fedora and fez. Only after watching the
other male PCV’s get haircuts and having three haircuts myself, did I
realise what the real problem is.
All the hairstylist were trained in the same school, by the same
person. This teacher must have beat anyone who didn’t cut hair as
short as physically possible with shears and a comb. It was really
odd to see some of the men who were a little thin to begin with, get a
haircut, and be close to tears at the sight of their scalp. As a
guy who’s had hair to the middle of my back, the scalping I receive
every time I get a haircut is just as shocking.
Yesterday I attempted another hair cutting experience. I took
an autobus to Zelenograd, where I used to live, to get a haircut by the
only woman in Russia I trust with my head. After a two hour trip,
I arrived to a locked door. The shop was closed for the holidays.
Agh! Closed for 10 days, so Russia! Abandoning that, I
took another bus back to Moscow. Arriving home, I went to the
salon across the street from my apartment. There, for 150 roubles,
about $25, I had a standard, super close cut. Now I didn’t mind
paying three times as much for my haircut as I would have in Zelenograd
for two reasons. First, I really wanted a haircut on Saturday, and
they were open. Second, I figure I will not need another haircut for at
least three months now.
If you are a competent and imaginative hairstylist, Russia needs you.
After you shave everyone bald to rid them of their current dead
animal haircut, you can start anew and give these men some style.
It was inevitable that the day would come that I would have to have
my first Russian hair cut. I had postponed the event as long as I could.
Over the last six months I have painstakingly addressed each detail of
our move to ensure a smooth transition. However, I realized there are
aspects of Russian life I simply would have to embrace.
For years I have regularly had my golden locks sheared every two
weeks. A ritual that I anxiously awaited as I felt is was my personal
renewal. When I married, Gailyn was surprised at the time and money
spent dedicated in my quest to secure the perfect hair cut. Regardless,
of the ridicule received from friends and family, nothing would stand
between me and my hair cut. So after much inquiry and debate I had
determined that the place for the perfect haircut in Moscow was the
I was assured that the staff was well trained, as they dealt with
wealthy international travelers with exacting standards. In addition, I
was told that while it was the most expensive , it was beyond compare
anywhere in the world. Well, I don’t think so!
To begin my ‘renewal’ I solicited the assistance of my
friend Wayan. Lesson number one, never ask a bohemian, pretty boy, ten
years your junior to assist in something so vain as a hair cut. This guy
was to serve as my interpreter. But I believe the Russian lass was more
interested in my young friend than the job at hand. I also think there
may have been a linguistics problem as I am sure it was not my intent to
sport a Caesar cut. A Caesar cut at the bargain price of a 1,000 rubles.
Well regardless, the damage was done and I had to hold my head high
and rejoin my wife and friends who had been patiently waiting for us in
the hotel’s restaurant. As I sat at the table my wife leaned over and
stated, ‘you look like a gay guy’. [Not that there ‘s anything
wrong with that] At which point, I immediately reached for my favorite
red baseball cap in a feeble attempt to cover my shame. ‘Do you
really think so?’ I said – oh yes! And of course I had to ask, a
lot gay or a little gay. [Not that there’s anything wrong with that]
The following day my wife and I purchased the ‘Babyliss 20 Piece
Haircutting Set’. The set cost far less than my Raddison Caesar
cut. While I may not be sure how well my hair will look in the future (I’ve
seen the new home-cut and thankfully hats are in this year, Wayan),
at least I will not have to fork over 1,000 rubles and I will take
solace knowing it will be my wife who make me looks gay. [Not that there
is anything wrong with that].