Nothing Like a Good Haircut

2000 > China

Smile as they give that intense scalp massage before your Chinese haircut

Now if she would only smile as she ripped out my hairs at the roots
Getting the scalp scrub
This must be where the up and coming yuppies go for a cut
This is the swank street-cut
I hope I am never this poor, or at least I'd have hairstyling friends
And the low-budget option

Today it was time. Time for me to
take my shaggy head in for my monthly haircut. Actually, I’ve had more fun
in the last year with my hair than I ever did before. When I was younger,
I hated getting a haircut so much, I grew my hair long, and as I was a
student and a surfer, no one
cared. My first real job changed all that, and I’ve been short haired ever

The countless number of haircuts
didn’t stop me from hating them, Russian winters did. Since I had to
wear a hat eight months of the year to stay alive, I didn’t have much
time to enjoy a hat-hair free style. That and the horrible
haircuts on the Russian men around me
gave me the freedom to experiment.

Once I started traveling, I got
into a rhythm that demanded I get a haircut in each country I visited. I
do have to say that haircuts in China are definitely the most labor
intensive, if not the most skillful, but you might be expecting that in a
land of 1.4 Billion.

Today, with Jingmei along to
photograph, I gots my third or fourth Chinese haircut. This time, skipping
the small and incredibly busy shop I usually go to downtown, I wandered to
a little place around the corner from where we live.

There, they first led me to a
washing station, but unlike the West, they wash your hair before your
haircut in a normal chair, not the bed & sink numbers you’re used to.
Sitting up straight, scared they’ll soak your clothes along with your
head, the first time is an experience. After you realize that they only
add enough water to get your hair wet, and that they’re constantly
massaging your scalp as they scrub, you begin to relax.

You can’t go to sleep
completely, though, cuz the cleaning is a bit rough, with good scalp
scrubbing and skull massage thrown in. Oh, you could opt for the full
head, neck, upper back, and arm-to-fingers massage if you want, but I’m
always jinxed by it. The times I’ve had such massages, I was too spaced
out to notice I was getting a bad cut till it was too late.

Once the scrubbing is done, they
put you in the sink to wash out the suds. I, following the custom I
experienced all over the world, put my back to the sink and started to
tilt my head over the sink. With laughter erupting around me, I quickly
realized something was a miss. Seems that here you face the sink and tilt
you head forward & over the rim. After that episode, it’s off to the
chair and the routine your familiar with.

What can shock you is either the
straight razor they use to clean those random back of the neck hairs or
the location of this whole process if you wanna save a few quai. Looking
at the photos on the left, you can see there are cheaper ways to have your
haircut, but do note it’s an electricity & running water free
environment, even if the scenery is more interesting.