First Thai Haircut
I have always been paranoid about my hair. It started as a child with my mother cutting my hair. The dreaded "bowl" cut that I hated. As I grew up in the 60's, long hair saved me except that barbers of the day did not like the style. Zip-snip…that electric razor trimmed the hair to the scalp around the ears. We called them "whitewalls" in the summer. Yes, you wouldn't be caught dead with short hair then….I hated barbers, never trusted them.
But times change and you can wear your hair any way now. Coming to a tropical climate in Thailand I had my hair cut very short before leaving Canada and I liked it.
I was an English teacher at a high school. I adjusted pretty well to the new setting, living in the dormitory, eating Thai food, enjoying the students. After a month or so I realized I had an approaching problem. I was in need of a haircut and I didn't speak Thai.
I would go to the Central Mall at Pink Lao and see several stylsts. They lounged at the front of their shop and would call out to me…but I am very shy. I felt overwhelmed by the attention…very nervous. Outside the gates of the school there is a small strip mall with what looked like a uni-sex hair salon. At least it looked that way. Men's pictures were in the window. I'd walk by every day but I saw only women getting their hair cut…never any men.
Finally, I could wait no longer. I took a visa picture with me in shorter hair for reference and set out for the shop. I should point out that I am a pretty big farang at 6 foot 4 inches, 230 lbs. No customers were in the shop as I opened the door. There were three girls at the back and they immediately start to laugh. All right, I made a mistake…this must be a ladies salon after all. I smile and start to back out the door but one of the girls steps forward motioning me to a chair. I sit down, facing the mirror not very comfortable at all. There is a lot of discussion and laughter behind me but none of the girls approach me to do my hair. What the F#@% is going on!
After 10 minutes a tall girl about 17 years old walks into the room from the back. Hahaha…I laugh to myself they were trying to decide who was going to shear this monster. The other girls were only 5'2" and couldn't reach much past my ears in this chair. I smile weakly and hand her the picture. She looks at it and then says one word…."Shampoo?" Yeah! Sure I'd like a shampoo so off we go into the tiny back room. I lie back in the reclining chair, my legs struggling to find somewhere to rest. She pours water over my scalp and proceeds to massage in a wonderful smelling shampoo……ahhhh, a scalp massage to die for. Her firm fingers work into my scalp, rinse, then another shampoo with a different scent…and another treatment….man, this is heaven! My eyes closed, drifting, headache and tension evaporate and ten minutes later she wraps a towel over my head and lifts my head….
I stroll past the giggling threesome with my turbaned head and settle into the chair before the mirror. She looks at my picture one more time, grabs an electric razor and in one motion she takes a swath from the nape of my neck to my forehead….Yikes!!! Well I am committed now…I hope you know what you are doing, girl!!! She deftly cuts my hair and 15 minutes I am the proud owner of the best haircut I have had in ages. So balanced, looks great….I-Feel-GREAT!
Time to pay the bill, so I get up and go back to the giggling threesome. I wonder how much this will cost? She hands me the bill….1200 baht! Well I'd expect to pay something like that back home in a nice salon…guess I should have asked for the price first, my mistake. But the experience was worth it, I suppose. I luckily had 1500 Baht on my and proceeded to remove a 500 baht note to gales of laughter. She takes the bill from me and points out the decimal point…it is 120.0 Baht. I laugh too….stupid farang!! They follow me to the door still laughing and I wave goodbye.
I stopped by that shop several times during my stay…the same great service and cut…Damn, I miss that place now 🙂
There's plenty of funny haircut stories around Thailand involving farangs, that's for sure.