After dreading for a couple of weeks to go to a barber, I finally asked around and got a recommendation for a shop place nearby. A colleague who gave it to me has even offered to take me there today and translate my requirements. I refused at first, saying that I need to download a picture of a “beautiful me” to a camera, but then, what the heck, I decided to be adventurous and agreed to go right away. Mistake.
The place looked posh and their Y28 for a haircut was really more than a Y10 you would pay in a hutong. My friend translated my simple asks of “the same thing, as it was 2 months ago”, and as he was just about to leave me one-on-one with a herd of hungry hair-slaughters (stylists, I know), I asked him to give a reference length I remembered from US’s Great Clips: “start with number 5”. Mistake.
- The shampoo I brought will probably last me till it’s time to go back.
- Washing the head now take twice as less time as washing the hands.
- I make people smile. I seriously do.
- “What happened” or “What did they do to you” will be a common start of any conversation.
- I’m well-prepared for an oppressively hot Beijing summer.
- This incident made me finally publish this blog. Dammit.
- Now my eyebrows are the longest hair on the head and that just looks weird. No, I’m keeping them.
- I suspect myself in a robbery every time I look in a mirror.
- I look better on a passport picture.
- I now have one more body part to sunburn.
And of course, being a bore, I’ll end with “lessons learned”:
- A good picture of yourself ensures your success more than a Chinese-speaking friend who doesn’t stay throughout the entire process.
- Do not mention a trimmer to them, even as a length reference, or that’s all they would end up using.
- If in US, “Great clips” filed “start with number 5” for you, and you say that in China, you would end up with the same hair style that I did. For whatever reason, the numbering system used in US is not millimeters.
- Yes, knowing Mandarin improves the quality of life and in this case, appeal.
- Being in a country without knowing the language, set your humor to high and expectations to low.