Monday, 8 January 2007

Hair Cuts For All

This Sunday we did the ultimate in family bonding – went to a unisex saloon to get hair-cuts for all. My previous experiences with getting my hair cut have all been variously traumatic and kind of like jumping off a cliff. Would this be different? Could this be different?

Some history first. My hair is thick, black, and ultimately frizzy and curly. It was my grandfather’s suggestion that the only way to give it a semblance of order was to have its own weight pull it down. Previously it had tendencies to radiate out normal to the scalp in crazy ringlets. After growing it in length it started to somewhat behave itself. Especially after I got addicted to any and all forms of hair gels, and insisted on having it tied up in a low pony tail 24/7. Till date, no hair-dresser, male or female, has agreed to straighten my hair. Their argument has been that natural is in (it has been ‘in’ for like a long time then, through all kind of things like Afros, ironed hair, brown highlights and what not), though the truth is that no one has been up to the challenge of taming this mane of mine.

Previously, I have visited places where – (1) The very-pregnant Julian (2) The surly high school intern (3) The woman with garlic breath who also had curly hair and therefore hated me – have been allotted for my hair cuts. Julian could not see too well over the bump but did the best she could. Gave her a $2 tip. The high school intern experience made me grow out my hair for a looong time – like six months – before daring to go back for a cut. Being older, more street smart, and living in India made dealing with number (3) easy. I stopped going to that place altogether.

In between I have enjoyed months of relative comfort. In Harvard Square, I was happy with the completely bald man who cut my hair for $25, this despite the fact that he would not let me go short, insisting he could not get himself to chop such nice tresses (!) off. I had long layers then, and somehow managed to enjoy it. Too bad that the fellow has been recently charged with all nature of things – see this . I tell you, he was the only one who made the effort to like my hair (sob sob). And my hair liked him back too (sob sob). Recently, I have been broadly OK with the young girls who have been cutting my hair, although they got rid of the layers and did only straight cuts, insisting that its best suited for my hair. I always suspected that this just made their life easy but never said anything. Charged me Rs. 250-350 depending on their mood. My hair has been in bad shape though I could blame this on things like stress, tropical weather, and not taking care of it. Anyway, I liked the fact that on their aprons the name was written in a mirror image, so that when they cut our hair, we could read correctly in the mirror. Awesome!

Then, it turned out this Sunday that all three of us needed hair cuts. I thought, hey, we could all go together and make this a family event! Like others eat lunch out as family bonding time, we get our hair cut in the same place! FUN-tastic. My husband was all over this place he goes to, and I was tempted, looked all hep and all that. Red aprons, just like Kingfisher Airways, my favourite. Of course we could not go to my place where it said ‘Men Not Allowed’ in big black letters on the door.

So we waltzed in, and said HAIR CUTS. The husband was quickly whisked off to one chair and snip snip it started. I said, kid first, then me. A girl with hair the same colour as her skin scowled, put me in the hands of a shy looking guy and loped off. I had a sinking feeling. But concentrated on getting the kid the usual boy-cut. Holding her head. Asking her like a hundred times not to squirm in her seat. Making sure the small bits don’t get into her ear. Finally, she was done, and it was my turn!

Thankfully the scowling girl did not come back (I did NOT like her funny blonde hair), and the guy said I will cut your hair. I said OK, thinking, hey could be like my Harvard square fellow before he got charged with all sorts of things. I gave myself up to the pleasure of efficient male hands snipping away. Noticed that he spent a lot more time and actually measured and estimated and what not, unlike the other place where the girls just sort of wet my hair and chopped a block off. NICE, I am thinking. Then soon, too soon, he is done, and gives me spiel about head massage and dry hair and so on. I am smart now, I recognize attempts to make me spend more and take a rain check. Ta-Da I am all done! Feeling aerodynamic like crazy, just in time for the (half) marathon!

Smile on lips I thank shy guy and find the gang and we go off to pay. Rs. 665 they tell me. I am thinking, hmm sounds a bit high compared to what husband claims to pay. I ask for the split. Here is what it is:

Kid – Rs. 75

Husband - Rs. 90

Me – Rs. 500

WHAT? Can this be true? Is this happening to me?


Ludwig said...

> Anyway, I liked the fact that on
> their aprons the name was written
> in a mirror image, so that when
> they cut our hair, we could read
> correctly in the mirror.

Ooh. Goosebumps.

You're kidding about the Hvd Sq hairdresser, aren't you?

*sigh* You probably aren't. There's a sketchy place called Dente's in Davis Sq where I used to go. Hmm...

Most entertaining...

kbpm said...

My dear Ludwig-

Laterally Inversed is the term I was looking for there I think. But goosebumps it makes thats OK.

Not kidding about the hairdresser dude, wish I was.

Do you know the two streets called 'Arrow St.' and 'Bow St.' They were at 60 degrees to each other. How cute is that? Thats where this hair place was!

But now, enough of Cambridge, MA.