Sep 7, 2004

Haircuts as a kid

When I was younger, from nine years to about eleven years old, we used to live in Dubai, in a part of town called Deira. I was pretty happy there, for the most part. At that time I really liked going for my haircuts. My father and I would go for a walk to the barbershop, which was moderately close. Maybe sometimes we'd take the car.

So I would sit in the barbershop, which was spotlessly clean, and cool and dry, and have the accoutrements of the haircut put on me. First came the universal inner towel and white cloak. Then, unique (as far as I could tell) to this barbershop, one of the Filipino barbers, they were young chaps, would roll out some length of plasticky cloth, cut it off at the end, and wind it around my neck, holding up the white cloak. This was probably to make sure no hair fell in through the cracks.

Then would commence the snip, snip, snippety-snip. And voila, we were done. I think once or twice after a cut, we would go to a nearby public library, which to my great regret I didn't spend more time in.

Later, we moved to Sharjah [Sharjah and Dubai are cities in the United Arab Emirates]. So I actually became a teenager growing up in Sharjah. But anyway, when I was still a pre-teen, by that time I was trying to throw off the tyrannical yoke of my mother and her enforced mushroom cut. She thought it was cute, but by that time I had developed enough sentience to realise it was ghastly. OK, it was really more suited to the Western or Filipino kids, but by then I couldn't really pass for either, so I decided the best cut for me would be a fully natural cut -- in other words, just let it grow however it will, and trim it if it starts getting uncomfortable. And to this day I've kept to that style.

So anyway, back then, I was this kid in Sharjah, trying to outgrow, literally, my mushroom cut. And there were a couple of barbershops pretty close to my place. In fact, probably there was one in the next building. Finally, shortly before I turned twelve, I managed to get there alone and gave strict instructions to have it cut evenly. I was quite pleased with the result, but my mother was noncommittal at best.

Still later, we had moved to another house in Sharjah, on another street. And there was another barbershop on this street, and I used to get my haircuts there from then on. This one had nice black leather chairs -- rather like I car's, I thought. Once, on my way to the place, I popped open and started drinking a bottle of Pepsi. Then when I got there, I had to wait while the barber was finishing with another customer. In an accident, I clumsily tipped the bottle of Pepsi and it spilled. Now what I should have done was let it all spill onto my lap, because I was sitting in a leather chair. And I knew that. But in a reflex action, I had opened my lap, and most of the Pepsi went on the leather.

The barber was mad. He went nuclear, really. He was a youngish (well, late thirties) Iranian guy, and he had a temper. He started yelling at me. Luckily my father showed up and it was exit, stage left. And no haircut that night. And I didn't go back there for some time, for good measure.

Actually the one thing I appreciate about those haircuts is I got into the habit of getting a standard `medium-length' cut which just about any barber can do, so it doesn't take me long to describe what I want when I have to go to a new barbershop. And that's great because I hate describing how I want my hair cut.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh, that previous comment on you faith post was me (nadia), anyway, i like this post, it's amusing. my brother had a mushroom cut and it was terrible, he finally rid of it though in the 5th or 6th grade :]