The Haircut

Life in Shanghai is very strange, but we adapt.  I am so used to being able to anything by myself and now we find ourselves having to depend upon the kindness of others (often strangers).  Mankind is doing well, as I am rarely disappointed in the support we get from our friends and the strangers we meet daily.  When I woke up today and looked in the mirror, I realized I was over due for a haircut.  Kim and I pass a place on our daily jaunts around Shanghai and so I decided it looked clean, all of the people who came out looked pretty good and they had a ton of people who worked in the place,  I figured how could I go wrong?  I asked one of the teachers to write in Chinese characters how I wanted my haircut.  I was so petrified I might be given the “Bowl Cut” and end up looking like the Evil Queen’s brother in Snow White and the Huntsman.  With piece of paper in hand I entered the shop and noticed most of the people working there were quite young.  This was indeed a positive sign as many young people speak English well.  Sadly no one there spoke English but I was prepared  with my piece of paper. I had learned a long time ago, it’s a pretty good idea to ask the price before you commit I asked for Mei Dan (the bill) and they brought me a calculator to show me a haircut was going to cost me about $6.60.  This seemed entirely reasonable so I sat down.  Now I wasn’t expecting a shampoo with my haircut, but the moment I sat down the shampoo girl started spraying some sort of liquid into my hair.  In seconds foamy shampoo appeared and then the magic started!  She shampooed my hair and massaged my scalp for over 20 minutes.  This included the deep scalp scratching with her nails to rid my hair of any dandruff and relaxing temple massage to ease away the day’s tension.  Then I was invited to move to the sink area while my hair was rinsed.  Another five minutes passed while warm water accompanied a massage like rinsing of my hair.  With clean hair we returned back to the chair and I was ready for my hair cut.  But wait… It seems that I wasn’t quite relaxed enough, so the shampoo girl started to massage my neck, shoulders, and shoulder blades.  Once again everything from the deep thumbs hitting those tension spots, gentle tickle across the neck and the pounding hits to get you ready for the next round.  All of it felt wonderful.  Shampoo girl then got up and I thought here we go, Haircut time.  But no.  What’s this? She moved her chair right next to me facing the opposite direction and started a shoulder and arm rub, that eventually lead to one of the most relaxing hand massages I have ever had.  The whole time she was doing this I kept thinking.  OMG I have two arms.  She is going to have to do the other side as well.  Ten minutes lated she switched sides and now my right hand and arm were enjoying the pleasure of her magic fingers.  When that ended I realized Shampoo girl was getting up and her magic fingers were going with her.  She left and within a minute she returned with a large towel.  It’s haircut time now, I thought, but wrong again.  The towel was folded into a pillow and she proceeded to have me lean forward onto the table in front of me so she could proceed to massage from my neck and shoulders all the way to my lower back.  About 45 minutes had passed and I am pretty much a bowl of warm melted butter, when Shampoo Girl left for good and a young fellow appeared and proceeded to cut my hair.  He had the smallest amount of English and we proceeded to talk and laugh together.  Me using what little Chinese I had and him making comments to his friends about who knows what.  It’s strange, he might have been laughing behind my back at how terrible my accent was or how stupid Canadians were.  I knew how to tell him I was Canadian.  But that’s not the feeling I ever got.  It just felt like two long lost friends got together and were having a good laugh while others came and joined in the fun! He proceeded to cut my hair while I pretended to order food from a restaurant or tell the taxi how to get to certain places. By the time the haircut was well under way, I realized that I was the main attraction at the shop.  Even the old lady who sat next to me playing a video game on her cell phone was smiling and had her phone put away.  Just as quickly as he started he held his hands up in the air.  I gave him a thumbs up and a “Hen How”  (very good) and proceeded to pay my $6.60.  When I got home, I asked KIm how she liked my haircut.  She said it looked pretty good  but the top was still a little too long.  I immediately went to the mirror to check it out. When I looked, she was right.  My hair was still a little too long.  You know God does not give us problems, he gives us opportunities. Guess who is going back next week for another haircut. 


2 comments on “The Haircut

  1. I think I would be going back every week just to get the massage as well. What a fun experience!

  2. Sounds lovely, I would love a haircut like that! Loving the blog updates, keep them up!

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