Friday, March 31, 2006

I want the hair cut short, but I don’t want it to spike!

This is a post from one of my earlier blogs. Till this day I hate getting a haircut and I try to avoid it as far as possible!

I want the hair cut short, but I don’t want it to spike!
May 21, 2005

So everybody procrastinates. Its human nature right? There is something inherent in the human psyche that makes them avoid doing something they hate for as long as they can. I believe that everybody has at least one thing that they always procrastinate. And with me, that thing is going for a haircut.

Right now I am looking like a Gujju film hero, who has thick side locks. I am a couple of days away from looking like Bobby Deol in Barsaat. It used to take me about 30 seconds to comb my hair every morning. Now it takes just about 30 seconds less than the time my wife takes to comb her hair. Every morning I get the “go-get-a-haircut” look from my boss. But still I don’t go. Why? Because I hate going for a haircut.

Back home in India, a haircut meant short trip to the local hair cutting salon. I enter the place, the barbers see me and then I sit around, waiting for my turn, reading old editions of FilmFare or CineBlitz. Within 10 minutes, my favorite barber after finishing whatever he was doing came and seated me on his chair, I asked him his haal-chal and he starts snipping. If you were one of those people who are really fastidious about their hair, you gave a brief 30 second explanation to the barber about how you wanted it to be. In any case 15 minutes later you are done. And every single time it was exactly the way I wanted it to be. It’s that simple. Outline of haircut in India:

* Walk into salon
* Read old filmy magazines for few minutes.
* Have a 10 minute haircut.
* Leave with cool haircut.

But now, when I walk into a hair salon here, I have this silly sign-up sheet greeting me. Why the hell do I have to sign-up for a haircut? Other than the one woman who was already waiting when I entered, I am the only person there. Is it so difficult to remember “American woman first, Indian good-looking man second”? Then as I uncomfortably wait (I hate unisex salons) for my turn, I wonder “why the hell do they have a place with 20 barber’s chair (the one in which you sit on) when at any time there are only 3 barbers”.
When my turn finally comes I explain
Me: “I want the hair cut short, but I don’t want it to spike. And please use scissors.”
Barber: “Ok. So a short spike?”
Me: “No Short hair but noooo (with head going from side to side) spike. I don’t want the hair to stand.”
(I cannot remember the number of times this has happened. Earlier I used to use the number system. But you know how bad they are with numbers. So I abandoned that strategy very quickly.)

Then the barber (invariably a women) picks up the hair trimmer and is about to start, when I say,
Me: “I want you to use scissors”
Barber: “Oh.. sorry I though you said don’t use scissors”
(You see after my first couple of haircuts in the US, I learnt that a hair trimmer is a weapon of mass destruction with which a barber can ruin your hair before you can even realize what that whirring sound near your ears is.)
As the scissors start snipping, she says,
B: “The weather’s so wonderful today, and it’s so pleasant outside”.
Why, why the weather. I fail to understand this incessant need the people of this country have about discussing the weather. And it always starts with the weather and ends up with a discussion about arranged marriage. So I’ve learnt not to encourage this conversation further. So all I say is, “Yeah”

Then after 20 minutes of intense hair cutting in which the barber uses scissors of many different shapes and sizes, she announces that she is done. The haircut is a disaster. At some places the hair is spiking up. And at some places the hair is too long. Basically I will be the subject of a lot of jokes and comments over the next few days. Earlier I used to panic but I am used to it by now. All I do is remind her that she’s yet to trim my side burns. Invariably no-one ever knows how to trim side locks using scissors and so out come the hair trimmers. What I write about next also happens without fails, always. First she’ll trim my left burn. Then the right one. Then she’ll check to see whether they are level. They are never at the same level. So the next 10 minutes are spent trying to level two side burns. Interesting that 9000 miles away, the same activity barely takes 60 seconds. But after the side burn fiasco, my happiness level is at a new high. I’m done with a haircut. I don’t even have to think about another one for the next 40 days or so. I pay the same amount of money with which I could buy one week’s groceries, then pay some more as tip and leave.

So here’s the outline of a haircut in the US:
* Sign up for a hair-cut
* Nothing to read while waiting.
* Explain and re-explain to the barber about the type of haircut I want.
* Explain it once again.
* Discuss for the nth time today, the weather.
* Excruciatingly slow 20 minute haircut.
* Even slower side burn trimming
* End result: Disastrous expensive hair cut.


kunal bhatia said...

lol... lovely post. never thought comparing the indian and the us process would make such a funny read

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