Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stranded in the Land of the Chinese Hair Women

As tends to happen, my parents and I went in to Chinatown today for lunch and the usual rounds. My Mom also needed a haircut, so I accompanied her to one of the many hair salons on Pell Street.

This was more than me being a dutiful son, as I, too, needed highlights and a haircut, because my roots were longer than my not-roots, and I'd already achieved my "mistaken for a woman" quota after that night at Whitlow's and an earnest "want to make friendship" e-mail from what I gather to be a Pakistani computer science student.

Why go to Chinatown to get your hair done? Try $55 (plus tip) for full highlights and a haircut, which is basically half-price. Why so cheap? Lower labor costs and extra-carcinogenic hair dyes (we pass the savings to you!).

Anyway, I wasn't the only non-local trying to catch a deal -- a few non-Asian heads passed through while I was there.

My dad wants me to get a crew cut. It looks like a better idea all the time.

Now, even though I'm well into my 30s, there are still a few times when I feel like a complete mama's boy -- and this was one of those times. This is because I was a triply-alienating environment:

1. I was in a hair salon, which is still more or less the exclusive domain of women (no matter how many male customers there are, or even if there is a more barber-ish side of the room)
2. While I'm in the chair, I don't have my glasses on, and thus can't see. When I can't see, I don't like to talk.
3. I'm surrounded by Chinese-speaking ladies. I don't speak Chinese.

Because of #1 and #2, getting my hair colored is, to me, more like a necessary medical procedure, rather than a cosmetic enhancement with social benefit. Add #3 and I'm completely out of my element.

I spent the next 3 hours in the chair. It's never taken that long before -- I guess it was a combination of: 1). Not sitting under the hair dryer to speed things up (net loss: 15 min.) and 2). Having to spend extra time painting all the gray hairs out (net loss: an hour or so. Dammit.)

The resulting haircut is pretty good; I probably went a shade too light (it looked darker in the book) and too short (my fault -- overreaction to the whole gender thing).


Becky said...

You are a brave brave man posting that photo. Hee hee! OK, I've seen a before, this is the during...where is the after???

Jamy said...

We demand an after photo!

Anonymous said...

That is probably the funniest photo I've ever seen of you! LOL.

And, yeah, after this excursion into the alien side of hair cuts? Go ahead -- post the after photo:)

p.s. -- I'd have thought you too young for grey hairs.

Anonymous said...

omg hilarious!!

yes, yes, we want an after.