Shampoo and a cut

I just got my hair cut for the first time since October.  I’m naturally uncomfortable with haircuts at salons.

My mother has always cut my hair with a few exceptions (generally with somewhat mixed results– having a cowlick on my forehead guaranteed bangs that were not straight after one comb out and that would diagonally edge up my forehead during our haircut sessions in the bathroom when I was a child.)   My first professional haircut was due to extremely grevious circumstances thanks to my younger brother, who would probably kill me if I related the entire tale here.  (Actually, I had to promise not to kill him when his guilt was revealed).  Suffice it to say, it was extremely necessary that I be seen to by a professional for the first time in my young life.  Though the tear-stains on my cheeks were barely dry, I was thrilled by the complimentary bubblegum ball and the feathering I got (It was the eighties, feathers were in.)

I ended up at an old-ladyish sort of salon right after college where they displayed a sufficient amount of horror at the chopping off of my mane which was probably down to the small of my back.   I didn’t dare to actually shave it all off as I intended, so I ended up looking as if I had a mushroom cap of hair.

Then I had a lovely session with all of the girls in our little area of town that summer who each got to take scissors to my head.  After chopping off the mushroom umbrella, and several inquiries to boys, I ended up on the stoop of our doorstep with the shaver that seemed to have been borrowed by half the boys in the group, with my roommate shaving my head into maybe a week’s length of stubble? (Not being a guy, I’m not exactly sure how much stubble there is by the end of a week…)  It was refreshingly liberating and actually made the cocktail party that night kind of fun for me.  I have a lot of cowlicks, so I had slightly darker patches every now and then.

My first Taiwanese haircut was when I joined my cousin to look presentable for my uncle’s funeral (a really depressing reason for a haircut).  I was in advanced neanderthal mode.  I have no memory of the resulting haircut, but I do remember feeling kind of uncomfortable with the rigorous thumping my head got during the shampoo.  My cousin treated me to shaved ice afterwards.

In October, I shadowed another one of my cousins for a day, and we ended up popping into a shop he frequents because we were in the area.  My hair was long, limp, heavy, and falling out in long strands onto my tile floor.  It was hot.  So, I got my hair snipped after he did, and I got something of a boyish cut.

Despite what this post may have you believe, I’m really not that vain about my hair….  Well, not anymore.  I used to mournfully regard it as my one beauty a la Jo March from Little Women.

However, it’s been getting in my eyes, and I’ve developed that one little curl in the middle of my forehead (which always makes me think of the nursery rhyme involving the little girl).  Also, as I let my kids take photographs for the up and coming yearbook, I saw some of their shots of me.  I had a Hermione reaction (though I cognitively know my hair is wonky and don’t really care, it’s another thing to see it and realize it may be preserved as the memorable image of me for my children into posterity) “Is that really what my hair looks like from the back?!”

So, after putting it off for months due to the fear of ending up looking like an eighties rocker (there is this definite eighties aesthetic amongst Taipei youth), and a certain debate about shaving it all off again for summer vacation, I finally went in with a bit of trepidation at my poor Chinese skills actually getting a cut that will allow me to grow my hair long again or not feel guilty for my ignorance of electric guitar.

Fortunately the shop I went to was quiet without the extremely foul smell of hair products.  We discussed it in my marginal Chinese for a bit, and then finally I was in the chair with the little razor scissors pulling at the hair on the nape of my neck, a slight scritching sound from the hair being severed.

I got the shampoo afterwards.  I lay down in the black leather recliner making half-hearted buzzing vibrations.  The head massage wasn’t as vigorous as the first one I remembered, and after washing my hair, she annointed my head with something tingly and cool that may have smelled faintly of eucalyptus.  It was pretty darn fantastic.  After my head cooled nicely, she wrapped it in warm towels, which were very soothing.  I may just end up becoming a hair salon junkie.

I had douhua with tapioca beads afterwards.

The stylist left enough on the top to grow out, and for my cowlick to do its work…  Yup, there’s the return of that little curl.


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Free Rice

April 2007
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