Saturday, June 1, 2013

At the Local Saloon

I've always hated having hair.  I remember being over obsessed with getting my stubbornly straight hair perfectly combed and gelled from later elementary school year and well into middle school before discovering blessing of a baseball cap to cover my hair.  By high school I basically gave up on my hair altogether and went with a mopish look.  Unless my hair grows to 80's rock star length I can't have any reasonable battle with the tuft of hair on my crown that insists on sticking straight up no matter which way I comb, push, or mash it.

For sixteen years now my solution has been electric clippers with the #1 guard to regularly chop everything down to 1/8".  In those sixteen years I think I visited a barber twice: once with H to show him how it was done and another time last spring when I was feeling my hair hit my ears while in Tbilisi, Georgia and didn't have my trustee clippers on hand. Otherwise it's been me, my clippers, and a fresh haircut every time I looked in the mirror and decided I was looking too much like a hedgehog again.

Selecting what to bring to India with just a few suitcases was a constant examination of size and weight.  Clippers carry some significant heft so I decided to leave them out (besides, my #1 guard had recently broken).  I'm also tired of cleaning up hair and the standard house brooms here in India would have made that an impossible task.

After arriving I kept an eye out for a good spot to get a haircut.  There is actually a "Men's Saloon" downstairs in the apartment complex.  At this point you may be visiting Google to decode the difference between the words "salon" and "saloon." Good luck. I've got no dog in the fight but do have fun with the idea of telling Nadia that I'm going to take H to the saloon so I'll stick with that for now.

Anyway, while the saloon downstairs would be convenient I thought I'd try the saloon down a small lane about 100 yards down the straight from our apartments gate.  We always peek down the interesting street with a small Hindu temple at the end and that is sometimes marked at the intersection with an electric swastika (a symbol that just means "to be good") and other Hindu images.  Just a bit before the temple is this:

Coming up on two months in India I decided to give it a try.  It was absolutely wonderful!  I walked in to find an IPL Cricket match replaying on the television, the air conditioning blasting, and a scruffy looking gentleman getting re-civilized with the help of a long straight edge razor.  To top it all off the haircut in line before me finished with the strangest, loudest, and most abusive head massage I could have ever imagined.

I was sold (who couldn't be at the price of 100 rupees...less then $2!)

I went short around the edges and long on top as I think I'm ready for grown-up hair now after sixteen years.  I then accepted the offer for the head massage which started with a generous dousing of coconut oil and then a series of slaps, squeezes, pops, twists, and tugs that walked the finest possible between relaxation and concussion.

I actually can't quite describe it so I took H along with me the next time.  He was in desperate need of a haircut himself and I was excited to go back for another haircut and head massage.  H acted as cameraman to document the sounds and images.  The whole video with eyebrow massage and finger knuckle popping was four minutes long so I decided to just show the hard hitting highlights:

Soundtrack is courtesy of the western pop music channel that they switched to for me.

1 comment:

  1. I want one of those haircuts and accompanying massages. A fun post.