Finally I shrugged my shoulders and accepted it.
I will never have the haircut that Rani of VLCC gave me a couple of years ago. Flying back to Delhi for that haircut wasn't a very economical solution, and after a couple of very bad experiences, I had decided that Singapore stylists just can't cut my hair. At the end of a haircut that costs 45 dollars (yeah, I don't go for the 200-dollar cuts, though I am ashamed to say that I know people who do) at the minimum on a simple cut, if you come out looking like a scarecrow, something's wrong somewhere. It's not like I'm the only person in Singapore who has curly hair - and yet, somehow, the stylists here, perhaps used to the rod-straight typical Singaporean hair - just can't seem to do anything to get it under control. So about a year ago, I decided - no more cuts. I will let my hair grow wild and perhaps it will give up and sort itself out.
However, lately, it had been at its most adolescent behaviour, and I knew it was time to chop-chop. It was too long, too curly, and too damn irritating. To the point where I knew some of it had to go, and I did not care at whose hands they did. But I did know that I did not want to go back to Alan at Reds or any such place.
So I did the most daring thing that I've ever known any fashion-conscious girl to do.
I decided to get my hair cut by this Chinese guy who cuts Viv's hair.
I realised that after all my expensive misadventures at pretentious salons, I was ready for a cheap misadventure. At most, I would end up with an okay cut.
Before I could freak out and change my mind, I landed at the salon with Viv, where his haircut guy completely ignored me, thinking I was one of the girls who accompany their guys when they go for cuts.
"I'm the one." I said, in true matrix-y style.
"You want a haircut?" He asked, puzzled.
So he sat me down on one of the seats, each of which had a personalised mini screen playing Mr. Bean the cartoon, without any sound.
"Trim?" He asked.
"No, cut. Cut short."
"Short. How short?"
"Until shoulders?" He asked.
"Shorter than that?? Are you sure??"
This was a first. I have never had a stylist ask me if I was sure. They always seemed sure that they understood what I wanted. Sadly, they did not. And here was a guy who seemed as unsure about this whole deal as I was. Excellent. I felt right at home.
"But you will lose all the curls at the end... natural curls you know..." he said as if natural curls are a real rare species. But then, perhaps in Singapore they are.
"Don't worry, the ends will curl up again."
"Hmmm... how long you never cut your hair?" he said in typical Singlish.
"Cut or trim?"
"Errmm... I don't know... maybe a year?"
"One year you never cut your hair??" He seemed shocked.
I wanted to say, "Dude, I'm a girl. It's okay if we don't cut our hair for a year."
Anyway, he started. No muss. No fuss. No shampoo. No neck massage. No conditioner. No spritzing of water. No blow-drying. None of the nonsense that makes your hair look like a million dollars as you step out of the salon, but thirteen minutes later -- welcome to scarecrow central.
But this was real. What you see is what you get. I liked it.
And he started cutting. While cutting, he accidentally dropped the scissors. I watched him pick it up and put it in what I thought was a microwave oven, but found out that it was actually a steriliser. Whoa.
While I was getting my hair cut, another guy staggered in for a trim. The girl who was attending to him made him sit and asked, "Are you sure you want a haircut? You're drunk, right?"
How rude! I thought and turned to look at the guy's reaction at the accusation.
Holy cow. The guy really was drunk. Ahem. I gave Viv the "This is your haircut place?" look but he was deeply engrossed in the magazine which normally I'd find myself reading when he got his haircut.
"Yes." said drunk guy.
"Okay, how many fingers?" asked the girl. No cheekiness. She looked serious.
The drunk guy looked at her three raised fingers in the mirror and said, "Two."
"Okay, how many drinks did you have?" She asked.
"Three beers, one whiskey... one..." The guy mumbled something.
"Don't worry, we Filipinos can really drink." He said.
And then she started cutting his hair as if having a drunk customer on a saturday night was totally normal, while I gaped at my drunk co-customer.
"You boyfriend doesn't want cut?" I was distracted by my haircut guy.
"No, his isn't due yet."
"Haven't seen him in a while." He remarked.
"Don't worry, he'll be here soon. He always gets his hair cut by you. You always give him a great cut. Actually that's why I decided to come to you. I am sick of the fancy salons."
In the mirror in front of me, I saw the guy smile. I wondered if anyone ever complimented him on his haircut skills.
"So do girls ever come here for a cut?" I asked.
"Yeah. Not for a trim, but a cut?"
"Hmmm... some do... sometimes..." He said, and before I could go "Phew!" he added, "The little children."
I gulped. The little children??? I was the first female adult there?
Gulp. Well, there was no backing off now. I looked at the floor. My wild tresses that had once perched on my wild head were on the floor, and my head felt lighter. Ah well.
After he was done, he vacuumed my hair. Yes, he literally vacuumed out the little bits of hair from my hair and neck with a small vacuum cleaner attached to the wall.
"Okay!" He announced the end.
I gathered the courage to look at my hair. It looked fine. No wait, it looked good. Pretty darn good in fact. I was happy, and nothing else mattered.
And that's when it struck me how overrated girls' expensive haircut guys are and how way way underrated guys' cheap haircut guys are. I guess designer haircuts are like designer clothes. They may seem 'safe' just because of their atrocious pricetags or because everyone 'cool' has got one, but the hard truth is - they don't look good on everyone. The important thing is to find something that's your style, and not get too bothered about the price.
Even if it looks too cheap to be true.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Finally I shrugged my shoulders and accepted it.