Saturday, September 01, 2007

A cut above the rest

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?"

"Very 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.

"I'm sure."

"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.

"Girls, ah?"

"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.


qsg said...


qsg said...

Congratulations on your haircut! I am so paranoid, that I always stick with roughly the same hairdo, and don't cut it too I have decided to grow it longer...waist length! Hah!

Iday said...

haircut!!! i've seen salons in the US that say "$15 discount on haircut" and i've been wondering "if the discount works up to $15, how much must the haircut cost!!!"

still havent found the courage to go and check out!!!

Adorable Pancreas said...

My hair has been pretty long for a long time now, so no bad haircut experiences for me, but my friends tell me horror stories. Congrats on finding a solution.

Adorable Pancreas said...

Oh, forgot to mention it. I like your writing. :)
May I blogroll you?

Sreejith said...

so much hair raising drama for a hair cut! I love it! :D I have pretty long hair but have never mustered enough courage to walk into the girls saloon. Your post might just help me :)

bellydancer said...

Woah can't wait to see your new hair on Monday! :D

shub said...

hooooooly cow! I read too fast and for a while there thought the guy giving you a haircut was drunk! Until I read "and she proceeded to cut his hair" I went whaaa?! He was cutting your hair and she started off on his?! :O Then it dawned on me! Phew.

(No, I've not been drinking. God Promise!)

Ooookay. Gotta see haircut! Meet up next week!

Ijji said...

hiii..the only place i feel relaxd gettin a haircut is i totally knw how u feel... living in india i dont hav to go fr such exprimnts(thnk god)..bravo girl!!!

Kroopa Shah (Kr00pz) said...

Put up a picture :-)

Sukhaloka said...

oooh I agree I agree I agree!

The best haircuts I've had are from cheap neighbourhood "parlours" where the women actually have a chat with me about my hair, and then understand that all I want is to get split ends out of the way or keep it in shape! :P . And my most expensive haircut cost me three times my usual and eight inches off my then waist-length hair. Grrr... I never forgave them for that!

kashika said...

i am never ever satisfied by whatever hair cut i get. everytime after a hair cut i sulk for days because i think tht the lady in the parlour has cut my oh-so-precious-but-totally-unmanageable-hair too short. eventually they grow and its the same sad story all over again.
i've been trying to grow my hair since years but fail miserably every single time.

Kay said...

VLCC huh?Thanks Sash Bhai,ur post came up just when I was thinking where shd I go next-haircut due big time!!So maybe I ought to check out VLCC.Erm,no photo??

sd said...

"Short. How short?"

"Very short."

"Until shoulders?" He asked.


"Shorter than that?? Are you sure??"

Bhai, that was so like a scene in "Roman Holiday" !!:) Hehe! -- If you haven't seen the movie, you must. Perhaps, Viv and you went out that evening for the Ball by the sea...

Sayesha said...

Waist-length???? :O PHOTOS!!! :D

Hahahahaha! So did you find out how much the haircut itself costs? :D

#Adorable Pancreas,
Thanks! :)
ps: Yes, I'd be honoured to be blogrolled. :)
pps: Interesting nickname. :P

Hahaha! Do it do it do it! Tell me how it goes! If they don't kick you out, that is! :P

Whoa! My hair's feeling the pressure already! :P

Bewdi! Lagta hai apne pasta mein zyada chilli sauce daal diya! :P
Yeah let's meet up this week! :)

Lucky you! I'm not too sure about all VLCC branches but the one in Delhi where Rani works is awesome! They have a pedicurist called Raja and a hair stylist called Rani! :)

Hehe... nice try. You wanna point and laugh, don't ya? :P

Eight inches off??????? :O :O :O

//everytime after a hair cut i sulk for days because i think tht the lady in the parlour has cut my oh-so-precious-but-totally-unmanageable-hair too short. eventually they grow and its the same sad story all over again.

OH MAN! Story of my life! :/

//i've been trying to grow my hair since years but fail miserably every single time.

Meeee tooooooo!!!!!! Okay we're soul sisters I think! :D

Lucky you!!!! Do you live in Delhi? Tell Rani she rocks! :)

Okay I am totally lost! Gotta watch the movie to find out what you talkin' about. :)

Sakshi said...

Sayesha - Feel your pain! Since I dread haircuts for the same reason - curly hair which no one seems to know how to cut.

but we demand before and after pics!

kashika said...

OMG sayesha, i thought i was the only one facing hair disasters. Thank God i have company.

ur soul sister

Anusha said...

You cut your hair?! To a length above your shoulders?! And this is how you let me know?! :O :O :O I wanna seeeeeeeeeeee! I love how you look with short hair! :D

soleil said...

Cool! I can't wait to see your new haircut! I always get my hair cut in JB where it's way cheaper than Singapore. I even get student discount! :p Speaking of which, I also need a hair cut. This weekend it will be! :D

Clueless always gives me The Look when I complain of bad hair days cos she says her hair is totally more unruly than mine but I like her curls!

Just Jane said...

you went to a guy's hair saloon??? :O

youtham said...

golden words have to be carved

"find something that's your style"

i lik it

Angelsera said...

sigh! Curly hair and Sporean stylists...two things that jus dun seem to go with each other..
I can sooo understan your feelings girl. I ve nvr gone for expensive haircuts (anything over $30) except once and he screwed it up too..
way to go girl!

Ab said...

but if yr gonna have bean playing in front of you, how on earth can any barber get yr head still?

and to think a hair cut(th sada one) here costs just 30 rs... yr barber there ought not to complain!

Tejal said...

sigh. i totally relate with u. i've got straight hair that suddenly curls at the ends. sort of a cross between the straight n curly breed. baah.
i got my worst haircut from Habibs wen i asked the person to gimme a lil short cut but the dude ended up cuttin my shoulder length hair to boy cut 'design'. :(( ..i cried for two whole days thinkin how i wud face my classmates. And laugh, they did. *horrid memory*

Unknown said...

Ended off real nicely. I agree with ya totally to that :)

Btw, I demand PIC! :D

Sayesha said...

Oh the nerve! To ask me for the picture! Abbe I've been asking you for a pic for like a year now, and what do I get? Pathetic thumbnail where your face is a dot! Hmmph! :/


*hangs head in shame*
Sorryyyy! :O It happened so suddenly! Before I knew it! Even my colleagues today were like "But you never even mentioned anything about wanting a haircut!" Luckily, everyone likes it so far. Will show you this weekend! :)

//Clueless always gives me The Look when I complain of bad hair days

*gives Soleil THE LOOK*
*gives Soleil another LOOK on Clueless' behalf*

YEAH BABAY! Do I rock or what? :D
ps: It's not a guy's salon re... it's supposed to be unisex and all, but I'm the only female client who's in the two-digit age range. :D

Hiiiii! Welcome back! Where have you been man??? :)

Hehehe... your new cut is pretty short, where did you get that done? :)

//but if yr gonna have bean playing in front of you, how on earth can any barber get yr head still?

Hmmmph! You think I am naagin???
*hisssssssssssssss* :/

Tell me about the sudden curls at the end! Actually I loved the curls but it was getting too damn curly. :(

//i got my worst haircut from Habibs wen i asked the person to gimme a lil short cut but the dude ended up cuttin my shoulder length hair to boy cut 'design'.

Exactly! The fancy places wash your hair and blow dry it na, so it looks longer, but when it curls up naturally a couple of hours later, it looks ridiculously short! Kuchh nahin aata in logon ko! :/

Hehehe... okie will take some pics this weekend and send. :)

sujatha said...

Syesh... pics man..!!! Cant wait for the result after all that drama...

satish said...

kool bhai.

by the way, i am totally impressed with the sd's observation. Roman Holiday is somewher at the top in my long list of fav movies and i am tempted to give the full description of the scene that sd talked about. anyway, you sud watch it for yourself.

The part was elegantly played by
audrey hepburn, and i can totally see u in her place.

GuNs said...

So how about photographs of Editor in new hairstyle?


Dreamcatcher said...

I need to go to this place. Everytime they cut my hair it looks great, then it starts to grow and curls uncontrollably at the bottom. And aaaargggh nothing is more hateful than that.

Bivas said...

Roman Holiday Nahi Dekha!!! :-O
watch it!
wonderful movie :-)

Sandip Chaudhuri said...

Finally I managed to get a haircut here which does not look like a cut one would give to a four year old child.
I did not visit the saloon since I last visited India in November so that i wouldn't have to undergo the torture of looking like a caricature. However one has to make compromises when one catches a cold. A head-full of wet hair is not good while traveling via MRT.

Sayesha said...

Hehehe... everyone wants pics so they can point and laugh! Waaaa! :'(

//The part was elegantly played by
audrey hepburn, and i can totally see u in her place.

Ok now I HAVE to watch it! Muahaha! :D

Sheesh! Et tu? No photos of the Bhai's new disguise! Pulis peechhe padi hai! :D

I can so understand! :|

Okay okay I will borrow the DVD! :D

Hahahahahaha! :D

Trenting said...

I have searched 2 years for someone that can actually cut and coif my hair correctly, still searching!

Angelsera said...

I went to my neighbourhood "aunty" and told her to cut it really short and not to thin my hair :)
cost me less than $15

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

My hair cut is due for the last 2 months .. I'm on a holiday and never bothered to remember thanks for this post...

Nice blog you have girl..Can i add you to my regular reads?

Sudeep said...

i hope the cuttingwala took a pic of urs n pinned it on his wall.. like they have male models with the weirdest hairstyles

there are many (x10) things u gals can learn frm us guys :p
*silently slips away frm the bar b4 bhai catches up*

bint battuta said...

love your blog! and i totally agree, expensive haircuts just ain't worth it...

Sayesha said...

May the search end soon! :)
ps: welcome to the bar!

Cool! :)

Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting! I'd be honoured to be on your blogroll. :)

Muahahaha! That's a brilliant idea! Next time I go there, I'll ask him to do that! Ahahahaha! :D

#Bint battuta,
Welcome, and thanks for commenting! :)

Struggler said...

we do underrate them even tho its more difficlt and it needs to be more perfect for guys..gals can make a diff hairstyle with a shoulder length hair and make a cut look better but guys dont have that option..its all there on the face and no one can change it till next cut!!

Shanks_P said...

To get a good hair cut in any foreign country is a big questoin. Recently my hair was trimmed to a level like some one had run over an industrial grass cuttter over my head ....and they charged a filthy 25$ for that .....
this time the villian was a famous hair cuter Karima .....

Unknown said...

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