Friday, March 1, 2013

The Hair Cut of the Century

One day last week, I decided that, in order to save myself from the heatstroke inducing end of rainy season, and the commenting of my lovely school teachers, to cut my by now far to long hair. Now here in Indonesia, hair cutting is something that ranges from the simplest to the fanciest of fancy. You can get your hair cut right on the street from a guy with a cart, or search for a triple digit salon complete with elite fashion consultancy in the verynheart of that that is jakarta! Seeing as how I consider myself quite a sensible person, both having no money AND wanting to get a decently good haircut, I tried to shoot for something in the middle of these two ends. So I search around and learned there was a decent one near my school frequented by my brothers here. so I headed over one night and upon arriving at the shop, I knew I was in for QUITE a treat. The varied hair displayed upon the barbers was quite unlike that of the everyday Depokinians (Depokinites?, Depokers?), with much styling colouring, and an overall hubbub of fashion and frivolity. After writing y name, and enduring the now far than normal and often sigh inducing activity at the entrance of a Bule to a shop such as this,  I was given the barber "Dadang", who himself sported a strange mix of gel and intensive coming that left me in a daze just comprehending it. This being my first haircut after my first week here, I didn't really know any "hair related vocabulary", thus improvisingly got my point across of the general thing I wanted done with my hair: a kind of short all around with some bit in the front left type of thing. (I was rather unsure myself). He heartily nodded his head many times and said " Ah yes yes yes good good good Mr.good good good" and thus the fun commenced! While he was cutting my hair he asked me something along the lines of if I wanted it washed after with some kind of gesturing, I couldnt wuite understand as he had a very strong accent, and I of course said sure! So the haircut itself was in a way similar to that in the US, in that it used a variety of clippers, combs, and scissors to cut my hair to a general way of how I wanted. But it was UTTERLY different in the way of HOW these were used. In the US when you hair is cut, you usually try and make some small talk while the person cutting your hair calmly cuts and trims, generally in a very relaxed manner. HERE, I was met with this same attempted small talk, but I was also treated to the magnificent SHOW that was the cutting of my hair. Eat cur of the scissors was not simply a cut, but a magnificent work of art involving the twisting of a wrist and the quick sleek slice of the scissors before they were retracted again with such speed it was quite unbelievable. Everything was for show it seemed to me. He would whip his comb into my hair anf flick it upwards multiple times, and then cut of maybe several millimeters of hair before sliding smoothly to the other side to repeat the effort! The whole time I was really quite unsure  at the silliness of having my haircut have to be a fashionably showy thing and the entirely serious manner in which the man went about it.It was quite amusing.
So after my extensively fashionable hair-cutting was completed, I was escorted to the hair washing area and treated to a rather lovely rinsing. After that I got up and went to get ready to leave when I was told "wait wait wait, were not finished yet!"(Oh BTW, Indonesians Always say things three times. Its a rule.) Thus the dumfounded me was led back to the chair where the man began opening a strange number of bottles and adding a large amount of product to my freshly cut hair. Oh great I thought, now i'm going to have to wash this again... But then to my surprise, he began Massaging my head, and then my shoulders, and then my arms and complete upper body! My dear what an interesting turn of events! After several minutes of this he abruply stopped, stepped back and presented me to myself. I half expected him to bow. In all, it was a rather excellent haircut experience that I will not soon forget (though my hair turned out rather wonky in the end)! And best of all, it only cost me a grand total of USD 2.50.