so yesterday i went for an haircut. wanted it short and simple, but it never is around here. having an hair cut in china is everything but trivial. chinese have a whole cult around cutting their hair for which i still don’t have a good explanation.

for starters, a barber shop is not just that. it’s usually a hair salon and a massage parlor and a spa, all-in-one. they are all open till late in the night and that’s when they get crowded with the clients. in many things, they resemble a bar: you go there at night, it has loads of colorful lights, loud disco music playing and a very young staff crew running around. chinese love it, which doesn’t necessarily mean foreigners do too.

if i overlook the fact that communication is always an issue, there’s still plenty of oddness involved. a simple man hair cut, as i see it, means sitting down, getting it cut, possibly a quick washing afterwards to tidy up, pay and leave. but not in china.

the whole ritual involves many runs to the sink to wash: before, after and in between. if it’s a real chinese place, after the first wash they will want to clean your ears with cotton swabs. and let me make that clear, they don’t hand you the cotton swabs for you to do it. they stick them into your ears and start swirling around while they get distracted with a passer by or look at the time.

and then there’s the massage act. it always comes in the package and sometimes is good, others not really. usually it starts by massaging the hair and then it goes down through the neck and might even reach the arms and hands. one would hope it’s soft and relaxing, but it’s not when they shake you so bad that make you look like having a seizure.

the one i went yesterday had a particularity: all their mirrors had written “you are quite attractive”, together with a large yellow smiley face. is this a whole new level of head washing which also includes the brain component? no idea. at least hair cutting in china is never boring, i’ll give them that.

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6 strings to “the chinese haircut”

  1. Teo says

    hah, had quite a laugh over your comments on the Chinese style of getting that hair cut!
    just keep them fun posts comming, I’m surely revisiting! :)

  2. Ana Teresa says

    U made me laugh out loud. Poor you!Well, at least you were entertained and now u have a story to tell1

    miss you!


  3. David Bennett says

    It sounds like the finger jiggling is connected with Chi Gung. I would be interested to hear more about it if you can find a good English speaker to give you the story behind it.

  4. Hairstyles Watch says

    You gotta love a good haircut. Makes you feel clean!

  5. mayluo says

    There’s a barber shop near my home,as small as the street I’m living in.
    I consider it pretty special for it differs other barber shops a lot.Haircut can be very easy and cozy here,with no loud music.The barber offers 3-4 kinds of hairstyle,but it’s better than the fancy hairstyles served in the shop you mentioned.My dad often goes there for haircut.Everytime the barber would shave his moustache and beard for free. The price is jitney.
    It’s unique comparing the vulgar modern shops everywhere in most Chinese cities.

  6. Nina says

    I think Chinese and other Asian Hairstyles are cool. I’m considering having my haircut in a Korean Hair Salon.