Hair stories—tools and knowledge and experience
My story about a haircut at Beijing Friendship Hotel has generated other tales.
One time I took a taxi to the hotel. The taxi driver was a local Beijing resident with a shaven head. His haircut reminded me of the days when I had my head shaved while studying at First Tainan Middle School. At the time, all the boys in my class as well as other boys in the school had their heads shaved. It was such a cool experience—I still remember that time with great fondness.
"How about shaving my head today, Ms Wong?" I asked spontaneously when I got to the barbershop.
Ms Wong gave my head a good look over.
"The shape of your head is nice," she began. "Neither your forehead nor the back of your head are too flat. A shaven head might look quite distinctive. I could give it a try, but … I don't think so. Your face is long and looks more balanced with hair."
"My hair is thick, and I tend to sweat in the summer," I persisted. "It is a lot of trouble having to wash my hair twice a day. A shaven head would save a lot of time."
"But you don't understand the trouble of having a shaven head," Ms Wong insisted. "You have to shave every couple of days. Shaving your beard is nothing compared to shaving your head. It can take a lot of time. It is much simpler to wash your hair twice a day."
She made perfect sense. But I was not going to give up easily.
"It didn't seem to bother me when I was at middle school or in the army," I said.
"That might be true. But you are no longer young," Ms Wong explained in a professional tone, as if having my head shaved would really wreak havoc on my life.
Barbers and hairdressers really do know what they are talking about. Hair is their life and their livelihood. So it is no wonder they usually own their own individual scissors.
"Have you ever used another person's scissors by mistake?" I asked.
"Never," said Ms Wong. "We would be able to tell the difference even with our eyes closed. A new pair of scissors would pinch and bruise our fingers. They wouldn't behave the right way."
Tools and knowledge, and experience, go together well in the life of a professional. That much I learned when asking about shaving my head!
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (8 April, 2015).
13 April, 2015