Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Just A Little Off The Top . . . Leave The Sideburns" -- E.

My handphone sounded.  Someone had sent me a text message, but I couldn't get to my phone just then.  It would have to wait a minute or two.  Unfortunately, within 'a minute or two' I usually forget things completely.  What to do?  I decided to count down in my head -- slowly -- from 20.  When I got to zero, I would remember to check my phone.  A flawless plan!

Or so I thought.  Everything went well up until I reached the number 7, at which point a near total stranger suddenly stuck her fingers deep into my ears.  And I forgot everything.

Can you guess where I was?

Yes, there's nothing quite like getting your hair cut.  It's an unbelievably personal ordeal.  The amount of trust it takes to let someone whose name I don't know stand right up against the chair I'm sitting in and touch my head is often too much for me.  This is why I don't get my hair cut very often.

Queena used to do it for me, but she's never much liked to, and here in Malaysia the cuts are pretty cheap.  So I'm expanding my horizons.

I'd like to tell you about some of the differences between the Malaysian hair salon, as I experience it, and its American counterpart.  These differences are neither good nor bad, inherently.  But I do have my preferences.  Here in Malaysia:
  • I have more time to think.  It seems people often read magazines at the barber's.  At my most recent haircut there were magazines provided.  But they were filled only with pictures of people in short shorts and Chinese writing, neither of which I can understand.  Thus I was left to myself, trying not to replay Monty Python's murderous barber scene in my head.
  • The trends are different.  At least I think they are.  I've been out of the USA for almost a year.  Is this happening over there?
    I'm just not ready for this.
    That's a slightly extreme case in the photo there.  But still, Malaysians like hair a little shorter there, a little longer here, and in the end it does take some adjustment for me in what to expect my hair to look like when it's all done.
  • The infamous scalp massage.  When the haircut is all done, they shampoo your hair (even if you are a man) and they really rub it into your scalp.  I repeat, they do this to you even if you're a man.  This is the part where someone's fingers can end up in your ear.  I understand you can pay extra for an extended scalp massage session; needless to say I have never given it a try.

That's the end of my story.  Queena says I should tack on a picture of the kids, even though it has nothing to do with the rest of this post.  So here it is.

To all my Malaysian friends:  Janganlah marah dengan saya!  Saya bermaksud baik.  Don't worry, I like your hair, I like your shops.  But to a foreigner everything can feel unusual at first.


  1. hi but where's the picture of your new hairdo? ha great idea Queen to have him post another wondeful picture of your kiddos. (this is really Sara Doty. I just figgured out that I can reply as Anonymous yeah! )

    1. Um . . . I didn't put up a picture of my own hair because it's really not that exciting. It's just hair, you know?

  2. but Etan if you put up a picture of your new do with your wonderful beautiful wife Queena next to you (that's what really would make a great picture) that would be fun lol (Queena stil looks great even there!!!) (this is Sara Doty again).

  3. Thanks for the picture of the kids.