Yesterday I got my hair cut at a budget hair salon run by Vietnamese people. Mostly older woman, but a few young men. Probably none of them spoke English other than a few key phrases. (“Thank you” “You want hair cut?”, etc).
I arrived in the middle of the day when half of the workers there were idle. One older woman motioned for me to sit down, and after I did, she said, “How you want your hair?”
Knowing that the nuances were likely to be misunderstood, I kept it simple while motioning with my hands: “Straight in back, keep it the same around the ears, I comb everything back.”
The woman nodded and proceeded to give me the worst haircut of my life. On the right side, she shaved off ALL the hair up until an inch about my ear. At that point, I immediately stopped and said, “NO!” and asked her to cut anymore there. Just cut it evenly on the other side.
To add to the horror, I noticed that the right side of my head which was now exposed had several large green spots. This had nothing to do with the woman or the haircut, but earlier that day I had gotten some greenish ink or food coloring over my fingers. I have no idea where this green color came from, but it had been all over my hands and mostly refused to come off despite repeated washings. I still had bluish-green around my fingertips, and now I see that the result of having inadvertently brushed my hands through my hair earlier that day.
I left the haircut place stewing and aware of how abominable I looked. The ink would eventually fade, but the haircut would linger, and there’s not much another barber could do except shave the whole thing off. I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home, a store frequented by all sorts of youngish and single adults. I don’t exactly dress up for it (but I always remember one friend’s rule that one should dress up no matter where you are going because you never know who you will meet). I trade glances with a random pretty young woman. I wouldn’t call it a flirt, but we definitely smiled.
Then it hit me that I must have appeared to people as absolutely redorkulous. Did this mystery woman notice my green spot? Or my horrible haircut? To my dismay, I realized that the collar to my stylish red shirt was pulled up against my neck. I began to smooth it down when I realized that the reason the collar was sticking up was that I was wearing the shirt inside out!
New rule: Always (and I mean always!) look at a mirror before leaving home.