On my first full day off I had several things planned. But, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men… Well, if you’re a fan of these pages, you know what happens to mice when they come into my house. As for my manly plans, they did include one haircut which I can, thankfully, say has been checked off the list.
I have always preferred to get my hair cut by a proper barber in an old fashioned barber shop. At the very least I’ll settle for any place that’s got a red and white striped pole in an immediate ten mile radius. About six weeks ago I went to a place in Irving on a whim. My wife had seen a sign outside this particular place and told me I should try it. After all, she reasoned, “your hair grows fast, you always get it cut short so it won’t matter if they screw up, and it’s only 13 bucks!” She has a point. They didn’t do a bad job that night so I figured I’d try them again. I took my son, good old reliable Benny with me. No, he did not need a trim this time; but he’s always good for company.
Above the door was a simple sign that said “K”. Nothing else. OK, it’s a little sketchy. Inside sat two middle aged Korean ladies chatting about nothing in particular. Actually, I don’t know what they were chatting about since I don’t speak Korean. Their eyes lit up when they saw us enter.
“What you like?” said the one woman to the two of us.
“I like a haircut. I mean, uh, I would like a haircut. But just for me. He’s just here for fun.”
“Awwww… No haircut for him?”
“Nope, just me.”
She looked like the wind had just been let out of her sails at the missed opportunity to cut my son’s tresses. Then she motioned me over into a chair.
“He OK to play with toys up front.”
I looked and, sure enough, there was a small handful of toys by the front door.
“Oh that’s OK” I said, “He can come stand by me.”
“No, he play.”
While we were arguing the merits of our positions (she wanted him to play and I wanted him to be safely by my side) my son had wandered over to the back of the shop where he had commenced a conversation with the other Korean barber lady. Their’s went something more like this:
“I Benedict. I’m three years old! I sing Moves Like Jagger!”
“Awwww.. So cute!”
Meanwhile, Madam Chiang threw a drape over me and, with exasperation, asked:
“So what I do for you?”
Like a man who knows what he wants I replied:
“I want it short on the sides and back. You can use a 1 and a half and take some off the top as well.”
“One and half?! Ahhh. You go severe. Like mean dyke.”
If I had been drinking anything this would have been the point where I spit it across the room. Clearly she was playing off the fact that native English speakers excuse her every verbal mis-step because we deem it impolite to correct a non-native speaker’s English. Now I was a little scared. Was I going to walk out of this place looking like Rosie O’Donnell?
Meanwhile in the other corner…
“Move like Jagger, I got move like Jagger, I got moooooooove like Jagger.”
“Ah” (clapping her hands in time with one leg crossed tightly over the other and a foot bouncing in rhythm) “Haha!”
“What Santa Claus gonna’ bring you?”
“HOT WHEELS!!! I have to be good boy and not hit Rita.”
It was like these two had been speaking their own language for years and just discovered someone else who spoke the same thing.
On my side of the room, Ho Chi Minh buzzed the heck out of my hair like a military barber, pulled the drape off like a magician pulling a tablecloth without moving a dish, held a mirror up to the back of my head, and proclaimed:
“You done. Good?”
I looked intently for a moment.
“Come on, Benny, it’s time to head home.”
“Daddy, I get a lollipop!”
I didn’t know if he was asking me, asking his new friend, or whether the two of the had entered into some kind of bargain while I wasn’t paying attention.
“He get all lollipop he want! He so cute!”
Through all that and I never even got to offer my condolences on the passing of Kim Jong Il.
Oh well, only a few more stops and we could call it a day.