152. Haircuts of Asia

Haircuts of Asia: A brief review, non-scientific, 99% real facts!

India: The Nirvana
The barbershops of India offer the best of one of the greatest small adventures available to the world traveler: The local haircut. No electric razor, lightning fast snips from ancient scissors topped off with an ayurvedic head massage that’s assisted by a terrifying but effective vibrating, electric massager.

Philippines: The Colloquial
A high national fluency in English satisfies the wandering English-speaker’s craving for timeless barber shop chit chat. Be sure you’re also fluent in the most recent developments in the National Basketball Association and have a thoughtful opinion on Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California.

Mongolia: The DIY
Bring your own scissors or similarly sharp implement and, using your reflection in one of the country’s pristine lakes, chop off just enough to differentiate yourself from woolly local livestock.

Thailand: The Gender Bender
Female cutters seem to outnumber males here, which makes for a wholly different experience for the mop-top male in need of a trim. In one of the country’s ubiquitous unisex salons, if you don’t speak Thai, be prepared to flip through a stack of 1980s womens fashion magazines to find the right “haircut good look for you.”

Indonesia: The ZZZZZZZ
Another haircut ending with a soothing, no-strings-attached head, shoulder and back massage that will knock you out cold. Reccomended at the END of a long day of sightseeing. Not recommended just before engaging in so-called “adrenaline sports.”

Laos: The Sound of Dull Metal on a 3-Day Beard
Skip the haircut and go right to the fantastically non-hygenic streetside face shave. Like India, you may find children as young as twelve deftly wielding an old-timey straight razor at roadside barber shacks. Unlike India, they will never use shaving lotion or water, in deference to the thin, wispy facial hair of SE Asians. Ouch.

China: The Mission Impossible
A Westerner walks into a Chinese Barber shop. The music stops, everyone freezes, mouths agape, cigarettes smoldering. The Westerner attempts to say simply, “I would like a haircut” in Mandarin and instead correctly pronounces the phrase “I have some recent toiletries.” Repeat this process all day until the Westerner hires a translator.


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