A Little Off the Top
Yes, we are a few weeks into our adventure in our new home. “Embracing the New Normal in Nanjing” has become our mantra. How are we doing?
We basically look the same but a few pounds lighter from the lack of comfort foods we were used to in the States. I’d start a list of what those are but it would just make me cranky knowing it will be months and months before any of it will pass my lips. Speaking of how we look, the next challenge has been the personal grooming ritual of ‘the haircut.’
I say ritual because Gordon has had a haircut every 3 weeks for the past, mmmmm, thirty years from the SAME hair stylist. You may want to read that sentence again. Yep, same stylist, thirty years. He has followed Frieda from place to place. Like your hairdresser, Frieda knows a lot of history about her clients. She “knows” the family from Gordon’s perspective and storytelling. She’s “lived” through new babies, new homes, new puppies, new jobs, weddings, car restorations and other not so happy occasions. “Snip-Snip-Snip.”
He was the first to venture into the land of Chinese haircuts. It was a Sunday and we were without a car or driver that day so he set out walking about a mile to a corner grocery/mall that had a salon. Our friend Pete had been there the week before with good results and not too much angst so with that as a reference he ventured on his way.
I often refer to Gordon as the “Big Guy” in this blog, with good reason. He is 6’4” tall on a large frame. He darkened the door of the salon and, as is the case a lot lately, commanded grand attention. The game of Nanjing Charades began as he mimicked a pair of scissors with his right hand. “Snip-Snip-Snip.” The message got through; this Big Guy wants a haircut! Ushered to the shampoo bowl by a young man with a hot pink stripe in his hair he tried NOT to tremble. A snap of an apron and a familiar sound of Velcro around his neck and he was ready for anything. The shampooing included two full washes, an eye-closing scalp and neck massage, some conditioner and off to the next station.
Gordon made a gesture with his index finger and thumb to indicate “just a little” to the stylist. The young man smiled and “Snip-Snip-Snip” the first haircut from someone other than dear Frieda was underway. It was quite the show as he was the only white person in the salon….probably since Pete had been there the Sunday before! More snipping and snipping and then out came an electric razor to make things even. Gordon realized that "just a little" shown by his fingers was interpreted as "I want it short" by the stylist. He had no way to tell him it was short enough! The snipping and buzzing finally subsided and it was back to the shampoo bowl for another delightful dousing to rinse off any spare clippings. (I love this idea!)
Time for the tab/bill. 30 rmb or $4.50/USD. No tipping allowed!
The Big Guy walked home and sat down for an “after” photo shoot.
He had two remarks:
“I won’t be going back for a haircut until I learn some phrases in Mandarin, that’s for sure!”
“I haven’t had my hair cut this short since I was fourteen and stupid!"
Everyone noticed the Big Guy’s haircut on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday… and well, for the next two weeks. No need to rush back after three weeks, like the good old days with dear Frieda! "Snip-Snip-Snip."
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for Reading!