At first I thought my new do was influenced by Carol Brady and Thai fashion, but after a couple of days’ reflection, I think it’s a little bit more Aerosmith, a little bit Linda from Wedding Singer, and a lot horrible. What happened was I thought it would be good to get a little trim before going home in a couple months. I’ve been working on growing my hair out, so I just asked for a little trim, to fix the layers (as in make them more uniform, not all shaggy), and thin out the bulk a bit. At least that is what I told the guy who spoke English. He translated my request to the guy who was to do the actual cutting. You’ve heard the phrase “lost in translation” right? My suspicions are it went something like this, “She said to thin it out and do something about the layers. As you know, we don’t believe in thinning scissors here, so just try to hack off as much of the bulk as possible with your regular scissors. Oh, and she wants to keep it the same length, so make sure you don’t cut too much off the bottom layer.”
As the kid began to cut away, I sat in horror hoping that what I couldn’t quite see happening behind my head would turn out ok. Inspections and comments from the salon staff increased my suspicion that something really bad had happened back there. “Stupid rookie,” I thought, “Why couldn’t the guy with a utility belt of scissors been the one to cut my hair? Who does this punk think he is anyways? Just because he has tattoos does not make him fit to cut my hair.” I calmed down a bit when two other staff started to blow dry my coif. But making me feel like a superstar for 10 minutes of blow drying didn’t change the fact that some kid had just hacked off at least a year’s hard work of growing out my hair.
The head stylist, Mr. Utility Belt came over to inspect it. His expression read “not good.” He pulled out his scissors and began an attempt at fixing my hair. I was offered iced tea. A fan was turned on from behind me, blowing strands of my hair in all directions before they had a chance to drop to the floor. When it was over, my iced tea looked like Snuffleupagus, and my haircut just as shaggy. A second mirror was lifted so that I could inspect the back. Things did not look well. Too scared to let any of the staff touch my hair again, however, I opted to leave the extra few inches of hair that extended beyond the rest realizing that a ponytail might be my only option for the next couple months (besides, who knew what they would do if the scissors got pulled out a third time), and I hightailed it out of the salon.
So now, a few days later, the shock has worn off and been replaced by marveling at my stupidity in choosing to get a haircut in Hanoi without so much as a picture to show the stylist (I should have at least clarified that he correctly understood my request). Luckily, hair grows. And while I’m disappointed that my attempt to finally grow my hair out has been foiled, well, the reality is I’ve never been so good at waiting for my hair to grow out anyways and actually like having shorter hair (its just that I had wanted to try something new…). Sadly, coming to terms with this new do doesn’t change the fact that this is without a doubt the worst haircut I’ve had, even worse than the time my brother cut my hair. At least a toddler can pull-off a home-cut until it grows out. At least with the party in the back I still have enough hair to pull back into a tiny ponytail.