I need a haircut. My hair has always been a source of trouble: fine, flyaway, limp, straight. I’ve been experimenting with different short haircuts in an attempt to make the most of it. I haven’t been thrilled with the results I’ve gotten locally in North Idaho, so I figure, time to be crazy and go international.
I try to download a photo of what I want on my phone, but the internet isn’t working, and I’m too impatient to try to sort it out with the front desk. I sit down and draw a picture instead. It’s a simple cut, an A-line. I stare at my drawing and decide that it will probably work. I walk down to where I got my massage, to a little hole-in-the-wall haircutting salon on a busy Bangkok street whose name I cannot read, venture in and show the coiffeuse my sketch. I mime haircutting. She nods, and mime-asks if I want a shampoo. I nod back.
The shampoo comes with a brief scalp and neck massage, which I am a big fan of. Then it’s time for my haircut. My haircutter shows me a photo from her iPad to see if it’s what I want. I shake my head, and draw a line across the photo to show that no, I want it short in the back. “Short,” I say, against the back of my head, and then, signaling towards my face, “long.” This is no doubt gibberish, but it’s more polite than grunting.
My coiffeuse whips out her scissors and starts snipping away. I watch her suspiciously in the mirror, and eye the length of the hair falling into my lap. So far, she seems to have understood me. She levels the back, layers it slightly, then angles down the front. I relax. She pauses to look at me, and I smile.
She dries my hair and then touches it up with texturizing scissors; then styles it with a round brush and touches it up again. She shows me the back with a mirror. I am very pleased. This is exactly what I was trying to ask for. Also, the bill is about $6. I hand her the money, and she bows to me, palms together. “Khap khun ka,” she says. I murmur it back in response, trying to get the intonation right: thank you [kind madam].
I head back to my hotel and sleep on my hair, just to test it out. Here is the result, along with the sketch, at 5:30 in the morning.