I Hate Haircuts

One thing I never thought about before moving to Australia was having a haircut. At the time I left my country, a haircut costs about fifty pesos (about $1.25), if I recall correctly. I would say to the barber to give me a “barber’s cut” or “gupit binata” (bachelor’s cut) and he’d know what to do. He would get out his electric razor and buzz cut the side and back of my head. Then cut off the extra hair on the top of my head and my bangs. For the finishing touch, the barber would take out a classic straight razor (all Filipino barbers have one), sharpen it on a leather strap and shave off smoothly the back of my head near the neck. Afterward, he would dab rubbing alcohol to the part he shaved with the straight razor. Probably to minimise the chance of infection.

When I got to Australia, I was shocked to discover that haircuts for men was typically $18 (about P700)! Fortunately, there were barbers that offer haircuts for only $10 (about P390). Well, it’s still quite expensive if you convert it back to pesos but it’s the cheapest price I could find. I don’t really mind the cost of a haircut anymore nowadays. What irks me about having a haircut here is that I can’t seem to get one that I end up liking.

The system here is a bit different. First, there aren’t a lot of old-fashioned barbershops around (as far as I know, at least). Men and women go to have their hair done in what we would call parlours in the Philippines. That meant that women typically do the haircutting. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying.

At the shop, I would tell my barber what type of cut I would like by saying a number (such as 1, 2 or 3). I’m not sure what it means even now but a “1” is the shortest buzz cut I could get off the side and back of my head. The bigger the number, the longer the “stubble” on the back of my neck. The number could signify the size of the clip used on the electric razor or the length of hair left behind in millimeters. I’m just guessing here.

After the barber uses the electric razor, she’d use here scissors to “blend” the hair so that my hair at the top of my head would shorten gradually as you go down to my neck where the hair was shaved with the razor. She’d also cut short my fringe (it’s what they call “bangs” here).

Here now is the problem. My hair tends to stick out when cut short enough. I usually ask for a number 2 haircut and in their attempt to blend my hair, they end up cutting the hair at the back of my head too short. So, I keep instructing my various barbers to not cut my hair too short because I don’t want my hair to stick out. But do they listen to me? Never. They still proceed to cut my hair as short as they could. I don’t get it. Wasn’t I being clear? They must not be used to cutting straight black thick Asian hair or something.

I figured that the rest of my hair wouldn’t be cut too short if I ask for a bigger numbered haircut like a number 3 maybe. It sure did the trick but the downside was that it didn’t look like I even had a haircut afterwards. What was the point then?

Early today, I had a haircut again. I asked for a number 2 haircut and added that the barber keep the hair at the back of my head a bit long. No luck. I might as well have asked for a flat-top haircut or a crew-cut. The only way to keep my hair down now is to use hair gel. And I hate using hair gel.

I’ll just have to endure this ugly haircut until my hair grows long enough to keep my hair from standing up which would take a week or two. I can’t wait.

Published in: on March 31, 2007 at 8:35 pm  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Alma: Layo ng Springvale. πŸ˜‰ I like how you are watching out for Shane while he’s having a haircut. Para kang manager. πŸ™‚

    Marissa: Hmm. Parang tinatamad akong dumayo para lang sa pagupitan pero sige, pag-iisipan ko. πŸ™‚ Thanks.

  2. Hey Geejay- yung husband ko sa West Footscray malapit sa Tottenham Station nagpapagupit. Pinoy siya kung gusto mo bigay ko number niya thru email. 15 years na siyang hairdresser ng mister ko.

  3. Hi Geejay,

    You have the same dilemma with Shane. He too can not find a hairdresser that he really likes. Not that he really cares though. It was me who was complaining after he gets a haircut. I was never satisfied. What I used to do was I go with him and watch and inspect the hairdresser’s job. I would give my unsolicited opinion and wouldn’t stop until I like what I see. I know it’s a bit too much but hey, we are paying good bucks and I want my man to look good. πŸ˜‰

    Not until we moved to Dingley. He has found one in the Dingley shopping centre which regularly goes to now. The guy is like our regular barber in the Philippines. He is very good. I don’t have to go with Shane now. :))

    There is a Pinoy hairdresser in Springvale (beside Tina’s grocery store), you may want to try him though it would be a bit of travel for you.

    Anyhow, keep on trying new hairdresers until you find one that suits you.

  4. Vince: Well, compared to China, I suppose I am better off. πŸ˜‰ I’m actually tempted in doing the same technique though. When I get lucky and I get a haircut that I really like, I should take a photo of it from all sides and just hand out the photos to the hairdresser. πŸ˜›

    BTW, you may have just missed the instructions but you must only enter either the numbers 0 to 9 or the letters A to F in the comment security box. So the letter O shouldn’t even be an option. πŸ˜€

    Linda: I think you are right. I have an officemate who is not an Asian and he is also having trouble getting the haircut he likes. Ah well. I actually already found a hairdresser I like but that was when I was still living in Canberra. Darn.

    Frank: I’ll just communicate with you via email regarding that.

  5. You were a finalist. May I invite you to my feature story on the Blog Awards? Names and URLs included; with this, now you have mine.

  6. Hey, I quite honestly don’t think it’s that hairdressers aren’t used to cutting Asian hair – it’s simply that they DON’T listen!! My hair is exactly the opposite to yours, and they can’t get mine right either!!! I think it’s very rare to find a good hairdresser/barber who actually LISTENS to what you ask for and then goes ahead and does what you’ve asked for – if you find one, they’re worth their weight in gold!!

  7. Geejay,

    You are so lucky you can talk to your haircutter. I lived in China where I could only use my fingers to make gestures as to how I want my hair cut.

    After the nth failure, when I finally had the haircut I wanted, I took photos (4 sides) and used them as reference next time.

    Even haircutters can use a Requirements document πŸ˜‰

    PS: Did you know that after your reader has typed in their comment and realised that they can’t read the ID (is it ’07’ or ‘O7’) and they request for a ‘new ID’, the comments already typed in go poof!?

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