>After three months I finally took up the challenge of finding someone to cut my hair. I knew it was going to be one of those cross-cultural challenges and experiences. The reason I had been able to put of this experience off for so long was the high humidity–with naturally curly hair, it just kept expanding outward. Imagine Jesus in the Godspell movie and you get an idea of what direction it was moving. I thought about just letting it grow out under these conditions. But then I faced the reality–I was going to Shanghai where it wasn’t so hot and humid. This could be a disaster for naturally curly hair.
The first challenge was to find someplace to get it cut. After consulting colleagues, I settled on a place called “HAIR” right next to the Dan Ryan Restaurant. That seemed promising. They have naturally curly hair in Chicago.
I walked into “HAIR” and asked for a haircut. I was given a menu with prices. The menu let me choose the level of the hair stylist–stylist, senior stylist, extreme senior stylist, super extreme senior stylist, artist. You get the idea. I chose senior stylist since the prices were not cheap, but I didn’t want to go with a rooky.
Once I had made my choice, an older lady came out from someplace and personally put on my sheet (what do you call those things, anyway, a big bib?). That was the putting on the sheet person.
I sat down and my senior stylist came to consult. In the meantime, someone else slipped a glass of water with a cover on the counter in front of me–that was the water person.
Someone else gave me a number 6. That was the number person.
I was soon sent off with another young man who took me into a dark room to have my hair washed–that was the hair wash person.
I was taken back to my chair and my senior stylist when to work. You have to understand, most people here have straight hair which is quite thick in texture. I have fine hair which is quite curly. My senior stylist proceeded to do a layer cut on my hair, and telling me how “smooth” he was making it. He kept it longer on the top. Then he used a roller brush and hair drier to do his very best at straightening my hair so that he could “style” it into a work of art. This all took a long time and great effort.
After the cut and before the flattening with the hair dryer, I was asked whether I wanted a rinse–that would have been the rinse person, but I declined.
The end result was quite nice, but not sustainable. It was a relatively dry day, I don’t have 90 minutes each morning and I didn’t bring my hair drier with me.
I never did figure out what the number 6 was for. Someone took it from me at some point. This was the taking the number back person.
My daughters just sort of stared at me when I walked into the apartment with that look that says, “now that is quite interesting.”
The next day, my hair went back to being in harmony with its natural inclinations and its environment.