Friday, September 04, 2015

Kabul: The Barber Shop

Six weeks on, and my hair was getting unruly.

When it comes to haircuts, I generally lean toward more modest establishments, and thus, I skipped the Green Spa and went to the barber shop on the East Side.  The actual name of the East Side outlet is "The Original Barber Shop," owing to the fact that it was the first barber shop on the compound.  You can see the shop's humble begins in some random photos that pop up from time to time.  It started out as nothing more than a plastic chair under a tin roof - open-air with no walls.  Today it's fully enclosed with a barber pole, two hydraulic barber chairs, two TVs, three barbers, and the full assortment of hairstyle magazines that no one ever seems to read.

Eitan came to the barber shop as well, and when we entered the shop, a man was already there getting his hair cut.  Eitan had another appointment after his haircut, so I let him go before me.

In a few minutes, however, the first man finished, and I too had a seat.

My barber fussed with the broom for a minute, moving clumps of hair around on the floor.  Then he turned his attention to me.

He draped me in the cape and pulled the white strip tight around my neck.

"How do you want it, boss?" he asked.

"Shorter all around," I answered.

Considering my vague instructions, he looked me over for a second.

"Do you want me to make you look good?" he asked.

Compared to the alternative, this seemed like the way to go.

"Yes," I told him, "make me look good!"

Then, having secured my buy-in, he went to work.

My barber and his two associates all had long, black, wavy hair, and I wondered what his idea of good short hair might be.

He trimmed the sides and back with the clippers and went to work on the top with scissors.  He didn't speak to me during the haircut, but he would occasionally step back and comment.

"Yes, that's right," he'd whisper to himself.

After maybe 20 minutes, he did the final edging work on my temples, shaved my neck, slathered my hair with gel, and wheeled me around to the mirror.

"It's fabulous!" he exclaimed.

He was clearly proud of his work, and in fact he had done a decent job.

There was one peculiarity, however.  He left the front of my hair fairly long, and he stood it straight up with gel.  While it wasn't nearly as pronounced, I felt slightly like Cameron Diaz during the famous hair-gel scene in "There's Something About Mary."

"What do you think?" he asked me.

"It looks good," I told him.

He was clearly an artiste, and I didn't want to deflate his enthusiasm by asking him to chop more off the front.  I figured I'd fix it myself later if it got too annoying.

"See," he replied, "I told you I'd make you look good!"

He was happy; I was happy, and I was in the homestretch now.  The barber took away the cape and started giving me a final dusting with his little brush.

He had one more thing on his mind, it turned out.

"Do you know who you look like?" he asked me.

"Oh, Lord," I thought to myself, "this should be good."

I get "recognized" fairly frequently, and it's always ridiculous.

"Who do I look like?" I asked.

"You are Spider-Man 3!" he replied.

"Oh, yeah," I responded.  "Who exactly in Spider-Man 3?"

"Obviously, the Spider Man," he replied.

"I just cut Spider Man's hair!" he continued with a wide smile.

I didn't really see the resemblance, but there's no point in arguing about such things.

Besides, it was just another celebrity doppelgänger to add to the list.

In no particular order, we have:

  • Tobey Maguire, actor (Spider Man, etc)
  • Cesc FĂ bregas, football player (Chelsea Football Club)
  • Bradley Cooper, actor (Hangover, etc)
  • Lionel Messi, football player (Futbol Club Barcelona)
  • David Duchovny, actor (X-Files, etc)
  • Andy Garcia, actor (Godfather, etc)
  • Gaspard Ulliel, actor (Hannibal Rising)
  • David Schwimmer, actor (Friends)
  • Jim True-Frost, actor (The Wire)
  • George Hamilton, actor (Where the Boys Are, etc)
  • Ben Stiller, actor (Zoolander, etc)
  • Sam Waterston, actor (Law & Order)

Add to this a host of politicians and other people I've never heard of.

I guess there are worse things than resembling the "sexiest man alive," but of course it's all foolishness.

At least the barber had a bit of fun, though, and my hair was good to go for another six weeks.


Unknown said...

This is the sort of time a "selfie" would be appropriate, Chris. Also, while on the subject, do you have a photo of your Halloween costume?

Unknown said...

I wonder what hair infront looks like ,send a pic

Anonymous said...

Hey CC- try picking the barber with the worst haircut; they usually cut each others'

Anonymous said...

At least the barber did not have TB like the one in Islamabad. Remember?

Ray P.