Emad's Blog (Under Renovation)

Monday, May 16, 2011


For those familiar with the content of this blog, it will come as no surprise, that yet again I find myself impossibly stuck in the core of bureaucratic machinery involving visas.

I like/need to travel a whole load. Most of my recent travel has been in Europe, and my travel history is airtight. I ran out of space for visas on my last passport. I go to countries. I spend money. I see stuff. I do stuff. In a nutshell, I'm an average guy in travel terms.

Yet again, they're giving me hell, and lots of it. It's tough being a young male with a Pakistani passport. And getting tougher. And in all likelihood, I will miss a wedding that I want to be at quite badly.

But this rant, you'll find as a reason to be relieved, isn't about visas. It's about haircuts. Now, long before I became the average traveller, I've had two obsessions - the perfect pair of shoes (GRR! Manly!), and a perfect haircut (GRRR.. oh what the hell).

Mediocre haircuts have been the bane of my existence ever since I was tall enough to look in the shortest of mirrors. The first real argument I remember having with my dad involved my staring wayyy up at him and screaming, "I hate your hairdresser. He's old and has no sense of what a good haircut is!". And I cried.

As I grew older, I got to make decisions on where I got haircuts. But I learnt quickly and harshly that it wasn't my dad's fault - there was just an incredible void in the market for a good barber. I stumbled from one place, to the next, yearning for that perfect hand of scissors - a never-ending quest of epic proportions. And I kept failing.

And then there was a glimmer of hope. I met a man.. (I really HAVE to stop with these references). Lahore became my favourite city, because every time I walked out of his saloon, I had the confidence of a peacock! It was done. Even when I was in Karachi, I would find ways to coordinate work trips around my haircut cycles. I knew the value of this, and I would pay any price to retain this shiny new object - salvation was achieved.

And then I moved to London. Square one. I'm still stumbling. This is the story of Today.

I needed a haircut. There was a fancy hairdresser down the street I was walking. I am due to go to that wedding in 4 days (the visa to which I will not get in time anyway.. but I promised to shut up about that). I walk in, and am greeted by someone with a questionable association to the male or the female gender. Alarm bells were soon replaced by curiosity - surely this person knew how to give me a damn fashionable haircut. WRONG!

I shoulda left. I didn't. I stayed.

Still unsure whether to refer to her/him as a he/she, I shall call use the colloquial reference: sHe. Bear in mind, I am not discriminating. Hell, I let this person near the thing so dear to me - my hair. Anyway, sHe took my jacket, and reached straight for my shirt buttons. Woah. I acted calm, but sHe was clearly uncomfortable and inept at it, so I took over and unbuttoned my second button myself. sHe played with my collar for a few seconds, and that was that.

I shoulda left. I didn't. I stayed.

I sat down on the barber's chair. Flashy red synthetic leather. Oh well. And the scissor work began. I spent the next few minutes dividing my attention neatly between observing the clumsy hand movements on top of my head and trying to figure out whether it was a scar, or an Adam's apple. I didn't care either way (about the latter that is), but I was curious. I like knowing. sHe exclaimed, "my.. you have such a beautiful neck.. my my!". My my. Nothing to do but to ignore that.

I shoulda left. I didn't. I stayed.

The assault on my hair continued. Snippaty snap. This was disastrous. Ok ok. Breathe. Breathe. Focus on happy bunnies. Wait. No. Bunnies being chopped by scissors. EW. I stopped looking at the mirror. sHe came over in front of me, put me chin up with a forefinger (eep EEEP!), and said, "hey look in the mirror. Sexy, no?". No. I said so. Mistake! "Ok - I do something else to it I like."
"Wow your hair is so nice".

I shoulda left. I didn't. I stayed.

After what felt like an eternity, my ordeal was soon to end. My hair was ruined. But at least this would be over. No! Shampoo time. Ok. New chair. No mirror. Fine. Breathe. Breathe. As the head massage began, she launched into 'personal stuff'. "Where are you from?" "oh you look Brazilian" "you have no accent, were you born here?". yada yada. More my comfort zone with standard responses I could issue with a facial expression that suggested this was the first time I'd heard someone say that. And then.. sHe decided it was only fair I got to know more from the other side. "My ex-husband is Pakistani", sHe exclaimed, "what a nice guy. He was so open-minded. Like you...", "..and so pretty. Like you...". Uh oh.

I shoulda left. I didn't. I stayed.

Shampoo done. The towel work begins. And continues. And goes on. Then the waxwork begins, along with another session of unnecessary caressing. Time to go. NOW.

As I half run out of the shop while considering just leaving my change behind, sHe plays the final card. "Hey - I can't wait for your hair to grow back very soon. Do come back, and ask for me!". Hell, I'd rather ask for Sweeney Todd, than this, buddy!

I left. I didn't look back. I ran.

Now as I stand in front of the mirror, a pair of scissors in one hand (I have never risked this, but there's no way I'm going back to another saloon after this, for a WHILE!), I suppose it's a good opportunity to bring baseball caps back in fashion eh?

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  • I feel your pain! Since I left home to go to university I've coordinated regular trips home get my hair cut by my life-long, amazing hairdresser! In the past 6 and a half years I've managed to time my trips abroad and around the UK so that I've only had to have 4 haircuts by other people... but even they were all DISATERS! I wish I could give you some hope but I think we just have to accept that there's a trade off between travelling and a good hair cut and sometimes the hair loses!

    By Blogger Georgie, At 17/5/11 10:03  

  • I couldn't have said it better, G.

    By Blogger E, At 17/5/11 23:03  

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