Haircut Problems in America

Getting a haircut is never a problem in the Philippines. For just 50 pesos, you can get one from your friendly neighborhood salon or barbershop like Reyes Haircutters, Bruno’s Barbers, or your friendly neighborhood unbranded barber. If you’re feeling like a star, go to Bench Fix, David’s Salon or some other high-end salons for men and women–either way, you’d probably spend a maximum of P500 for a haircut.

In the USA, the process is more tricky. When we first arrived in Nashville, and I needed a barber, I searched for one on Google Maps. After reading reviews of the closest ones, I picked one and decided to visit the next day.

My barber in the Philippines is a guy named Glenn who worked at GQ Barber Shop at Waltermart North EDSA. I would just tell him I wanted a short-cropped hair–maikli lang sa gilid at naaayusan ng gel sa taas. He understood what I wanted. If I had additional instructions, I would just tell him in Tagalog or demonstrated with my hands.

When I visited my first barbershop in Nashville, I had to look for a photo of mine with my favorite haircut. At some point, I even downloaded a photo of Piolo Pascual on my phone (not that I look like Piolo) to show the barber. I probably went to the barber for three or four more times. Just for the record, he wasn’t able to make me look like Piolo at all.

But that’s not the reason I decided to try a different barber. It might have been when he made me look like Jojo Alejar. I never heard the end of it from my wife, and to rub salt on wound, a friend of hers even commented about it on Facebook!

I tried two more barbers before finding my current one–a guy named Abe. He asked me what blade number to use on the sides and if I wanted it to ‘taper’ on top. I replied that I wanted my hair really short on the sides. I might have said ‘close crop.’ To help explain the haircut I wanted, I pulled up a photo of mine from my phone. No Piolo photo this time.

He said that he understood what I wanted, and that he’ll use a 1 & 1/2 blade on the sides. Let’s just say it worked because he’s still my barber after a year.

But man, haircuts in the US are expensive! $12 is the cheapest I’ve encountered and that’s for kids! For me, it’s been $15 per haircut. Plus you’re expected to give a tip. I usually pay $18 – $20 per visit. That’s P1,000 per haircut! That would have been at least 10 haircuts in the Philippines!

If I could only cut my own hair, I would! Even if I tried, I could probably do an okay job on the sides and at the top of my head. But the back would probably look like a chicken who got sucked by a vacuum cleaner.

Or maybe, I could let my hair grow long and just cut it shoulder-length. How difficult would it be to cut in a straight line? But then again, I will need to buy some fancy shampoo and conditioner, and add at least 10 minutes of hair time to my morning bathroom routine! Besides, I tried the long hairdo in college and let’s just say that I got a thousand pimples because I didn’t know how to care for my hair (and face for that matter).

I guess I just need to stop converting dollars to pesos in my head! or maybe, I can ask my wife to go to a haircutting school so she could start cutting my hair. But according to this website, “the average cost of hair school in a comprehensive cosmetology program is between $10,000 and $20,000. The same hair stylist training program at schools in smaller cities may cost as little as $6,500.”

Oh man, that’s too expensive! I guess there’s YouTube and she can watch videos to learn, but we may be taking a lot of risk to do that.

What about just shaving my hair altogether? Nah. My head does not have a good round shape. Besides, I don’t want to shiver during the winter! I’m just glad I found a barber who can cut my hair the way I want it.

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