Are you in China? Do you need to get your hair cut? Do yourself a favor and opt out of the 75-cent cut and treat yourself to a $4 salon extravaganza. The sign said wash, cut, and blow dry. I strolled out of the salon two and a half hours later, wondering where all the time went, and how much fun I had had for just $4.Quick side note: I am a spectacle at Chinese hair salons. My hair is dirty blonde, which some Chinese stylists have never even seen, much less cut before. Add in how thick my fro’ can get, and you’ve got yourself a regular guinea pig for some young “L’Oreal” beauty school graduates.Another quick side note: there are always too many people working in China’s hair salons. After person A took my coat and person B brought me water, person C led me to a chair where person D placed towels over my front and back before person E began shampooing my head. Twice. This shampooing turned into a 20-minute head massage from person F that was just…heavenly. Then it was off to rinse with person G, and back to the chair for what I hoped was haircut time.Alas, it was not haircut time! Instead, person H arrived to give me a full back and neck massage that would last for nearly 30 minutes. Again, I feel like I need to repeat that this was a $4 haircut. After person H had finished, she called a special session of the Salon Stylists Association to plan the next course of action.I brought a picture with me so as to ensure the sanctity of my head. This picture stirred some controversy, and every stylist in the salon took a peak and felt my hair. I think they pulled straws or something to see who would be the lucky one to actually cut my hair. Bobby won. Bobby’s hair was a bit, how do I say this – stylized – and I really hoped that he didn’t want to do the same to my head. The scissors came out and he began chopping away. Every few seconds he would stop and say, “shorter? Yes! Shorter…But, not too short.”About ten minutes in, person J (Bobby is person I) showed up with a few Chinese-language magazines that had pictures of Americans on the cover. Person J was 27 and female. She “loved” America. She and I had a lovely conversation about I-don’t-know-what for I-don’t-know-how-long at which point, I looked up to see that the sides were nicely trimmed, but the top was still extremely long. Bobby had given me the same haircut that every man in China (minus the ones working in salons) was sporting. Pointing to the top, I said, “Shorter. Shorter.” There was some commotion and arguing, at which point, Bobby started trimming the top again. He seemed angry. Person K the showed up and whisked me back to the sink. Then it was back to the chair where person L gave me a nice blow dry, followed by Bobby’s return to style his creation. I could tell he was proud. He had done it. He had broken the mold and created something entirely new. Everyone in the salon (about 20 people) popped up behind me as we all gazed at my head in the mirror. I am beautiful. Person’s M and N appeared at my sides to brush off my forehead and lap before flinging the apron off of me. I waved goodbye to all of my new friends, paid my four dollars, and headed home. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to the salon. Next time, I’m going to clear my schedule.

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