10/02/2005

Everybody Kwang Chang Tonight

As I was getting my hair cut yesterday, I was reminded of an experience I recently recounted on Medialine. Unfortunately, that thread was removed (undoubtedly due to pressure from the Bald-Is-Beautiful interest groups). So I thought I would re-tell that story for the benefit of those who might have missed it.

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It's a warm, sunny summer Saturday - perfect day for a good ole-fashioned hair cut. I'm sitting in Fadool's Barber Shop and waiting for my turn in one of the well-worn, yet oddly comfortable chairs, reading a two-year-old copy of some hunting & fishing magazine. Who do we have at bat today? We've got three middle-aged men and one woman of Asian descent. Enter Kwang Ae Chang.

Being the constant observer that I am, I notice Kwang finishing up with a customer. Customer gets out of the chair, reaches for his wallet, and forks over the cash. Kwang gratefully takes the cash, deposits it in the klunky old register, and gestures for the next customer. He waves a "no thanks," indicating that he's waiting for one of the male barbers. Thanks a lot. That means I'm next. So Kwang looks at me, and as I look deeply in her eyes, I can tell she's saying, "Please, Dyckerson. Do not forsake me like that other gentleman. I am but a simple woman who came to your country in hopes of living a humble life as a haircutter. I do not ask for much. Just allow me to trim your follicles."

Now how can I guy turn her away? So I put down my copy of Bass Weekly and head for the chair. Everything proceeds like a normal haircut. A little off the top; tapered on the sides and the back. Nothing fancy here. It is at the end of the haircut that things take an odd turn.

After she finishes cutting, I'm all prepared to get up and reach for my wallet, just like her previous customer had done. But lo and behold, what is this?!! I feel her hands around my neck!! What in the world is she doing? Wait a minute, hold the phone... She's SQUEEZING my neck!! OUCH, what the fuck?!! Holy Jesus in Heaven above, why is this chink squeezing my neck?!!

I'm speechless. All I can do is sit here being held captive in a barber's chair lifted 3 feet off the ground. Seconds feel like hours as she squeezes my neck not once, but TWICE. I've had a lot of haircuts in my time, but never in my life have I gotten the Chinese neck torture. What is this?? The barber version of the "happy ending"?? I've never felt so dirty and violated in my life. Finally, she lowers the chair, and I stumble to my feet, still shaking from this unsolicited and quiet painful physical contact. I quickly pay the fifteen bucks and get the hell out of there.

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So that's the story. I have returned to Fadool's several times since then, and thankfully I've yet to re-encounter the infamous Kwang Chang. But I every time I see a barber pole, I am haunted by her memory. I don't know if there's a support group for people who've gone through this... but dammit, there oughtta be.

2 comments:

KaLeigh said...

Talk about a cliffhanger... So what was the dealio?... Got me curious now... I'm a hairdresser and I've never heard of nor seen anything like that... Bizarre.

Mighty Dyckerson said...

Beats me.

A while back, someone told me it might be some Asian form of expressing gratitude (???). A simple "thanks" would've been plenty.

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