Four years ago I wrote a post entitled, “Haircuts when traveling” and I really meant what I wrote…one of my favorite things to do while traveling internationally is to get a haircut and I have now patronized barber shops on every continent but Antarctica. But after my latest haircut in a village outside of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe yesterday, my days of getting haircuts outside of Los Angeles are over.
My wife Heidi and I struck up a conversation with Caleb, the cook at our lodge, and he invited us to his neighborhood, outside the rather sterile and highly overpriced city of Victoria Falls. After his morning shift ended, we walked with him to his own home, a humble but respectable dwelling several blocks beyond the city proper.
Nearby was a village where fresh fruits and vegetables were selling for literally 1/5 to 1/10 the price of the tourist grocery store in town and the fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains looked excellent – there will be a photo trip report in due time.
My hair was overgrown on the sides and the back so I figured it would be cool to get trim in Zimbabwe. I asked Caleb if there was a barber and he nodded and said, “Sure, and it will only be $1.” (the de facto currency used in Zimbabwe is the dollar).
My dear wife, who spent a year in South Africa, warned me against letting a black person in Africa cut my hair. “Your hair is different and he has probably never cut a white person’s hair. It will not turn out well. Trust me Matthew!”
Caleb said the barber would have no trouble cutting my hair and we walked over to the barber shop, a small room with a dirt floor and the only light streaming in from a broken window.
I sat down, the barber covered me in a scratchy blanket, and I explained that I wanted only the back and sides trimmed: the top was to be left uncut. He nodded his head in agreement and asked me how short I wanted the sides. He suggested “2” and I countered, “3” (referring to clipper guard number).
Before I could even protest, my hair was gone…
He went right for the top of my head and took off the hair that I have worked the last eight months to grow. Gone in 10 seconds! I was shocked, but it was too late. What was the point of getting mad now? I let him finish and handed him his dollar.
I still need a haircut because he didn’t even do the back and sides right—the back is somehow still straggly and he left my sideburns bushy. Sorry, no pictures.
So now, I have my Air Force haircut back and am frankly stressed out that I am a few years from looking like Prince William or Jude Law if I don’t start Propecia. Long hair does wonders to cover a receding hairline and that trick is now unavailable!
As I walked out of the barbershop, Heidi laughed at me. “See, I told you,” she said.
Yes she did. From now on, I will only get my hair cut in LA.