After almost three months on the road, I finally got a haircut in Ayutthaya. I had been meaning to do it in Laos – really just to be able to say that I had a haircut in Laos – but the opportunity never really came up. Then finally on our third day in Ayutthaya (and certainly the most laid back of the three days we spent there), we came across a hair dresser in the market that didn’t look busy which was perfect since I hate waiting to get my hair cut.
For some strange but appropriate reason, the hair dresser is a non-English speaking – and I mean none – transgender woman. First thought: “This is a better story than Laos already”. I sit down and roll the dice. She starts off pretty timidly which is funny cause I really couldn’t care much about my hair and it was obvious she was worried about the lack of direction I was giving. I try and make some hand wavy gestures about a part and smile reassuringly. She seems to gain more confidence as it goes on.
As she is cutting my hair, in walks a woman and cradled in her arms is what looks like a baby’s corpse. Ok, so it wasn’t dead. But the boy – maybe three years old – looked so comatose that my initial thought was “Cool, this place is both a hair salon AND an emergency ward cause that boy is DEAD!”
To my amazement, the woman sits down in the chair next to mine and the second barber starts to shave the boys head with the clippers. The mother holds the boy’s head in her hands shifting it from side to side as needed while the barber maneuvers the sheers around his skull.
No kidding but it was the strangest thing to watch. You could have struck that boy with a cattle prod and he wouldn’t have woken up. I started to wonder if this was some kind of tradition around here or if mothers just don’t like the resistance they get from their children to haircuts and opt to just chloroform the stuffing out of their kids instead. Either way, it worked like a charm. Out she walked, boy still dead to the world but hair shaved quite close, and not a sound to be heard from him.
As for me, I got something close to a useful hair cut (not short enough) and paid my $2 for the work. Mission accomplished but I wonder what the young boy must think when he wakes up to find his hair is gone.