Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Barberian Rules

I think it's about time I talk about deeper and more profound topics. Namely, Indonesian men and haircut. This is a sensitive issue because a lot of hidden ethics are in play. And there's no written guide for the average Budi (Joe in English).

The first and foremost rule is: Never discuss another man's hairdo openly. Leave the "Hey, nice haircut. Where did you get it?" chit chat to women. Traditional men will only say such if it's an insult. "Nice haircut. Where did you get it? The woodshack?"

"What happened to you?" (with a mock-up expression) is acceptable. "Moonlighting as a scarecrow, Di?" is normal among friends. Other times you may get, "Lemme guess, your barber's a direct descendant of Picasso."

Second, never trade barbershop information. Don't ask, don't tell. Unless you have a problem with your barber. So, by asking, you're publicly admitting that you have a problem. Which is as challenging for traditional Indonesian men as gnawing their own legs off. Women are free from these restrictions. They can share their haircare safehavens to the whole world.

And third, when you enter a barbershop, NEVER chicken out. Not even when there are signs of trouble, such as:

  1. Showcasing hairdo samples from the days when Michael Jackson was black.
  2. Displaying pictures of Mr. T or Telly Savalas.
  3. You notice blood stains on the white cloth the barber covers you with.
  4. The next guy in line was praying. Hard.
  5. The barber wears a pair of sunglasses.
  6. And he searches his tools by feeling around the entire table.
  7. Especially if his tools include a medical kit.
Exit is only acceptable in cases of long queue or the presence of more important tasks, such as defending the world from alien attacks or attending the needs of your spouse.

If, and only if, you don't like the haircut, then you can complain. Because by then, you'll have a problem. You can choose to ask other men for advice. Or gnaw your own legs.

Those are the rules. Or should I say "were." Because along came metrosexual men. And chaos ensues.

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