Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I miss my eyebrows

Yesterday I got a haircut. Alla selected the hairdresser, thoughtfully choosing the most ordinary-looking woman in the shop. She stayed long enough to make sure we shared a mutual understanding of what we wanted for a haircut and then she left me alone with Rita.

The first thing Rita did was to prepare me for the work to follow. In Boston I would prepare myself by taking off my shirt and putting on a clean smock. This shop offered me no such luxury, but instead Rita tore off a length of crepe paper and wrapped it around my n
eck above my shirt. The tape stuck to itself and I found myself in a snug but high paper collar. Next, she wrapped a waterproof cape around me and turned the crepe paper collar over the neck of the cape.

Thus prepared, Rita washed my hair. In Boston I would be lying on my back at this point. In Minsk we lean forward in the barber chair and stick our faces in a sink under the mirror. This seemed fine at first, but when the water ran around my cheeks and mounted an assault on my nostrils I adjusted my head angle and tried to breathe out more than I breathed in.

Once she had me dried off, Rita gave me a pretty normal haircut. That is to say, she cut it shorter than I wanted. When it was all over, she asked me if I would like her to trim my eyebrows. Knowing that I have a few wild hairs up there, I said yes and closed my eyes. She combed and trimmed. I didn’t really think about the result until I looked into the mirror to shave the next morning, but now that I’ve noticed, I’m quite aware of the difference. I wonder how long it takes for eyebrows to grow back.

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