If you were a Filipino, you could have dirtily smiled or slyly sneered from the title. This isn’t what Filipino boys consider the right to passage to manhood. Or probably it is, shortly after getting my cut- I felt like a new person. A new haircut that is. The outrageous price of a haircut in this side of the world has kept me from cutting my hair. I would often pass by barbershops and salons, and in fact actively sought one for a time, only to walk away not because of the incompetent barbers and hairdressers, but because of their asking price. Here, hairdressing is considered a skill that gives one the right to charge loads of money. One haircut here almost costs me my entire year’s budget for a monthly haircut back in the Philippines. To get a better comparison, the cost of the gel they put on my hair is more than one haircut in my country. I justified not to get one the last few months because it was cold anyway. I finally gave in after almost nine months. I got a quick fix last February courtesy of my Japanese classmate, who confessed I was his third or fourth ‘customer.’ The sun has been breaking in and it’s been getting warmer often lately, and it’s time to look fresh, new, and clean for the new semester and this spring.
Almost two weeks ago, the second and last day of my program’s student-organized forum ended and I needed to unwind. I am not in their class (theirs is one year ahead) although I was probably physically tired as they were. I worked as the photographer-cum-cameraman-cum-maintenance guy. I parted ways at the carpark with my other classmates and program manager who also worked with me. Being a Saturday, it was my last day to do something productive and recreational at the city center. The next day, Sunday, will make a ghost town of the place.
I went back and forth to two shopping malls to locate the Friseur a classmate recommended (he has a skinhead). I found it and a lady approached me. I asked if I needed an appointment to get a haircut (believe me, in this country, some do!), and she told me I didn’t need to. She asked me to sit on a chair near the washbasin and wait for my turn.
With my limited German, it took us almost 10 minutes of negotiation of what type of hairstyle I want. We browsed through magazines, only to find those swirls and asymmetrical locks. Nicht so komisch (not so weird), I said. I wanted it as short as possible, but not a skinhead. I settled with a George Clooney-ish cut of a guy in a magazine. As Sylvana began snipping away, I remembered the photos stored in my phone taken the day I left the Philippines. It could be a good basis. My hairdresser did a pretty good job and made me look like a modern Homo sapiens again. And so this how I got my haircut now, probably the best one I’ve had. Clean work.
My friends and neighbors barely recognized me after getting used to seeing me with my rugged football star ‘do. “Siehst gut aus!,” (You look good!) they would say. I want to reply, Wie immer! Aber natuerlich, das ist teuer! (Like always! But of course, it is expensive). Next to a sim card for my phone and an umbrella, it’s probably one of the most expensive service I availed here in Germany. I wonder how long I can maintain “the look.” As for the next one, I couldn’t really tell when I could get again. Perhaps it will be until after another six months, when I get another German cut.