Gentlemen, when did you last have your hair cut with manual clippers, that is, without the insistent buzz of electric ones. My last time was a couple of weeks ago.
I think my previous such occasion until moving to Cambodia must have been when I was around 10 years old, so long ago that I have no confidence in the memory. (What I do remember is the Odell Hair Trainer, a cross between glue and shellac, that a Watertown, Mass. barber — yes, “barber” — used to sculpt my locks into a frozen wave mighty enough to make a surfer envious.)
About one thing my memory is quite clear, however. I know I never once had my hair cut al fresco. Here, I could.
I have no idea what my father forked over for a haircut in olden times, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more than I have been paying in Phnom Penh: $1.50 or $2, including tip. I so far have tried two different indoor “salons,” each with air conditioning, thus a price that is twice what Lin has been willing to spend without such an amenity. That’s right: 75 cents for him in shops that are open to the street.
At least his haircut was off the street, but some haircutting entrepreneurs opt for rent-free space. Whether they have to bribe the woefully underpaid police is unknown to me.
It is true that it doesn’t have be so cheap. I assume it is possible for a woman to spend more than $25 for what passes for a styling in some of the most expensive neighborhoods and possibly much more in a posh hotel.
Given my short hair, however, I don’t really see any point in spending more than a couple of bucks for a shearing that looks pretty much as it did in New York for 10 times the money.
You can get more than a trim in Cambodia’s tonsorial palaces — manicures, massages, shampoos and so on. I’d tell you what they cost, but I don’t want to ruin your day any more than perhaps I already have.