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BARBERSHOP BLUES

Honi soit qui mal y pense


My hair is bleached and it has been for years.  And I mean "really" bleached. It took me several years to get into my hairdressers heads that I wanted WHITE hair. Emulating a natural blonde was never my thing. I wanted the artificial. Keeping the stereotype of attractiveness without that of stupidity. At least in my mind. But then again I have always been very eclectic what enters the self-construction of my identity and what doesn´t.

The first time it happened was kind of an accident. I kept it.
Partly because of recognizablity (I know that on several occasions people have been sent in my direction with the words:"Look for Iris with the white hair"). Partly because, believe it or not, the blonde factor exists. Don´t you deny it! Attention, male or female, went way up as soon as I joined the peroxide-brigade. 
I swear there is a point to all this beyond the intense love affair I have with my haircuts. (I know that all of you just sit there and think: When is she going to start about dicks? Hang in there, no pun intended.)
I have enjoyed being a blonde immensely.
From affectionatly being called "the little blonde" to making up ludicrous stories (for whoever was stupid enough to believe them or in need of entertainment) about the traumas that made my hair go white.  But I start to feel a little too grown up for it. Gasp! The bad word. Forever young. Forever infantalized. Forever blissful ignorance.
Well, you may have had a bloody good time growing up. I didn´t. So my "youth" is not this glorified era of perfect skin and perfect skinny jeans. It´s one of the darker drawers in my memory that I only open on special occasions.
Having white hair is time and cost consuming. Not that "that" matters, it just depends on your attitude. When you are out of money at the end of the month what do you buy? Groceries or cigarettes? Right.
When I started this journey I vowed not to cut (or bleach) my hair for three years.*
Except for my mini undercut. The hair on the right side of my head, in an arc from my temple to behind my ear is clipped.
That said, when you are a traveller regularly making the choice between food and cigarettes how much are you willing to pay for a haircut? Right. A girl at the skydive shop, sporting a serious mohawk, told me to go to the barbershop instead of a lady hairsalon. Way cheaper. Armed with sensible piece of advice and the luck of the Irish in the form of Laura, I went to town (or in the case of Taupo, two streets down) to the next barbershop.

I walk up to the girl behind the counter asking to get my under-cut redone. An insecure shift of the eyes to her colleague hard at work at a middle aged customer bodes no good. Said colleague, bearing a striking resemblance to a pumpkin on legs, barely turns her head before she dismisses my qualities as a prospective patron.

"Oh no honey, we only do boys here.", she informes me.
"But it´s only an undercut, not even a whole one, i´ll take five minutes.", I plead.
"Sorry sweetie, we had to make a rule.", not even turning her head this time.

Well, thank you so bloody much. You won´t cut my hair because I have a vagina, you cunt?!  Is that some kind of post-feminist joke that I am not in on? Seriously. I storm into the store next door to deliver my outrage to Laura who is browsing through some hippie gear.

"They won´t cut my hair because I don´t have a penis!", I declare, to the obvious amusement of Laura and the shop owner. (Really people. As entertaining as my tantrums may be, they are to be taken serious!) The shop owner, obviously just escaped from some kind of renaissance-fair, decides to put in her two cents:

"That´s a bit racist isn´t it?", she says batting her Betty Davis eyes.

Er, sure. Pumpkin didn´t want to cut my hair because she thought I was german.*
That must be it.

In the end I did get my haircut. (In a barbershop!) After some discussion with the boss lady, permission was given and I was in and out in two minutes.

"That´ll just be a fiver, dear."

 That´s how much it costs to be a man in New Zealand.




* Yes, save for maitenance, pedantic person that I won´t mention by name.
Some people have this way of destryoing a perfectly well-rounded narrative you have built around yourself with common sense. As I am usually the one that delights in doing that I have no understanding for it whatSOever.

*Quite understandable, because NZ is full of them.