Getting A Haircut Abroad: A Dreaded Necessity

Posted by on Nov 6, 2010 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

For anyone who has traveled extensively, there are some things that you need to tend to that you cannot wait until you’re in the familiar comforts of your homeland to take care of. For me, one of these necessities would be getting a haircut.

Anyone who’s had a haircut abroad knows the fear that’s associated with leaving the snip behind the scissors in someone else’s hand, especially of someone whom you can’t communicate with. Not to mention, the daring array of hairstyles I’ve encountered in my travels have the potential to rouse fear in even the most fearless.

I’ve been living in Spain for awhile now and my first couple of haircuts here passed without incidence, but I credit that to getting it cut in Marbella, a nearby trendy and touristy coastal town. However, I live in Algeciras, more known for it’s industrial port than cutting edge anything, where I’m likely the only American within the city’s limits Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it out to Marbella this time around and had to venture out in Algeciras and hope for the best.

Luckily there is no shortage of “peluquerias” in Algeciras, and after a bit of asking around was able to walk-in at a salon I was recommended. Is there anything to be said that made this experience much different from a haircut in the States? Not really. I was greeted by the token gay stylist, had the same standard scalp massage/shampoo and was led to the chair to explain what I wanted. This is where I started to sweat a bit. What if I mixed up the words in Spanish and walked out with the ever-popular Rasta-dreads-mullet I see adorning so many Spanish heads?

Thankfully it went much easier than expected, and I chatted it up my friendly new stylist who gave me (almost) exactly what I wanted. Lesson learned? Getting your haircut in a different country is a great cultural experience that not every traveler gets. It provides an opportunity to practice your language skills and experience life like a local, even if only for an hour. The best part is, regardless if you emerge from the salon or barbershop worse than when you entered, it will grow back!

If you ever find yourself in Spain, or any other Spanish-speaking country for that matter, here is a list of helpful phrases should you happen to need a haircut:

Me gustaría un corte de pelo. I’d like to come in for a haircut.

¿Puedo venir sin tener una cita? Can I come in without an appointment?
Necesito un corte de pelo. I need a haircut.
¿Cuanto tengo que esperar? How long is the wait today?
Quiero un recorte. I want a trim.
Por favor, hazlo un poco mas corto. Please cut it a little shorter.
Lo quiero largo. I want it long.
Me gustaría escalado/liso/rizado. I like it layered/straight/curly.
Esta bien asi. That’s fine like that.

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