Ladies and Gentlemen I had one of the most interesting experiences since I have come to China so far.  As a Black woman I do not go to the hair salons here; for  the Black women that read this blog, the obvious reasons to the others, because they do not know how to do Black hair or even heard of it for that matter.  So, last night my trusty Irish co-teacher and I were walking around town.. and she said she wanted to get her hair cut and asked me where she should go.   (why she asked me? I suppose since I had been in China longer she figured I would know…she obviously also does not know the difference in hair care between the ethnic groups…) However, I remembered I had a formal student that owned a hair salon not far from where we were.

I called her and she was happy to meet us at her salon.   As we were walking there, my co-teacher asked me why I choose this place out of the hundres in town.. I said.. it was close and I knew the owner and in China .. connections are everything. She agreed.

When we arrive we beat my former student there… so we were standing out side her salon to wait for her and saw about 15 attractive, metro looking men working inside the salon.. and about 5 of them had noticed that we were standing out front.  We are foreigners so.. we kind of stand out.

Luckily, my student walked around the corner 5 minutes later.  She was very excited to see me and gave me a very big hug… and quickly rushed us inside her little shop.  The shop was small about 5 people could stand side by side for the width.. and about 12 people could stand the length of it.  It had 5 salon chairs on either side with mirrors on the wall.. a small desk at the very back and a little room that only two people could stand in .. had a little sink chair to wash hair.. and a very small sofa in the farthest corner.  Quite small even for Chinese standards.. but crowded.  Along with the workers.. who were all male.. there was two female customers and one male customer and us.

By the time we had walked in and viewed the situation, all 15 men became interested in us and wanted to help us …. so they sat my friend in a salon chair and then quickly sat me in a chair beside her…. then someone quickly brought us some chrysanthemum tea.

My student (whose English was not as good as it use to be) figured out that we wanted to cut and color my friend’s hair.   She had decided to color it on the way to the salon.  Nothing drastic just back to the natural medium brown color and trim the ends and give her some sweeping bangs.

I was able to confer all this information to my student and she quickly ordered the young men around in the salon.   They quickly started a kind of fanciful dance around the tiny salon.

We had one guy that was constantly sweeping the floor, another standing in the doorway greeting people and trying to get them to come into the salon, another one that was getting other customers tea, and another behind the counter… he was money collector and DJ, since it seemed  he was changing the music from Chinese music to .. Beyonce when we were getting settled.  They all wore black and white.. with creative hairstyles and hair colors.  Most were very attractive in the baby face, metro boy way.  They all had beautiful smiles.. and really good skin… so clear… and would shyly look away if we made too much direct eye contact.

The others were working on other customers… about 3 to 4 men per woman,  with only one, working on the man.  Yeah, I know…. so.. my student explained that they would be washing her hair first…. I passed that information on to her.. she said okay.. and then three men took her away to the back area to wash her hair.

My student then informed me that she was 4 months pregnant and that she had just purchased a Condo behind the shop… she wanted to show me the place.. so I told my friend I would be right back…

She took me to her new home and her husband.. who by the way had also been a student of mine long ago…. was painting … (I remembered when I saw him that he also was very attractive and metro looking…) Her home was nice and she told me that they had paid.. 1 million rmb for it…. (seeing as the average Chinese worker gets only about 2000 to 4000 rmb a month) this took a lot of saving and was a big accomplishment.

We walked back to the shop as caught up on what we had both been doing…and promised to keep in touch better.   We arrived back to the salon to find that my little friend was in her chair now drinking tea while one man was cutting her hair and another was sweeping up the hair and another was watching the one cut her hair…. (what service) …. it was a little warm in the shop because there was a chinese woman next to my friend that was getting her hair permed the old-fashioned way… with the giant octopus machine that looked like big jumper cables hooked all over her head.  It was amazing.. just like something out of the 1950’s or should I say 40’s.  I asked my student about it .. and she said that the girl had to sit there for 3 hours… I was horrified…. but the young lady sat there patiently drinking her tea.

My student and I sat outside for a few minutes and I quietly asked her how much this was going to cost.  She said hold on and went back into the shop and whispered to the main guy that was cutting my friend’s hair… after about a 5 minute discussion she came back out with a menu … she told me that for a normal high quality color (like my friend was getting) it was 398rmb.. and for the cut 80rmb.. however… she was giving it all to us for 100rmb…(yeah I know .. the connections pay off here) .. she asked me if that was okay… and I said that is wonderful… and gave her a hug and said thank you.  She smiled and said.. your my teacher.  As if to say.. duh?

I glanced in the window and my little Irish friend was mouthing some words to me that I could not understand.. so I had to go back in… she was saying that the cut looked good… and so did the man doing her hair… I just laughed out loud.  My student informed me that she needed to get back home.. her little son was eating and she had to get back.  I said okay… and thank you so much … we all said our good byes.. and she left…That left us with the metro boys and two other customers.

Now the excitement was beginning…. (smile).. their boss was gone and they were free to be themselves.  I could tell by the change in the atmosphere things were about to become interesting.

My little Irish friend was kind of giggling and making eye contact in the mirror with the handsome stylist that was now blow drying her hair after her cut… so it could be dry when they put the dye on her hair… as he was drying it they both kept smiling at each other… and she kept glancing at him… and then back at me … whispering that he was sexy and that his shirt was open and she could see he was a little more manly than the rest of them because he had a couple of hairs on his chest.  (smile).. I laughed and said really?  so I quickly stood up and looked closely at his chest…smiling and said.. yeah.. I see them… and he was a bit embarrassed and closed his shirt a little and looked away……we all laughed out loud.  There was a switch in men.. when a younger man… (looked like a boy around 13 years old) but in China who knows… took over the coloring part… his hair was standing about 6 inches off the top of his head… in a 1980’s boy band kind of style… that was dyed bright red… not orange.. but red… interesting against his .. baby face.. and petite body.  … she said to me that he was not as attractive, she liked the other one…. I said his face is cute… she said.. you sure like them young… we both laughed…at that … I said.. noo.. I just like a pretty boy… she was like .. I like a little more manly… as we discussed our tastes in English.. we could see they were really trying hard to understand what we were saying.  Getting closer and closer.

I whispered to my friend… you know how much this service normally costs… she said how much?  I said.. for the color… like 400 rmb and for the cut 80 rmb… she said .. that is too expensive I don’t have that kind of  money to spend … I said don’t worry .. you know how much she is charging you…. she said how much .. I said.. 100rmb….. she was like… woo… thank goodness you are with me… I said… That’s How I roll…. ….we started laughing….

Then to my surprise.. the main stylist pulled up a stool beside me.. and a piece of paper and pen and begin to ask me questions in Chinese.  Simple things at first… where am I from?  where was she from?  What is my name?  What is her name? etc.  I also asked him his name and age… which we found out was the same age as my Irish friend.. that made her smile.

Then we got to … does she have a boyfriend… ?  Do I have a boyfriend?  Well.. like clock work as soon as he asked me that question…. My Husband Called me.(smile)... he was on a business trip to Qingdao, which is about a 16 hour drive away from where I was… and just like always .. he knows exactly when to call.. right when I could have got myself into a lot of trouble.   (smile)  How does he do that?

I told the boys it was my husband .. and walked outside to take the call…. My husband asked me right off the bat.. where are you?   (smile).. I told him I was at my student’s hair salon with the other foreign teacher and that she was getting her hair cut and dyed… he asked me if I was okay.. and I said .. yes I am good… and he then asked if I was being good…. (smile).. I said… always… and he just laughed.   After going over some other personal stuff….He asked me to speak to my Irish friend so he could say hello…(I know he was doing a double check to make sure I was telling the truth.. he isnt sly) She said hello and told him what she was doing… (he must of asked her) then said be careful and good-bye.. I went back outside to give my mushy I love yous…..When I came back into the shop to find that my little friend now had 6 men working over her head at the same time…. I sat down and she smiled back over at me and said…with a gleam in her eye…. “I love China” …. we just busted out laughing…

After about 15 more minute of washing and drying of her hair.. they started to style it … they actually did a wonderful job…. well they should have with so many men working on her head at the same time… It made me kind of envious that they did not know how to do my hair… (smile)…

After the hair was finished… someone broke out a camera… and then we became the stars of China… they were snapping photos and then changing places so all 15  could get in or so the boys could get a chance to take a photo with us… in groups and one on one…. I got the main guy’s phone number and QQ number so I could make sure that I got copies of the photos.. so as soon as I get them I will post them on this blog….

We made sure that all phone numbers were exchanged and contact information was known…. (ahem.. for my Irish friend of course… I love my husband dearly….and he is pretty sexy himself) … but it is nice to know that other men find you attractive.

After we left the salon in which .. all the men left their other customers to come to the door to wave us good-bye… we met another student and foreign teacher at a tea house… (it was still early only 8:30 pm).

There we shared our wonderful outing to our male colleagues. Not surprisingly, they did not find it as thrilling as we did… I guess you had to be there.  (smile) …..

We sat at the teahouse and chatted as my male student served us and brought us small snacks and tea… the men in China really do take care of women.

From the salon to the teahouse…. we did not lift a finger.. they  served us the whole time… and would not let us pay at the tea house…My Irish friend and I decided we were going to try the massage parlor next time we have a girl’s outing…. and see what trouble we can get into there….(smile)

I really will have to agree with my Irish friend…. I Sooo Love China

until next time….