Wednesday, February 18, 2004

haircuts and skull massages

I'm a regular customer at the Hair ID salon across from the front gate of Korea University. I normally visit the place in the early afternoon, if possible, and present them with five weeks' rampant hair growth. The women bring out the various tools of the trade-- their scalpels, power drills, hammers, throwing knives, electrodes, and on one memorable occasion, a well-lubed dildo-- and go to town on my scalp. As with many campus-area salons, the staff tend to be young, slim, and inveterate smokers. I've never seen them smoke, but the habit is deeply inscribed in their breath.

The haircut process is a bit more involved than the typical service in the US. Shampooing is free (at Hair ID, the standard treatment for a guy sets you back only 7000 won, or barely $6, if that-- AND NO TIP), and they clean your crevices out pretty thoroughly. By the time you leave, you should be able to dig your finger into your ear canal, scrape your earlobes thoroughly with a fingernail, and not see a single bit of hair. I've never had that experience at a salon in America, and this is another reason why I love my dragon-breath dildo-ladies at Hair ID.

Today, however, I chose to visit the salon in the evening, around 7:45. It was a different crew, and while the standard treatment was almost the same as what I'd normally get in the afternoons, I got something extra this evening.


Jesus, you people are either sick, or you have my best interests in mind.

No, alas, my dingle did not know the sweet caress of tobacco-infused lips and ciggie-fermented tongue. Instead, I got a skull massage.

I need to preface what follows by noting that, while I've given massages, I've only rarely received them. At APIC, my old job in DC, we used to have a massage therapist come in, maybe once every three months. The guy, Greg, explained his technique to me one time while I was draped over a metal apparatus that left my limbs hanging free, like those pictures of jaguars lounging on tree branches. Greg said that our 20-minute session would involve various massage techniques ranging from deep-tissue pounding/pressure to the more standard rubs (NO, THE APIC STAFF NEVER RECEIVED BLOWJOBS, DAMMIT! NOW STOP!). It'd be a little of everything: shiatsu, Swedish, and whatever else could be squeezed into the short time frame. The APIC staff probably enjoyed about a year of Greg's ministrations before we had to tighten the budget. In the meantime, I became somewhat familiar with what various massage techniques feel like.

So it was something of a surprise to find myself in a salon chair this evening, my newly-shorn coiffe weighed down with shampoo, and a cute little 20-something lady attempting to perform deep-tissue massage on my HEAD.

Did you ever see the film of the guy who placed his head inside a crocodile's mouth? He did it as a stunt, but in the film in question, a single drop of sweat left his forehead and plunked onto the croc's tongue, thereby causing the croc's jaws to close lightning-fast, pinning the guy's skull in a vise-like grip.

That's about what this massage felt like, but strangely better.

So maybe, from now on, I'll have to start visiting the evening crew of Hair ID. A man could get addicted to having his head treated like a major muscle group.


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