Saturday, March 04, 2006

talkin' trash

I finally got a much-needed haircut at one of the better salons in my neighborhood. The guy cutting my hair expressed relief that I could speak Korean (even though the conversation had its fits and starts). He told me about a German dude who came to the salon with his girlfriend. The German guy would tell his girlfriend what style he wanted, and she would interpret for him.

I asked the stylist (I hesitate to call him a barber) how he normally dealt with foreign customers who couldn't speak a word of Korean. "We show them photos, and they point out the style they want," he said. I've never done that before, whether in Switzerland or in Korea. Had I gotten into that habit, I would have learned a lot less vocabulary.

The grunt-and-point method might be easy, but it's better to try and talk your way through to the style you want. It doesn't require difficult vocabulary, either, and if you listen carefully to the stylist as s/he echoes your instructions, you'll probably notice that s/he is repeating what you're saying, but in the correct form. Listen for that, learn the correct form, and use it next time around.

The guy asked me whether I normally used a single salon, or tried different salons each month. I told him I'd been using one particular salon for a couple months, but had dropped them. The stylist got curious and asked me why I dropped them, so I told him about how they'd served latecoming customers ahead of me. "Which salon was this?" he asked, and I laughed. "It's OK if you don't tell me," he said. I waved vaguely toward another part of the neighborhood. "It was somewhere over there," I said. "We take customers in the order they arrive," the stylist declared.

So, yeah-- I talked trash about a hair salon. Watcha' gonna do about it, punk?


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