Sunday, July 20, 2014


My barber, Ms. Eom (pronounce it somewhere between "Awm" and "Um"):

I went for my final session with the cheapest barber in town yesterday. She's quick; she does the same haircut for all the guys; she complains about the customers who can't speak Korean; she's got a raging southern accent that rakes across my ears and makes her extremely hard to understand. I'm proud if I catch even a third of what she's saying to me.

Most of the salons and barbershops in town charge around W10,000 for a standard cut; Ms. Eom charges W8,000. She had been recommended to me by a colleague who goes to her routinely, and I quickly became a believer. Despite her pushy-ajumma exterior, Ms. Eom is a nice lady; the past few sessions, she's complimented me on my perceived weight loss, which is awfully nice of her (it would be too much to expect Koreans not to call attention to my weight at all, so focused are they on externals). And she really is quick: I doubt I've ever spent more than ten minutes, tops, at her place. That's how all barbers should be.

I wanted to take her picture before leaving, just something to remember her by, but she refused. Instead, she said we could connect via KakaoTalk, and her Kakao profile would contain pictures. That's where the above image comes from.

So—goodbye, Barber-ella! It's been real. Not sure I'll ever come back to Hayang, but we'll always have KakaoTalk.


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