Delhi Barber

A Downside to My Peripatetic Lifestyle


Most people are monogamous and have a regular who services them, but not me. You could say that I have no loyalty, but due to my peripatetic lifestyle I almost always end up doing it with a random stranger out of necessity rather than choice. 

I usually get it from a women, but I occasionally get it from men. I am not picky. In fact, a young gay boy in Bali gave me one of the best I’ve ever had.

I have found that language barriers aren’t any real issue, because English speakers often do not do it right even though I describe exactly what I want. I got an excellent one from a boy on a sidewalk in Mumbai for $2 even though he didn’t speak English, although his friend did interpret. I have enough Spanish vocabulary to get what I want in Latin America, although last fall a lady in Puebla chatted at me the entire time and I understood almost nothing she said.

Last year I did it eight times in three different states and two different countries all with different people. Sometimes I can get it for about $4 in places like Thailand, but in Alaska I am often charged nearly $30! Last summer I had a friend do it for free, although I did buy her a drink later.

My wife gets mad at me when I am impatient and go to a walk-in place. I am rarely satisfied with the results of a really cheap one. She’d be more approving if I went to a higher class establishment with skilled professionals who take appointments.

Yes, getting a haircut for someone who is always on the move is quite a challenge.

**It should be noted that Ginger in Oklahoma does a great job, but it isn’t that often that the stars align and I need a haircut and I’m visiting my home state. Such is life.

Posted by

Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

40 thoughts on “A Downside to My Peripatetic Lifestyle”

  1. Kat says:

    I was trying to figure out what you were alluding to. Then I scrolled the page up and saw the feature image hahaha…

  2. Chuckle. I do know what you mean. It was part of the reason I ended up getting a buzz cut thinking it would be foolproof. Wrong. We finally caved and bought our own buzzer. Now it’s exactly right every time, and we do it for each other 🙂

    • You took this problem to its logical conclusion! Now you don’t have to worry about it. I may do the same.

  3. Oh my, good thing I looked at your picture before I read the post! I always do it for my husband. And to think, I never thought of you as high maintenance!

    • That is the problem – I am not high maintenance. I can’t even imagine someone with a complicated hair style dealing with this. As simple as I am, it gets messed up!

  4. Haha. Haircuts by strangers are definitely traumatic – this is why a baseball cap is a permanent part of my travel wardrobe!

  5. Steve C says:

    I’m mostly bald and wear a hat most of the time when I’m out and about. I know what ;you mean by getting a haircut by a stranger. I’ve done it many times around the globe but cannot remember being dissatisfied. I once got a haircut and beard cut in Varanese, India for 26 cents and it was one of the best I’ve ever had, anywhere. He did it with only a scissors and comb in only about 5 minutes! Just shows ta go ya.

    • Some of those guys on the street are artists. Maybe they’ve had to learn to be better since they don’t have electrical razors?

  6. Funny you should mention that. My regular is gone and I’ve been having different people cut my hair in the same place and it’s always an adventure – with the last one a near disaster. Apparently you don’t have to have a peripatetic lifestyle to get bad haircuts. Thanks for the new word.

    • It can be traumatic losing the person who knows your head, all your cow licks, all the oddities of your hair, how you like it styled. Hopefully you can find someone to satisfy your needs in the near future!

  7. My extended trip last year was the first time I got haircuts not in the city where I live. It was quite fun! A slightly creepy middle-aged man in Penang, a very fast and efficient guy in Goa, a ‘yes man’ who cut my hair a bit too short in Pokhara, they were all interesting. Fortunately none was disastrous. James was a little unlucky though.

    • You really got around on that trip. You were on the road so long you needed a few haircuts. Glad none of them were tragic. We need to see if James has any pics of his.

  8. HA! Fun post. Love the innuendo. But you really gave it away with the photo up there at the beginning. Although you may have done that on purpose to ensure we were not shocked. But…how did you know the gay boy was gay? Haircuts from strangers for me are always a trauma. Something to do with a bad one when I was a kid, maybe. My haircuts in Abu Dhabi cost me $35, plus tip. My haircutter is bald, from Syria…been going to him for like 8 years now.

    • $35 for a haircut – that is so expensive. Funny that a bald guy does a good job, although I guess he isn’t cutting his own hair. The boy in Bali may not have been gay, but her sure acted like it. At least that is what I think. I have no personal experience.

      I may change that opening photo for shock effect in the future.

      • I know…35 bucks, plus a dang tip! There are Indian cutters here who do a good job, but they don’t clean their tools. That bothers me a little…here. In India…you gotta do what you gotta do.

      • Yes, very true. In India I wouldn’t think twice, but anywhere else that would freak me out.

      • Right…in India, you got what you got and if you don’t got a pair of clippers, you got to sit down in that chair and not think twice. I got scabies once in India. Not from a barber…a shoeshine guy. Still creeps me out.

  9. ‘m easy but hate needing a cut when abroad, so I always go for a really serious cut before leaving. Apparently I remind my children of Dora the Explorer in the departure lounge…

    • That is one way to do it. I do the same thing even though my hair looks a little better longer.

  10. Good one, Jeff. As I was reading the first couple of paragraphs I was wondering what Kristi would make of it all. And yes, you gave it away with that classic header shot. I’ll admit I had to look up the word “peripatetic” as I hadn’t heard of it before!

    For Bama and I, the issue of getting a haircut was probably one of the biggest worries in our six-month trip. But it sure made for some memorable moments. The worst haircut I got was at a shopping mall in Ambon. I thought it would be a simple job but the barber couldn’t even make it straight on one side!! After we went back to the hotel, Bama had to tidy it up to make it look decent.

    The middle-aged guy in Penang who we found was more than just slightly creepy. Bama tells me the barber kept giggling while tickling his ears, saying how much he resembled some Indonesian film star. Then he pleaded with me if I could meet him the next time he came to Hong Kong. Even gave me his number (I didn’t reciprocate) and said he had extra rooms for us if we returned to Penang in the future. He actually did a very good job, but we were frozen with terror in the barber’s chair!

    • HAHAHAHA. Those are some good stories. You know, you are kind of stuck in the barbers chair if things go wrong. I guess you could get up halfway through and walk away, but that would be a big problem. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Jeff, it’s a good thing that you included the photo right up front. Otherwise, your post would’ve gotten shunted into the porno category by Google (and it may still anyway :). As I grow older, I’m convinced that I have the same amount of hair, but I’m certain that my head must be getting bigger. As others have said, when traveling, the key is short hair – for lots of reasons. BTW, you may have noticed that things have been quiet at Gallivance lately. Terri blew here knee out and had to have a total knee replacement surgery recently, so as you can imagine, her recovery and care have kept us both pretty busy. She’s progressing well, but it’s slow going. We haven’t forgotten about our friends and look forward to things getting back to normal. In the meantime, thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James

    • So sorry to hear about Terri. We wish her a speedy recovery!

      I should have put a different photo up there to keep everyone guessing the whole way, but that might have caused a scandal for those that didn’t read it all 🙂

Leave a Reply to badfish Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s