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  • September 2008
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Successful Ramadan Trip to the Saloon

A little while ago I posted about my desperate need for a Saloon this Ramadan.  Not for a pint, as you might suspect, but for a haircut.  Huh? A haircut at a saloon?  Yes, well, in fact this is the common (and amusing) misspelling and mispronunciation of “salon” in Arabic. You can find many saloons all over Amman, usually with an accompanying sign with amusing pictures (to the American eye anyway).  Previously I posted 6 pictures of nearby Saloons, asking for your input on which one I should go to.  There was a lively discussion in the comments about which 80s superstar some of the Saloon sign models looked like with nods to the Baldwin brothers and Rick Astley.

Your input was helpful, but in the end I went my own way (anyone surprised?) and chose option #6 – Fawzi’s Saloon.

Go to Fawzi's for a fine haircutif you are ever in Ashrafiyeh!  (Men only please)

Go to Fawzi's for a fine haircut, if you are ever in Ashrafiyeh. Men only, of course!

It may have been the allure of the Burt Reynolds ‘stache and ‘burns, but in the end it simply came down to geographic proximity and time.  Fawzi’s was closest – literally a block down the street.  Time was of the essence as I didn’t get out earlier in the day, so I had to wait until around 9 PM or so for barber shops like this one to reopen after iftar (the meal to break the Ramadan fast – many shopkeepers go home for an hour or two).

It was worth the wait. Sorry no pics – I’ll try to get some when I take Noah.  Fawzi’s is a small one chair shop.  And what a chair – it’s orange and black and chrome – like something from California in the 70s.  Lots of mirrors, some Qur’anic verses on the wall, a seating area for 3-4 people, some Arab language newpapers and a anti-smoking pamphlet next to the two ashtrays filled with cigarett butts.

A couple guys were sitting on the couch watching what I call theArab version of a soap opera on the small TV mounted on the wall between two mirrors.  Fawzi had a young guy in the chair – toucing up his sideburns with a dab of foam from a brush and the flick of an old-fashioned straight razor.  Nice!  We all exchanged pleasantries on the way in, but after that we were pretty much quiet until Fawzi finished up the two guys ahead of me.  Everybody was watching the TV.  Me too, but I was only catching every 10th word or so.  OK . . . maybe every 20th word.

The haircut was great. Fawzi was a good sport about my limited Arabic.  Actually I think it helped that I thought he said he had 11 sons, when he told me his oldest son “had 11 years.”  LOL.  We both got a big laugh out of that once we straightened it out.  We actually had a fair exchange re. our families and where I was from in Arabic. The haircut was good – but the shave was even better.  He did a really good job. That was actually the first time I ever had a shave like that – somebody holding a straight razor to my neck.  And  in the States I’m not much for the teeny-boppers at Sports Clips messing with my beard with clippers.  But I had an inkling that Fawzi was somewhat more experienced.

So here’s the results.

Shave and a haircut . . .

Before . . .

...and after!

...and after!

Haven’t gotten the final word from the wife as she was asleep when I wondered in an hour and a half after I had left for a “quick” haircut.  The beard might actually be a little too short – but it’ll grow back =)

The best part – the haircut and shave (with tip) – drum roll please . .  . 3 JD or right around $4.25!  Not the proverbial 2-bits, but pretty close.  Nice!

So let me know what you think.  The proper response in Arabic when you see someone who has had a haricut is “نَعيماً” or “na3iiman” – whether you think it looks good or not =).  This word means “grace” in Arabic.  I’m not sure if this means you look more graceful now or if God has been gracious in allowing you to have a haircut (which sounds about right in my case).  And then the person with the haircut would respond: ” الله ينعم عليك ” or ” Allah yan3am 3layk.”  Which I think literally means “God be gracious to you.”  So much more civilized than “nice haircut!”  and “thanks, man!”


5 Responses

  1. Nice haircut and shave! 🙂 I always wondered about those “before” and ‘after” pictures – see, you’re smiling too in the “after” one – tricky, huh? I was wondering what the girls do?!
    Wow, I’ve never blogged before…..
    Thinking about you all lots!

  2. Thanks Bette – we miss you guys too!

  3. You were looking a little scary in the before pic.
    Great haircut!! Miss you guys alot.

  4. Rebecca – wow! $50 is steep – esp. for a men’s cut. So what do you charge for your haircuts? And do you include a shave?

    Actually we’re on the wrong side of the exchange rate here to. A dollar US buys around 70 cents Jordanian. So some things (esp. food, and esp. food we like to typically eat) are much more expensive than in the States. But then things like haircuts are uber-cheap. I think on the haircuts in particular it’s a factor of small shops and lots of them. There’s almost 10 barbershops within a few minutes walk of me. They all seem to be well-established one-chair operations with little or no overhead. Unlike the States where a Sports Clips or Hair Cutters maintains a ton of equipment (even using new scissors etc. with each customer), I think Fawzi has been using the same scissors and straight razor since he opened his shop! =)

  5. For $4.25, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. We’re on the wrong side of the exchange rate here in England, so a simple hair cut costs close to $50. Needless to say, I’ve been cutting everybody’s hair on my own.

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