The young man in the barbershop spoke a little English and when I tried to mime what I wanted (which was for him to use the trimmer without a guard to bring it down close and the same length all around), he asked, ‘skinhead?’ While not something with positive connotations for me, clearly he understood. In the end, for one hundred baht (less than three dollars at the current rates), I got a haircut and my beard trimmed (though a little more shaped than I like; I prefer a level of natural roughness to it). The young barber used a straight razor, which is a wonderfully decadent experience. At once frightening, elegant, and liberating. He was very polite and we communicated a little. This part of the Ramintra neighborhood is not known for ‘farang’ – foreign – visitors or residents, so I’m guessing that I was his first white customer.

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