Haircut

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 9, 2003.

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    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 464
    (8/1/01 7:00:06 pm)
    | Del All Haircut
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    This morning as I was showering I noticed in the mirror that I need a haircut in a couple of days. I began to think about the haircuts I got in Vn. I would go to Papasan's barbershop, get in the chair and then it would happen...sleepy time!! I don't know what it was but, it seems that whenever I got a haircut I could hardly hold my eyes open. It would be hot and the little fan would be whirring away and then there was the sound of the clippers. I could feel my eyesballs starting to roll up into my head! Then there was that buzzy feeling or sound . When when the haircut was over, Papasan would do the massage thingy around the shoulders...Oh man!!! I felt like a wet noodle when I left there! If there had been a bed there in the barbershop I guess I would have laid down for a nap!

    dreamcatcher27371
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 144
    (8/1/01 7:47:26 pm)
    | Del Re: Haircut
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    Know what you mean, LarryJK. One of my most anxious moments when I arrived on my first tour and was sent down to Phu Quoc Island concerned my first in-country haircut. I needed a haircut and a friend who was also with the Junks took me to the little village of An Thoi. I mean this is primitive living. He led me through the dusty little dirt streets lined with thatch roofed huts and finally brought me to the "barber shop." This was one of the little huts and the barber was a skinny, little Vietnamese man. It was open air naturally and you know how hair sticks to your skin when its hot and humid. The little fellow was doing a pretty good job with his scissors while I was all laid on in his make-shift barber's chair with a scroungy towel laid over my chest. It was when I saw him get his straight-edge razor and strop it a couple of times on a leather belt that my anxieties peaked. I would have been such an easy target for him to drag that thing across my jugular. But he didn't. That was the last time I got a haircut in the boonies. On a return trip to Vietnam in 1990 I decided to get a haircut in a little shop beside the hotel. The girl poured gobs of shampoo on my dry hair, added a little water and gave me an unforgettable shampoo. You know how good it feels to lie there and have someone wash your hair!! Well, this was unforgettable because she scrubbed my scalp with her nails for so long a time that I actually developed scabs after a couple of days. Those were the first and second times only in my life that I wanted out of a barber's chair. Thanks for the memory jog..

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1322
    (8/1/01 9:13:21 pm)
    | Del haircuts
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    We could get it done back at SaDec or on a supply run to the huge Compounds like Vinh Long or CanTho. Or a yep to the nervousness Catch spoke of...

    The few times that I did get haircuts from the locals I always went in at least as one of a two and most often as a three member team. We went well armed...talking 26's and a thumper...smoke too...and I always!, always! humped one of atleast 3-4 but somehow I seem to recall maybe 4-5 Prick-25's and the newer 77's (krypto krap)...the compounds had. One 77 most often if the Ruff/Puff compounds could get their hands on one was always hooked to the 29er's (292 antennae tower)( a super pole actually) and it's back up.

    Even tho we knew this one particular fella well and had cut our hair before and for other members of Teams in the past. (MAT's were in a constant state of rotating out and replacement) . At some of the MAT's I understand that the local barbers would be summoned to the compounds to do their handiwork. At MAT 60, the policy was to spread the money around to help the villagers out ...buying fruits and vegetables, sodas, beer anything to..."win their hearts and minds" (remember that little gem).

    It was MAT policy always to be in at least twos everywhere they went for what ever the reason, and as stated...prefering three and again, with a prc -25 and well armed (considering our AO). Many times a hair cut was worked in while envolved with a Helps project in a ville these projects and programs often called for a platoon of Puffs to accompany us...this provided security for the MAT's as well as making a statement to the villes of " don't worry folks!, we're on the job" and to Charlie "yeah we'll dance ".

    Good Grief!, all that over a haircut.
    Good Post Lar.


    Edited by: homer4 at: 8/12/01 12:02:36 pm

    nighthawk
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 173
    (8/1/01 11:03:35 pm)
    | Del Re: haircuts
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    It's funny, thinking back on it now,,when every FNG got to our MACV unit , they were sent for a haircut, with the admonition that the previous barber had been killed as a VC during Tet '68.

    Needless to say, this added to the "pucker power" of the FNG's (myself included).

    But, I guess that was one of the "fun" things to do in-country,,scare the crap out of the FNG's,, (not that I would have ever done anything like that,,,lol)

    As it turned out, the 2 barbers had been there for about 4 years each. One was a disabled ARVN. The other was his father. They were both very good barbers. One of them could shave you so close, your face felt like a baby's bottom. (don't know about their politics)

    I never felt brave enough to get a haircut off base,, did not feel comfortable letting an unknown person scrape my throat with a razor,,
    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    hope6970
    Moderator
    Posts: 509
    (8/1/01 11:18:42 pm)
    | Del Re: haircuts
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    You guys talking about getting your hair cut reminded me of where I got mine done. Just a little trailer located by the 24th Evac and had a papasan who cut all the womens hair. There were a few girls who would do the womens nails if they wanted.

    The one thing that comes to mind was the bobby pins they used. Nothing like the Americans. They were a flat, very thin, rigid peice of flat wire that one side was a touch shorter then the other and the ends came to a point and were not coated. If you were sitting in the chair half asleep and got stuck with one of those bobby pins, it didn't take long to bring you back to reality. They never held in the hair very good, always would pop out.

    Now, don't you guys feel glad you didn't have to use bobby pins?......lol

    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 466
    (8/2/01 6:56:25 am)
    | Del Re: haircuts
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    Hope...are bobby pins still used today? I am trying to remember the last time I saw one. They were always good to clean inside your ear. Put a little piece of toilet paper around the curved-end and dig in! Better than a Q-Tip!!

    Edited by: LarryJK at: 8/2/01 7:57:07 am

    gene29223
    Moderator
    Posts: 155
    (8/2/01 12:51:32 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: haircuts
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    I just had to jump in on this one even though I'm not quite caught up on everything since my return from Vietnam last month.
    To put this into perspective:

    Reading over this post, I recalled a line or two a long time ago by our esteemed Senior Chief, J. Wilborn, about an his old hand operated clippers.

    I didn't have any problems with haircuts during my official tour of duty during '70-'71. Our old barber was a pro and he did that massage thing that put me to sleep every time.

    I made my first trip back to Viet Nam in June 1998. That was a trip. I knew I was in for a treat when the pilot announced; "Welcome to Hue, Phu Bai, the temperature is 45 degrees celsius". He opened the door and I remembered just exactly what it had felt like 27 years earlier. Like opening a door to a blast furnace. Overwhelming heat and humidity.

    Anyway back to the haircut.

    My hair was long and I decided I better get a haircut. I went to a little barber shop next to the Hue Cathedral. This was a two chair shop run by a man about 35 or 36 years old. He had a hand grip of steel as he shook my hand. I got into the seat and he grabs these hand operated clippers and I thought to myself, "Self, this is going to hurt". I just knew those clippers was going to pull my hair out by the roots. The clippers were of German descent (Weiss, I think) and I didn't feel a thing. How he managed to keep them sharp for all these years I'll never know.

    He then had his female assistant lather up my face and
    I got really anxious when he inserted a new Wick blade into the old surgical set straight razor holder. I almost chickened out. Having this man shave me brought back all those old horror stories we were told before going to and upon arrival to Nam.

    Then this young kid about 17 comes to me with a miners head lamp strapped to his head and I'm told he will clip the hair from my ears and clean them. I thought , Oh well, the shave didn't kill you, so go ahead. He clips my ear hair then begins to clean my ears. Goes after what little ear wax I had with what felt like minning equipment. Really., it tickled more than it hurt.

    Then the young lady scrubbed my hair, gave me a facial (No, Homer, not that kind), and a head, neck, shoulder, and arm massage. I was in the chair about 90 minutes and cost was less than two bucks. Felt so guilty about the price, I threw in another buck.

    I went back each week that I was there and again on this last trip (he remembered me). The clippers are still sharp and his hand shake is even stronger than I remembered but I nixed the ear cleanning this time.

    Rons Toys
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 74
    (8/2/01 2:12:17 pm)
    | Del Re: haircuts
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    I was stationed in Germany at 3rd Inf Div HQ & HQ Co. There were about 500 of us in the PSD and we in processed all that came into the Div. One of the guys catches a EM that was a barber before he was drafted. We gave him a room and he became the offical barber working on tips only. You know that guy was able to buy a new car after 4 or 5 months.
    Ron

    donbrails
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 53
    (8/2/01 8:01:56 pm)
    | Del haircuts
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    Just a random thought.
    We usually had our hair cut on the road north of NuiBaDen near French Fort. We would sit in the road on a old box that the barber would carry with him. I was never too nervous as there were always 6 or 7 other people around and trucks going up and down the road. I think we usually paid 50 cents for the haircut. We never got a massage. I was just happy to get a hair cut. We also had a trailer back in TayNinh but I never got to this shop. I seem to remember it had a couple of chairs and was air conditioned. I did look inside it once.
    Thanks,
    Don

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1414
    (8/12/01 11:04:45 am)
    | Del Re: haircuts
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    Just thinkin!...we all hated them military haircuts on the whole and now everyone of our kids and half the adults have "wiffles". How bout that.!
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 190
    (8/14/01 2:33:25 pm)
    | Del Haircut
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    Larry:
    I would seldom get a haircut. Sometimes they would fly a barber to the FireBase and we would all get one. I do remember them trying to clean my ears. Facial hair is unsuitable for a young man in that culture. They wanted to shave my handlebar off. He would use a used PAL razor blade and shave your whole face, even between your eyebrows! Very Weird! We didn't allow straight razors.
    We used to tell the FNGs that the barber was a Cheu Hoi! I never trusted the barber and I hated used razor blades. The haircuts were dirt cheap 50 or 60 piasters.
    We paid in MPC and gave him tips, our change was always in piasters or funny coins. I had my hair cut as short as possible -- you never knew how long it would be before the next haircut.
    Mike H


    dap22
    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 1007
    (8/14/01 5:59:10 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: Haircut
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    The most memorable haircut I remember getting was once during a field standby in support of the 25th Inf Div somewhere near the Hobo Woods. Out of nowhere comes this old papasan with a milk crate filled with stuff. We didn't know what the hell he had until he brought out some old hand operated rusty looking clippers. The haircut was just fine and the thumping massage afterwards was even better. I took out my .357 magnum and put it in my lap just in case...don't remember what sort of razor he had but I felt safer with the pistol resting on my lap.
    Besides the ton of kids always around looking for handouts, it amazed me that the Vietnamese, no matter where we were, always had something to sell.......very commerce oriented for rice farmers.


    hope6970
    Moderator
    Posts: 550
    (9/10/01 5:23:49 pm)
    | Del Re: haircuts
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    LarryJK, I didn't forget your question.

    Yes, you can still buy bobby pins. If you do I just hope they are the American type. However, keep them out of your ears!!
    Hope

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