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Innocent American in Italy

October 18, 2011

No, not Amanda “O.J.” Knox. Me!

So today I went to get a haircut at my favorite barbershop and I caused a little trouble. First, my observations about getting a haircut in Italy. As I remember it, in America you could get a good haircut for $10 or less and it usually took 20 minutes or less. Here, a good haircut is 10 to 15 Euros depending where you go, but they take about 45 minutes. I could have said they “last” about 45 minutes, I suppose. The verb you use is probably dependent on how you view getting a haircut. Italians are really obsessed about their appearance, and a good haircut is very important to them. I imagine barbers here could do the same quality work they do now but in half the time, if they felt like exerting themselves, and thus see about twice as many customers per day. But they don’t. Exerting one’s self during the workday is not an Italian trait, in my opinion. Not here, anyway. But they do quality work, and I like my haircut, and I don’t mind sitting in the chair listening to the jibber-jabber and such for 45 minutes.

Today, one of the barbers turned the television on and the news show was covering the riots in Rome. I knew it was Rome, but I played the innocent American and asked, “Roma?” The barbers both replied in the affirmative, with one shaking his head. So I pressed, “Perche qua?” And thus erupted The Great Barbershop Debate of 2011. While I kept quiet, customers went at each other in loud voices about the merits of the rioters’ cause(s). I would say the pro-riot contingent was outnumbered 4-2. Two words, one big brouhaha. My work there was done.

This was the scene today both in Rome and in my barbershop. 🙂

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