Friday, November 19, 2010

Single vs. Double

Imagine ordering a single cheeseburger and getting exactly what you asked for. Then you order a double cheeseburger and expect two patties, two layers of cheese, and maybe some ketchup squeezed in the middle. Still, it's a cheeseburger. That, though, is not always true when it comes to singles and doubles here in Korea. Going to a single pole barber shop is one thing, but don't expect a doubly divine haircut when entering a double barber pole shop. The only double you endure is the price range. These double barber pole shops are not easy to enter. They make it quite the mission if you want service from them!
A friend and I went on an hour long search around my city to find out if the rumours of double poles are, in fact, true. And, oh boy, let me tell you! Most of these shops included this enticing experience...
Walk down a flight or two of concrete stairs that smell of urine and stale cigarette smoke. Pass an old, withered fake flower bouquet covered in cobwebs. Crouch down a bit at the foot of the steps as to not smash your dome on a low concrete ceiling. Knock on the yellowing door. And wait for a reply. This barber shop has no traces of recent haircuts, and they might not even own a pair of scissors. This barber shop is dark with a small glow of pink or purple florescent lights. A woman or old man looks us up and down with widening, curious eyes. We say "woops", bow, and turn around. Our work there was done. Our conclusion of double barber pole shops: They are indeed NOT barber shops. I will leave the rest up to your imaginations. But here's a clue: Don't expect a double cheeseburger.  ;)


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  3. Found your blog online when I was sharing a memory as a Navyman of the 'barber poles" in Korea twenty years ago. Confirmation that I wasn't making it up! Linked to you on

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