It's nice to achieve the status of being A "regular" at a local business. It's generally hard to do being in the military and moving around every couple of years (or less).
Heck, I've only been in Hawaii a year now, and at some point in the recent past I have attained "regular" status with my favorite barber. She's Korean and doesn't talk much, so it's not like she would remember me from talking about our families or whatever like you might with some other barbers. It took me about 7 months or so before I found her, and a couple more months for me to have sat in her chair enough times that she remembered me.
I knew I was making the crossover into "regular" status a month or so ago when she commented one day, "Samwon else cut you hayah." Do barbers and hair stylists mark their territory? I mean, do they have some "mark" or signature way they do things so they can tell if they were the last person to cut your hair or not? Anyway, she could tell that the previous haircut I got was at the NEX and not in her chair.
Why do I go see this barber you ask? I'll tell ya. One of the things I really liked about Westpac (being on deployment in the Western Pacific) was port calls in places like Okinawa and Korea. I wanted to go get a haircut everyday. Not because I like my hair that short, but because they give you a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage after they cut your hair. I didn't care so much about the haircut as the massage afterwards. Well, this barber I found does the same Korean scalp and neck massage after she cuts your hair, and it's AWESOME. She does a good job cutting my hair, too.
Aside #1: Disclaimer for any of you salty dogs who have been to Westpac before, NO I am NOT talking about the two-pole barber shops.
Aside #2: I know some young impressionable ensigns and midshipmen read my blog and are dying to know what Aside #1 was about. Here's the gouge for any of you guys getting ready to meet your first boat and go on your first deployment: STAY AWAY from the barber shops with TWO poles (your standard red, white, and blue swirling poles outside that tell you it's a barber shop). Your COB will explain why during your port brief before you pull into port, but just in case you're going to fly overseas and meet your boat in someplace like Chin Hae and you get there before the boat does, just remember to stay away from the two-pole barber shops, capiche? 'nuff said.
So what's my point? Why did I bring this up in the first place?
I'll tell ya what's awesome about having "regular" status. Yesterday, I stopped to get a haircut on my way home from work. I didn't have an appointment, and I was walking into the barber shop right behind another guy. She saw me walking in the door and told the other guy that I had an appointment and ushered me into her chair and made the other guy wait for the next chair. That's AWESOME! (Sorry, dude, whoever you were! I didn't ask her to do that!)