At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Today I went and got my hair cut. While waiting for my turn at the barber shop, which is on Clay Street just below Stockton, I had the chance to observe a young lady and her sister -- both adult woman, in case you were wondering -- getting their own hair done.
Let me just say I like mirrors and reflective surfaces.

The barber (Ah Ming) was chatting with the woman under his hands, while his assistant was blowdrying and combing the other one. Who has a lovely forehead, a cute nose, well-sculpted lips and mouth, ever so charmingly kissy cheeks, and cute little hands. All of which were fully visible in the reflective surfaces.
She has both intelligence and character in her face.
And she sounds like a very nice person.

Yes, very attractive.

No, I did not strike up a conversation. Be real. A barbershop is NOT the place for that. Doing so would rupture the unwritten agreement that a men and women's barber shop is ALWAYS neutral and safe territory.
I rather like my barber, he does good work. I now look exceptionally fine and handsome again, which given my skull shape and deep-set eyes is darned well miraculous. No way am I going to forego this on the haphazard off-chance of getting a date.
Which, I should point out, is a very SMALL off-chance.
Pretty women tend to make me act goofy.
Or auto-tie my tongue.

Let's just say that while I am on my very best behaviour I may make the all-time worst impression.

[I can do a truly dynamite imitation of a sleazoid hoodlum drooling at a good girl, something I learned from Hong Kong movies years ago. "Ah siu-jieh, ah, lei hai kam hou oi-gggggge....., ngoh seunnnnnng....., ah kei sat ngoh, ah, mmm-yiu....., yi-wai...., mou yi-si ge jet, ah, erm, lei kiu meh meng ahhhhhhhhh???"
Now, if under normal circumstances that makes women cringe from the sheer perverse skin-crawling sound of it, please imagine how much worse it can be if I really mean it. Far better to not kau nui in Cantonese, ever. I'm sure I can talk my way well enough into one heck of a pickle in English, and that's "good" enough.]

She and her sister left, and I had my haircut. Ah Ming noticed that I was a bit abstracted, and tried to make small talk. I was still thinking about the young lady I had seen, and dropped the conversational ball on my feet repeatedly. If at such moments I stutter in Dutch, I absolutely gibber in Cantonese. I may have told him that I was Anita Mui, or channeling for her today. I don't really know. We were talking about the blue-haired Canto-pop cretin on the wide-screen.
At one point he tried finding an article about Andy Lau for me to read in one of the Hong Kong gossip mags. Either it was something I said, or my vulpine profile combined with a temporary air of vulnerability.

It must be the vulnerability; very Andy Lau-esque.
It probably also transitioned into my speech.

Gibber. Gibber. Gibber.

The little tyke at the place where I had lunch recognized me, and came over to chat. For some reason he decided that the conversation would be entirely in writing. Maybe I was still stuttering. Or he simply wanted to make sure that communication was clear and precise.
He has quite the most well-developed vocabulary for a six year old.
He informed me in passing that he would rather be twenty.
Or even my age, which might be forty seven.
A grown-up, instead of a child.

I should've asked him why.

He's totally adorable right now.
I'm sure women love him.
He spells well.

Why forty seven? Last time he guessed fifty four. It has to be the effect of the hair cut. Ah Ming does a darned fine job. Did I already mention that he made me seem exceptionally fine and handsome again?
I look the very epitome of mature masculinity.
As I now mumble quietly to myself.
For lack of better words.

哦,小姐,啊,你咁可愛嘅,嗯..,我...,冇意思嘅嗻...,唔要...,意為..., 我唔...,你...,你咖咖叫乜乜乜名呀?

Yes. So not happening.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At 9:15 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    No, just not a fool.

    Nor wishing to seem that way in the eyes of myself, two women, and a very good barber.

    He's a VERY good barber.

  • At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you think he cuts the hair of fools any differently?

  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    I'd rather not find out. Rather, I wish him to continue cutting my hair, instead of asking me to go elsewhere. Which, if I started wolfing on his customers, would be quite likely.

    Making other patrons uncomfortable would be counterproductive (note: immense understatement).

  • At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Eric said…

    Yeah, sexually harassing his primary source of income might not be a good idea.

    Unless he wants to be a lumberjack, in which case he probably doesn't give a damn.

  • At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Asking someone out is not sexual harassment. Continuing after they say no is.
    You write about how handsome and foxy you are, but you are as insecure as a pimply adolescent.

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    One does NOT ask a Cantonese person out when there are witnesses. And certainly not without an introduction and sufficient prior acquaintance to establish that one is of good character. Doing so is setting oneself up for disaster. She'll firmly say no (guaranteed), and one ends up looking rash, forward, and a fool.

    The most I could have risked, IF the opportunity had presented itself, would have been to ask her name. Even that would have seemed a bit overly fresh, far too familiar.
    Especially upon such casual acquaintance -- merely being in the same barbershop, and quite by chance at that, is insufficient pretext.

    Now, blonde floozies in a bar are an entirely different matter. Brunettes lurking in the crime-fiction section, also a possibility.

    There's a time and place for everything. And, correspondingly, there are unsuitable times and places.

  • At 8:30 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Now, striking up a conversation about a matter of mutual interest, when one is in the same place, and not being avidly observed by other people -- a white person speaking Cantonese, no matter how badly, is by definition a spectacle (and even I stare and listen in whenever that happens) -- might lead, fortuitously, to an invitation for coffee or tea somewhere, perhaps now, or perhaps I can telephone, what time would be good?

    Or; 'Oh you've read that too? What did you think of it? Have you read his other books? Did you see the movie? Wanna borrow a book?'

    Or; 'Why yes I know a good place for snackipoos, and by coincidence I was planning to go there in a moment. Let us go together.'

    NOT: 'Oh hey, I really like what Ah Ming did to your hair, let's do coffee, here's my number may I have yours.'

    Trust me, if I ever ask a person out, you will not read about it here until perhaps years later, with some details hazed over to protect confidentialities and identities. You would not know her name, nor what she looked like, unless you knew both of us.

    I do not boast of such things, but I might happily gloat. If it ever happens, you shall, in the fullness of time, see a cheerful mention of an unspecified time and place where coffee or tea was drunk in delightful company, and snackipoos were had.


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