Lately my husband and I have been having these little, moronic arguments that do little to serve other than vent frustration and discontent. Some of these arguments stem from recent trials we have had to overcome, some stem from not knowing how to pick up the pieces together (we both have great individual ideas), and some arguments stem from living in one room of a hotel, while large, it just doesn’t provide us each with our own space we need. On the brink of one of our mindless (and usually hurtful) arguments, we both simultaneously and without prompting from the other said, “What the hell are we doing”? We then went into a very constructive conversation about what we wanted, what we liked about each other, and the rest of it.

We went to sleep that night feeling very good about ourselves. The next day Andy went to work, and I dazed out the window thinking about fun things we could do. And then it came to me. I called Andy on his cell around noon and asked him out on a date. “A date”! He could not have sounded more surprised.

“Yes, but just you and me. The guys can do their own thing tonight”, I say.

“Should I pick you up at 7”, he jokes.

“Fine”, I say. “Plan on casual, but you have to change out of your work dungarees”.

I should mention here the special circumstances that play into it all. Andy is a windmill engineer and travels around the world fixing and maintaining windmills. Hence, we are living in a hotel room for two months. The company sends these guys out in teams, so they always travel with someone. Right now there is a team of 7 Germans here in Taiwan. As the traveling work culture goes, you pretty much spend all your free time with the other displaced guys. Sticking together solves minor problems such as eating, lodging, and laundry, as well as what to do with yourselves on the weekends, and thereby the reason I insisted on some time alone. Finally, we are in Taiwan, and while Taiwan can be a very beautiful country steeped in history, the city of Changhua is Taiwanese for “complete shit hole”. I mean, a woman from Detroit couldn’t wait to get out of here, and told us the only reason she was here was because she had to visit her family during Chinese New Year. If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does. Yet I digress…

So Andy comes home and asks what we will be doing.

“Well”, I say, “I thought we could go get our hair washed”.

“Uh huh”. He is not convinced and has this look of complete disbelief across his face.

“Yes, a hair wash”, I continue. “You see, they not only wash your hair, they give you a full head, neck and shoulder massage. It’s quite the deal”.

Andy perks up with interest, but he’s still not convinced, so I quickly go into the whole story of how when I first came to Taiwan I was told to STOP washing my hair. I thought the woman telling me this was completely nuts, I mean, who doesn’t wash their hair? But she was really just trying to clue me in on the fabulousness of the Taiwanese hair wash. “Try it, you’ll like it”, I say.

“OK”, Andy says with some resolve. “I am open for this”. (Which really sounds like “I am open for ziss”. Remember he’s German, so things have a special way of being said. Example: “They have a fresh baby”. Translation: “They have a newborn baby”. Example: “I am part of the erection team”. Translation: “I am building windmills”.)

“And besides”, I say, “You need a haircut”. Somehow this seals the deal as Andy looks into the mirror at the poof that is his hair. And off we go to pick a random beauty shop, hand in hand, laughing as we dodge traffic in the Taiwanese night. (You walk in the streets here, the sidewalk is seen as an extension of personal property and therefor filled with a bunch of crap.)

The shop we choose was a very simple, clean, nondescript shop with slightly stained walls aged with use, aged yet comfortable brown shop chairs, a few pictures on the walls from the 80’s, and a crackled old blue leather sofa for waiting customers to sit on. When we entered all three women in the shop jumped up with smiles on their faces wondering what we wanted. Since I really don’t speak Chinese my favorite method of communicating is through interpretive dance, and after about a 5 minute show we finally established that Andy wanted his hair washed and cut, but that I would only be having the wash. (I had just spent fortune on my hair on a recent trip to Hong Kong. My hair looks fabuliscious! There is no way anyone will be getting a pair of scissors close to my head for a while!)

So, while Andy got his hair cut, I was led back to the sinks for the beginning of my hair wash. I mean, aaaaahhhhh. Everyone knows how good it feels to have your hair washed, right? Well, add to that 15 minutes of head rubbing, temple massaging, and having the base of your scull canoodled. Oh God!! Don’t stop!!

After that I’m lead back to the chairs, where she rubs the back of my neck with tingly tiger balm. Oooohhhhh. And then comes the hot towel, and the upper shoulder massage. Aaaahhhh, oh! Right there! Yeeesssss… And just when you think it can’t get any better she whips out a hairdryer and blows my hair dry. Ohhh, yesss. All of this for the equivalent of 3 Euro.

We left the shop feeling very happy and relaxed. Andy’s haircut, well, we’ll just say it is very traditional and not very Andy, but it really isn’t bad. I asked Andy how he liked the hair wash, and he replied very enthusiastically, “Oh yeah! She rubbed me really good”! The hair wash date was a big hit. He even wants to go again!

Amy, 34, Germany, but loving the hair wash in Taiwan