Haircuts and Fish Ice Cream

Jake Kunes
June 18, 2018

Originally this post was just going to be about a haircut, but then I realized adding fish ice cream made for not only a better title, but also a more aesthetically pleasing cover photo. And so if I haven't confused you enough - allow me to explain my first month (yes... month!) in Madrid:

Before I got my hair cut last week I started theorizing that getting a haircut is more or less a microcosm to my interactions with the service industry as a whole, and that to describe my journey thusfar, I actually shouldn't need to talk about anything else. Well, there's only one way to find out if I'm right.

The Build-up: It had been a while since my last haircut, a month here abroad and at least a few weeks in the U.S. Clearly I was due, and some of the other guys in the program were feeling the same way. Since I've become friends with nearly everyone here from the states, it was no surprise that I'd be leaving class with company. What happened next was a lot of yelp review reading, and a lot of existential decision making. After all, there's a lot riding on these haircuts. Eventually we made what proved to be a bold decision: to go in-between our two classes that day to a spot called Bearbero, located in the historic La Latina barrio.

The Moment: Going in, no reservations, I'll admit I was a bit nervous. But, I could tell from the second we walked through the door that we chose a good place; from the deer antler racks on the walls to the french bulldog that roamed the lobby, everything fit together. Not to mention that just about everyone else in the shop besides my friends and me had a well-kept beard, I knew I was in good hands and felt like I was hanging with the locals. So how was the cut itself? Terrific. The barber could've convinced me he had razors for hands the way he worked. But the experience wasn't fully encompassed by the haircut. As I'd hoped, there was a lot of small talk, a lot of me trying to say things I didn't know how to say. 

The Results: Let's come to some conclusions. First of all, talking with the barber was not at all like talking to a professor in a classroom. Sure it's similar, but I would have never learned some of the crazy phrases I was forced to use that day, had I not been put in that situation. Even simple things like paying the bill and asking how much to tip sound so simple, but become exponentially more complicated when you have no choice but to figure out how to do it. So in essence, that trip to the barber was why I came to Spain, and why had I come three weeks prior, this blog might not have sounded so light-hearted and optimistic.

P.S. I do indeed recommend Bearbero for getting a trim in Madrid, and the name of the ice cream shop which inspired this post (and picture) is called La Pecera in Malasaña.

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Jake Kunes

<p>I'm always trying to take the road less traveled, whether that means skiing the powder only found in the glades, or trying to ride in waves on my boogie board while the rest of my family tans shoreside. Last summer I took the trip of a lifetime when I spent a week backpacking through Olympic National Park in Washington with a friend. It was an experience I will never forget because it showed me the power of pushing my comfort zone.</p>

2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
Home University:
Penn State University
State College, PA
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