So Much More Than a Barber

As he was performing ‘surgery’ in my ear, I realised that he was so much more than a barber!

I’d stopped in at a barber shop close to my hotel. The shop’s sign advertised hair cuts, face massage and shave, so I indicated that I’d like a hair-cut and a shave.


My standard hair-cut is pretty easy to convey around the world – a number two all over. So the hair-cut was done and out of the way fairly quickly.

The chair was then dropped back for a shave with a straight-edge razor. Again, no real issue there, and fairly standard barber stuff. But we weren’t done!

The barber tried to ask me something in Cambodian that I obviously couldn’t understand. His motioning indicated that it involved the area around my nose. Then a young fella came over (perhaps the barber’s son) and demonstrated a yanking motion with a piece of paper, pointing at my nose area. It clicked. He was offering a cleansing service for the pores on my face – something akin to Biore pore-cleansing strips. I nodded in agreement. Soon, the youngster had my face daubed in some type of medicated cream and then pieces of masking paper were stuck to my face, forehead and chin. And I was left to dry out!

Barber shop with dad, the barber in the red plaid shirt and the young guy, who may be his son, in the grey shirt

Whilst my face-paper was drying out, the barber returned and asked if I wanted my ears cleaning out. In for a penny, in for a pound. Why not, so I give him a nod of approval. With that, the barber donned a head torch and began to prod and pull on my ear-lobes so that he could get a good view of what was inside my ears. He started by shaving off any ear-hair and then started exploring my ear with some type of implement, scraping away as he went. Periodically, he’d use a swab or soft brush to clear away whatever he had managed to excavate! He intricately worked on both ears until he was satisfied he’d done his job.

Barber and ear-surgeon 

With my ears now sorted, it was time for the youngster to continue with my facial treatment. He peeled off the masking tape and made several disapproving groans, occasionally showing me the tape. It was clear to me that the tape had pulled out some gunk from my facial pores – and that the kid wasn’t impressed by my dirty face!

The young man responsible for my facial treatment

After disposing of the tape, he applied more creams and generally massaged my face. After a few minutes, a new face mask was pulled out and placed on my face and I was left to dry again. I thought that he was so disgusted by my dirty pores that he had decided to bring out the big guns and rip that thing off my face. However, this mask seemed to have a different purpose and was removed gently after the facial treatment.

Looking like something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I estimate that I was in the barber shop for about one hour. I came out with a new hair-cut, a shave, a cleaned up face and cleaned out ears – and a new experience under my belt. And the price for all of this treatment? $15.

Me and my fresh face





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