Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Mustache, Communication Problems

I started growing my second annual holiday mustache about two weeks ago. Karine says that she doesn't like it, but I am almost positive that she really finds it wildly attractive. I think it is one of her favorite things about the holidays: scented candles, Celine Dion Christmas songs, and my mustache. I wanted to surprise Karine by having it professionally trimmed while she was at her baby shower last night. This is where I ran into a few problems with communication.

Our Spanish is really getting quite good. I was not worried at all about going to the mall and getting a shave and a haircut at Donald's Barber Shop. Donald's is a great place. All the barbers there have awesome haircuts and mustaches. They are impeccably coiffed. I think maybe the first thing they do every morning is give each other haircuts and mustache trims.

Honduras is a country the takes mustaches very, very seriously. So being a mustache trimmer in Honduras is sort of a high pressure job. The fantastic mustache to the left belongs to current Honduran President Mel Zelaya. Imagine what would happen to the Honduran economy of it were improperly trimmed. Mistakes like that rarely happen. Barbers here handle each mustache with care. I knew I was in good hands, so after my barber finished with my haircut I was ready for the shave and trim. All I had to do was ask.

I remembered that the verb for shave is afeitarse. I knew I had to say something like "¿Le afeitado..." But for some strange reason I blanked on the Spanish word for face. I scrambled as the barber started to clean up and get ready for his next customer. Luckily, I remembered the word for a white faced monkey: mono cara blanca. I had it! All I had to do was plug the word for face into my sentence.

I guess I put the sentence together a little to quickly because what came out of my mouth was this: "¿Le afeitado mi mono?" Mono is not the word for face. It is the word for monkey. I had politely asked my barber to shave my monkey. He didn't miss a beat. He leaned the chair back and we were off.

It was sitting in this position, with a straight razor at my throat, that I realized my mistake. Hey, I think I just asked this guy to shave my monkey... Yup, I did. What do I do now? Obviously, everyone in this barber shop just heard me ask this guy to shave my monkey. Should I say something like, "Hey, I realize that a second ago I asked you to shave my monkey...yeah, I really meant face...yeah, that was pretty funny..." I decided not to dig myself any deeper into the miscommunication hole. I just sat there like a dumb gringo as he meticulously sculpted my mustache. I paid my seven bucks when he was finished and went on my way.

I am very,very happy with what the barber did to my mustache. Karine tells me to "shave that disgusting thing off" every time I mention it. But I am almost positive that that it just her way of showing support for the holiday mustache.

6 comments:

Kat said...

TOO FUNNY!!! Love the new blog look.

my name is Amanda said...

If you grow a mustache in July, perhaps Karine will find herself singing Celine Dion Christmas songs, for seemingly no reason...

Anonymous said...

ROFL! At least he understood, though I'm not sure how...does your face look like a monkey? I say, what the pregnant woman says goes. Enjoy your holiday mustache while it lasts.
Bilingual teacher in Omaha

Laurie said...

I'm with Karine. Take it off. After all, Mel Zelaya is very unpopular. Maybe it's the mustache? Or is it his leftist ramblings? I don't know but there may be a correlation. Shave it off before you start looking for an interview with Hugo Chavez.

Will B said...

Awesome story!!!

Karine and Tom said...

Thanks for all the words of encouragement. I'm going to try to make it my best mustache ever!