As soon as2 you enter a barber’s shop, you lose your freedom3.
You are not to regain4 it till you have paid for it after a full hour’s slavery5.
Well6, you may not wish to call it slavery. You may call it enjoyment.
Many persons call it enjoyment; perhaps they enjoy slavery.
Drunkards7 enjoy being slaves to drink8.
Young lovers enjoy being slaves of their sweethearts’ caprices9.
And many persons enjoy being slaves to a barber once a week!
I, for one10, do not enjoy being a slave to a barber.
As soon as I enter a barber’s shop, I feel I lose both my freedom and my dignity11.
For I have to resign12 myself, and especially that important part of myself, the head,
to the control of an ignorant13 or at least ill-educated14 barber
(I beg barbers’ pardon).
He turns about my head as though15 it were his own instead of mine.
He sometimes offers me a newspaper as much as to say16, “While I improve
the outside of your head for you, you ought to improve its inside17 yourself ”.
But in fact18, he does not care a bit19 about what is in my head. He treats my head,
which contains a knowledge of English grammar, rhetoric20, phonetics21,
literary history22, versification23, etc.,
in the same way as any head that does not contain a single word of English.
Talking of24 English, I wonder25 why the barbers in some fashionable shops
in Shanghai often speak English—surely pidgin English26—among themselves.
But this is by the way27.
To return to28 the question of slavery.
I feel my slavery more keenly as often as29 I look into the glass before me.
Is it not enough to make a slave of me? Is it necessary to remind30 me that I am a slave?
I am glad that I do not make so much of31 my hair as to require it to be shampooed32
or singed33 in a barber’s shop. I want to have my hair cut, and have it cut,
that’s all34. Thus, if35 I have to be a slave once every three or four weeks,
my period of slavery is always a short one.
Emerging36 from a barber’s shop, I often heave a sigh of relief37.
1. barber’s shop: 理发店
2. as soon as: 一俟
3. lose my freedom: 失去我之自由
4. are not to regain: 不可复得
5. a full hour’s slavery: 足有一小时之奴隶生活
6. well: 语气助词
7. drunkards: 酒徒
8. enjoy being slaves to drink: 以耽于狂饮为乐
9. their sweethearts’ caprices: 彼等之情人之任性
10.for one: 就我个人而言
15.as though: 宛如
16.as much as to say: 若曰
17.improve its inside: 改善其内部 意即增加知识)
18.in fact: 在事实上
19.does not care a bit: 毫不留意
22.literary history: 文学史
26.pidgin English: 洋泾浜英语 一种中国人与欧美人间所用之极不纯正之英语，“pidgin”原系“business”之转误)
27.by the way: 偶然说及
28.To return to: 回至；再说
29.as often as: 每次
31.make so much of: 如是重视
33. singed: 烫
34. that’s (= that is) all: 如是而已
35. if: 虽
36. Emerging: 走出
37. heave a sigh of relief: 因得安慰而叹息