I'd heard that you can come out with a ridiculous haircut because they don't know how to cut Americans' hair, but I didn't know very many words to prevent that from happening.
On my way to lunch I saw a place that didn't look too expensive, but still looked like they did a good job. It's rainy today, so there weren't many people, either. I told them I wanted the cheapest haircut, and they said that was fine. They wash your hair before they start cutting, giving you a little head massage in the process. Then I was presented to my hair stylist, a young guy, and told him I didn't want my hair short.
He was surprisingly restrained in his treatment of my hair. I was expecting to come out with an army cut, but he had a light touch. He distracted me from worrying about what I was going to look like in half an hour by trying to make conversation with me. I've never tried to speak Chinese without being able to move my head. It's not like I'm a bobble-head when I speak a foreign language, but having full range of motion makes me feel more able to communicate what my words can't. He spoke bad Mandarin (or maybe good Chuanhua, the local dialect), so he had to repeat even easy questions a few times before I guessed what he was asking.
After he had gone around my head with normal scissors, he used thinning scissors and went around again. Then I had my head washed again, he blow-dried my hair, put in some Asian gel, and I was finished. I paid my 15 kuai ($2 US) and left.
I don't think it's a bad haircut. I'm still surprised to see myself posing without a mohawk, and I'm not a good judge of my own looks, so in total I don't have a very good idea of how it came out. Here's a picture: