Because the boss tells them to.
Or at least that is the answer we have received … on many occasions. We like Charmant, the Taiwanese restaurant on Huaihai Lu near Fuxing Lu. We have written about how much we like it. And now that we live pretty much next door, we go there quite often. But we have always wondered why the female manager and every single one of the waitresses has a short, boyish haircut.
We have inquired about this, but have gotten very little information in response:
“The boss says we need to have short hair to work here.”
“She has short hair, too.”
“Maybe she thinks it makes the place look cleaner.”
“I don’t know.”
One of the waitresses told us that another popular Taiwanese place in Shanghai, Bellagio, also features staff with short hair (and supposedly the owners of Charmant and Bellagio used to be business partners … or something like that). City Weekend goes so far as to call them “buzz cuts.” Although we have been urged to, we have yet to dine at Bellagio, so we can’t verify it, although we’re sure a commenter can.
Although it does have kind of a Heaven’s Gate feel to it, we’re not bothered by the short hair — we used to have a thing for Janine Turner — we’re just curious about it. Why? Is this a Taiwanese thing? If so, how did it come about? And, again, why?
You might be interested to know that not one of the Charmant waitresses we talked to made it seem like they had asked the boss why they needed to cut their hair short if they wanted to work there. They just did it. After living here for several years, that doesn’t surprise us at all.
A quick Google search shows that there may indeed be a “women with short hair fetish” but it appears to have been a fad that died out in the mid- to late-90s, because all of the websites dedicated to it look like crap. We submit Exhibit A, Exhibit B and Exhibit C.
If you plan on going to Charmant to check out the short hair, be sure to try the 红油抄手 (hong you chao shou) — the English same is something like “dumplings in spicy red oil.” There’s not much Taiwanese about them (Sichuan, we think), but they are delicious.
Charmant, 1418 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu, Metro Line 1 Changshu Lu Stop (淮海中路1418号,近复兴西路,地铁1号线常熟路站). Open 11 am-4 am. Tel: 6431-8107.