These are for situations where you're traveling or for some other reason not seeing your regular barber or stylist, with whom you have undoubtedly developed a gloriously wordless rapport.
  1. "Just give me a regular cut"
    This actually works about 90% of the time. Sounds obvious, but after trying many different basic asks this is the one that works the best. I've also gotten away with saying "medium" instead of regular.
  2. Carry a photo or video in your phone of your last awesome haircut that you can show them
    I've used this before when traveling overseas, where I knew there would be a language barrier. You could also just carry a laminated photo of Don Draper.
  3. Ask for either a tapered or blocked back
    Tapered if you prefer a short cut and blocked if you like a little shaggier. This generally sets the tone for the whole haircut.
  4. "Give me a business man's haircut"
    For the 10% of situations where "regular haircut" doesn't compute, this generally results in the same kind of safe, conservative haircut. I both said and pantomimed this in India once and got the coolest haircut I've ever had.