Literally translated as “Teacher Tony,” this term was coined by Chinese young people to jokingly refer to hairdressers. The usage first appeared in 2018 when someone complained on an online forum that their hairdresser chatted all the time while giving them a haircut just in order to sell them some hairdressing products and prepaid membership cards. In the post that went viral, the netizen also mocked that hairdressers always give themselves an English name, Tony being the most popular choice, although they may not be able to speak English at all. Others say the pronunciation of “托尼” is the same as “托你” (meaning “I beg you”), which implies that the speaker pleads with the hairdresser to be careful and give them a nice haircut.
Nǐ xīn jiǎn le tóufà ma？Hěn jīngshén o。
Did you just have a haircut? You look nice.
Shì de，wǒ zhōumò qù lǐfà le，ránhòu fāxiàn wǒ de tuōní lǎoshī zhǎngjià le。
Yeah, I got a haircut this weekend, and discovered that the hairdresser had raised his price.