Visiting the barber is not high on my list of priorities.
Maybe it’s because I’m not blessed with much hair in the first place, so I only need to visit the local “landscaper” every six weeks to keep it respectable. Maybe it’s because I don’t enjoy someone in my personal space. Or maybe, and more likely, it’s just that I don’t enjoy small talk. I don’t care much for discussing the weather, economy or why Bafana battle to put the ball into the back of the net, especially when he is armed with a blade, working around my big ears.
I’m not overcritical of the barber’s abilities. As long as I escape the procedure without a gash, and looking a bit tidier than when I arrived, then I’m happy. However, the faster the haircut, the better. The less talk between myself and the barber, then he’s my guy.
I’ve established a relationship with a barber down the road over the years. I arrive, he knows what is expected of him. He works quickly. I pay and we part ways. He doesn’t even judge me when I bring a beard into the relationship. Bliss, right? I thought so, until this week.
On arriving at the barber, to my horror I discover he is away for seven weeks. His partner, who I have often snubbed in favour of my regular bladesman, steps in. He can’t be that bad, can he? Barber’s partner is chattier than I would like, but we push on through. He also takes a bit more time, but I’m just being petty now. He cuts, shaves and trims.
Once in the car, on closer inspection I see the moustache is all but shaved off, the beard lopsided and there’s a hole to the left of my chin.
In need of damage control, I opt to travel down the road to another barber the following day.
On arrival, I detail the massacre. The new barber invites me into the “Rolls-Royce of Barber Shops”. He lays me down on a comfortable reclining styling chair, steams my face and works his magic. He gives me options to save the beard, but deep down I know the beard must come off. After a two-year stint it exposes my “chubby cheeks”, as my daughter puts it.
He’s quick, skilled and doesn’t talk much, other than to curse the barber from the day before. He offers fancy coffee and chocolates, and whisks me away to another room to have my ears waxed. Ears waxed? It’s all a bit much for me.
With the last pull of my ear, I move towards the door, pay my bill and get out of there before they wax somewhere else.
I’ll see him in six weeks’ time.