Monday, April 28, 2008

The Quest for my Head

It’s time for another haircut. Three weeks ago was the first time I ever stepped into Tim’s Hairstyling for Men.
I’ve been trying out new barbers for a few months now … seeking the right artist to continue landscaping my head.
I can only remember as far back to when I was about 12 years old when my barber was “Charlie the barber”. He owned a shop right across the street; my dad got his hair cut at Charlie’s.
My fondest childhood memories include sitting in Charlie’s shop on top of a piece of padded wood, which firmly spanned the arms of the barber’s chair to bring me to a grown-up’s height. The shop smelled like hair tonic and cigarette smoke and Charlie always coughed so much from smoking I thought he was going to bring up a lung. Charlie was my barber until the Beatles made their debut on American television. I remember watching them and going to school the next day with my hair combed down in front of my eyes instead of the slicked back look I wore through most of grammar school. It was goodbye barber, hello stylist for the next 20 years.
I let my hair grow really long after turning 18. When I turned 20 and my hair fell past my shoulders, I had a traumatic experience; an army barber at Fort Jackson quickly shaved it all off. There were no mirrors there; I could only look down and watch my falling hair cover my feet. To this day I can’t look down at the clippings on the floor around the barber’s chair while I’m getting my haircut without reliving that frightful day.
It wasn’t until my mid thirties when I grew tired of the long hair.
That’s when the quest began.
I visited quite a few barbershops; seeking out a barber I could trust to handle my precious head. It really has been an adventure.
There was Tony the Barber who loved to gamble and once bet me he could cut my hair while only looking at me through the mirror. He shed blood from my left ear. I moved on.
I met Federico in the next shop I visited. He smoked cigars and apparently ate a lot of garlic. I couldn’t breathe. I moved on.
Mickey Scissors was a unique individual. Don’t call him Mickey. If you did, he would say, “Please, Mickey Scissors, call me Mickey Scissors”. Ironically, he would only use electric sheers when he cut hair. Really, he didn’t use scissors.
There was a stuttering barber named C-c-c-cleo who uncontrollably spit when he stuttered on P’s, a barber named Dave who always wore fatigues and used dull scissors … ”ouch, ouch again, ouch again, ouch”… and Frank the Barber who was so slow that my hair was growing faster than he could cut it.
“Paul the barber” cut my hair just the way I liked it and as a bonus he was one of the very few barbers that still used hot foam around the ears and nape of the neck, making the final trim using a straight edge razor. Unfortunately for me lots of other men were equally pleased and so I would find myself sometimes waiting up to two hours to get in his chair.
After almost two years visiting Paul’s shop it became just too inconvenient for me to wait and wait and wait. Anyway, now in my fifties, I have a lot less to work with on the top of my dome.
So the quest continues … Could Tim be “the one”?

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