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A haircut friend from New Zeeland by Julian
I had been having a rough time. I moved to Chile, hopping that I would get better luck economically speaking. I have a cousin here and he convinced me this would be a great country to start over again.
But after 4 months with no job my savings were gone. Last Friday my cousin called me. There was this guy coming from New Zeeland and asked me to drive him around. It seems he owned several companies in Santiago and he told me that this could be my opportunity to finally get back on my feet since he was looking for a person with my profile to manage his business in Chile.
So, there I was, picking him up on Saturday in a nice hotel. We went for lunch to a fancy restaurant and did some sightseeing. He then asked me if I knew a good barbershop around. He had quite short hair, not even an inch all around and bit longer on top. I wondered why would he want a haircut with such a short hair. I told him I didn’t. In fact, my two experiences with local barbershops had not been good at all. I hate getting haircuts but after a couple of months in Chile, I really needed a trim. I went to a salon I saw in a mall. A very expensive and not so good haircut. Then just a week ago, I decided to try something more traditional and I went to a barbershop. I asked for a trim, and the old barber cut it too much, I have never had it like that before. I was definitely not happy wearing my hair that short and still I had way more hair than my New Zeeland friend.
Anyway, since I really wanted this guy to like me, I started to search in the internet for barbershops nearby. I found one that seemed nice. I contacted them via WhatsApp and made an appointment for Ken, my new friend and hopefully my future boss.
I drove him there and we entered. It was a fancy barbershop. Very old style but at the same time very modern. The prices were so high I couldn’t believe Ken was going to spend that much money with such short hair.
Anyway, he was invited to be seated and they asked how did he wanted his haircut. Since he didn’t speak any Spanish, I had to translate for him. He told me to ask for a "radical" haircut. Since he was on vacations, he wanted to be bold. I asked what do you mean by radical, and he just said that I decide whatever I wanted. I had a short discussion with the barber and I ended up asking for a very short Mohawk, I guess that’s pretty radical.
The barber started with a #1 all around, back and sides, leaving just what he needed for the Mohawk. He then passed the clippers on top. It was quite fast. In few minutes, most of Ken’s hair was gone. The barber asked me if this was short enough or if he should go with no guard. I asked Ken and he decided to go for #0. Almost bald in no time, Ken was sporting his new radical haircut and he was happy about my choice for him.
Ken stood up and when I was starting to head toward the exit, the barber asked me if I was not going to get a haircut too. I thanked him and told him that maybe some other time. Ken’s eyes glowed when he understood what was happening and told me that he wanted to pay for my haircut, as a gift for all I had done for him. I thanked him and told him that I just had a haircut a week ago and that I really appreciated his gesture, but .. NO.
He insisted… and insisted. He said I would look much better with shorter hair. I kept thanking him and saying not until I noticed he was not happy about how things were happening. S**t! I really wanted this guy to like me, but a haircut, no way!
When things were getting awkward, with the barber and Ken insisting and me saying no, I decided I had no choice. "OK, I’ll get a trim if that makes you happy" I said. Ken smiled and the barber asked me to sit down.
He caped me and asked me what I wanted. I started to say that just a trim will be fine when Ken took out his phone and started to show something to the barber. They didn’t need to speak the same language, it seems they had understood each other perfectly. I was getting nervous.
Ken asked the barber to turn the chair away from the mirror. That was also easily understood by the barber and suddenly I was caped, with my back to the mirror and getting really nervous. I asked the barber in Spanish what was going on and what had Ken showed him in the phone. He said he had just showed him some pictures for the haircut I was getting. "It’s going to be shorter than just a trim, is that OK with you?" he asked.
I said that it was not OK at all, but I just didn’t dare to keep making a scene about the haircut, and that I really needed to please this guy, so, what the hell, just do whatever he wants, as long as there is not a Mohawk. The barber laugh and told me not to worry, that it was not a Mohawk.
What the hell was I doing there? I was f***ing sad because I already had too short hair and now I was sitting at a barbershop, ready to be shorn. I heard when the barber turned on the clippers and pushed my head forward. He started to run the clippers from my neck up to about the middle of my head. After a few passes, I asked him which guard was he using. He said, I’m using no guards.
What?!!! Are you serious? Yeah, he said, while he kept using the clippers now in the left side, from the sideburns up to above the ear. I just couldn’t say a word. I wanted to cry. There was nothing to do now. My hair had been clipped all off. My mouth was dry. No job was worth this.
After he finally finished going all around, he stopped to put a guard. I placed my hand over my neck and it was true. There was no hair. Ken was smiling, while filming the whole thing with his phone.
The clippers went back on. Now he passed them quickly and I saw my hair falling over the cape. I decided to close my eyes. I was totally immersed in the sensation of the clippers going once and again with rapid movements all around my head. He used short and fast movements, changed guards often and kept cutting for what it seems like hours.
My head felt strange, lighter, cooler. I kept my eyes closed until I was caught by surprise when something cold, foamy and wet was placed over my ears and neck. I wanted to stop him. I wanted to yell. But I said nothing. I closed my eyes again and I felt a sharp razor passing over my skin. Sideburns… gone. Stubble over my ears… gone. Stubble on my neck… gone. Shaved clean.
I was cleaned with a towel and then the barber wet my hair on top. I was finally able to speak and told him not to cut on top. He said it will be just a trim. And there I was, seen hair falling in front of my eyes.
It was finally over. The barber combed my hair on top, clean the hundreds of small hairs I had all over me and looked at his work. "Well, ready to take a look?" and he turned me toward the mirror. I was in shock. He had made a bald fade. BALD fade. Really BALD fade. I had no hair over my ears and just a little bit in the upper side. The top was cut much shorter than I had ever have it and I just didn’t want to imagine the back. I got dizzy. Ken was so happy, he kept filming and was mumbling something about how nice I looked with that style. The barber showed me my back in the mirror. It was even worse than I expected. I was shaved bald in the neck and it was really short all over. My precious hair was gone.
We paid and went out. The wind felt so cold in my head. I couldn’t stop myself to touch over and over again the baldness around my ears and back. Ken kept talking but I couldn’t pay any attention to what he was saying. Well, until he said he was thinking that I was the right person for the job. I had the profile, and now that he got the chance to getting me know better he was confident we will do a great team. Oh.. that was nice… it was almost worth it to lose most of my hair for this. I thanked him for the opportunity and for the haircut, I was so absorbed being worried about it that I haven’t done it. He said "it was my pleasure. In fact, if you decide to work for me, I would expect you to keep this style as a symbol of our friendship".
Oh my God…