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My new friend, the barber by Storyteller
This story happened when I was 15, in the early 80s. I was a well-educated boy, a good student and a good son, I always made a point of treating elders with respect and attention.
Since I was eight years old, I got permission from my parents to, following the fashion of the time, let my hair, which was previously kept in a medium short cut, grow longer. All I had to do was cut my hair when it was blunt and keep it clean and neatly combed, which I always obeyed.
By this time, then, my brown, straight hair had a length that reached up to my shoulders, the bangs covered my eyes and nose, and I kept it combed to the side, and my ears, since I was eight, were never exposed , and I must say that the ears were huge and protruding.
One weekend we went to visit my mother's uncle and there I started talking to a man who was there visiting our relatives. I was very pleased that the gentleman gave me attention and talked to me about different topics, without treating me like a child or thinking that I was a boring teenager. That was nice that an older person talked to me as if I was a friend. Before leaving, he gave me a card with the address of his shop and said "show up there to talk more, my friend" and I smiled and said I would certainly visit him.
We were at the beginning of the school year and classes were going to start on Wednesday, so I took advantage of Monday off and, in the early afternoon, I took a walk to the place indicated on my new friend's card. Upon arriving at the site, I realized that the ‘shop’ was actually a barbershop. I went in and saw that my friend was there, alone, with no customer.
He quickly recognized me and said "Good afternoon my friend, what a pleasure to see you". I reached out to greet him and said, "Good afternoon, Sir, the pleasure is all mine." He invited me to sit and I sat on a comfortable sofa, which I understood was for customers while they waited.
As we talked, I noticed what his barbershop looked like it was very organized, clean, and spacious, although it only had one barberchair. There were many equipment there that I had never seen in the barbershop I usually went to and there was a pleasant aroma in the air that mixed several barbershop products.
The conversation was again very good and I didn't even feel the time passing and in the meantime no customer arrived. I asked if it was normally like that and he said that in this period of school holidays there were still few customers. I looked at the clock and realized that I had been there for a long time and I had some chores to do at home.
He then said to me, "My friend, now that you have come to visit me at my barbershop, how about I give you a haircut? I’ll do it for free". I was surprised, but I felt it wouldn't be polite to say no and I said, "Sure, sir, now?" He said yes and I said it was good, because I was worried cause I now had a short time to stay there.
He directed me to the barberchair and I jumped on the chair and sat up straight. He took a neckstrip and a striped cape and put them around my neck, closing the cape tight, lifting my long hair so it wouldn't get stuck inside the cape. He took a comb and started combing my hair. Then he said "don't you want it to be short?" As I was thinking that I had commented on the short time that I had, I thought he was talking about time, that it was in a short time and said "I want it to be short, Sir, as short as you can". He smiled and said, "A recon?" I had no idea what he was talking about, and for some silly reason instead of asking I said "Yes, Sir, a recon".
The barber then swiveled the chair around and put my back to the mirror. He came with clippers with # 1 blade in hand, held my head very tightly, turned on the clippers and started running them, placing them under my bangs, on the top of my head, from the forehead and followed up to the nape. A mountain of hair fell behind the chair.
For the first time I was watching clippers work, and hearing and feeling them above my head. I was in shock, not knowing what to do or say. And he made another pass from the clippers from forehead to nape. Another pile of hair fell behind the chair.
While he was working he kept talking to me. He said, "It's really cool that you want a cut like that, I didn't think you would want a short cut. But I am very happy, my friend. I do this cut a lot for my customers in the barracks" By then, I had already realized that there was some confusion and I didn't want to leave him disappointed, so I followed the conversation as if that was what I wanted. I asked him if he had many customers from the barracks and he said yes and that he himself had been in the army for many years. Meanwhile, all the hair on the top and back of my head had already been reduced to mere stubble.
He tilted my head a little and started running the clippers on the right side from sideburns to top. I saw mounds of hair falling from the side. He bent my huge ear and worked with the clippers around it. Then he went to the other side and changed the tilt of my head, and started making the same movement on the left side of my head. The whole time he was talking to me, about various subjects and always giving me the opportunity to speak too.
He then put my head back upright, took clippers in a different angle making them touch my head perpendicularly and started creating an oval-shaped line around the top of my head. The oval shape he marked was small, slightly larger than an adult person's hand.
He then turned off the clippers and put them back on the hook where he had taken them from. He took a mug and a shaving brush and came over to me to keep talking, while he quickly moved his arm to create shaving foam inside the mug. When he had created enough foam, he picked up the brush and began to spread the foam, which smelled very good, moving the brush in circles all over the back and sides of my head. What a good feeling.
We kept talking about everything, and we talked a lot about my studies, I said that on Wednesday classes would be starting. He asked me if I ever thought about going to military school. I told him I never thought about it, he told me to maybe give it a chance.
He then said "now be very quiet, friend" and took a razor, sharpened it on a leather strap by the barberchair, and began, pass after pass, to scrape my head on the back and sides. He was scraping up to the line he had created around the oval shape at the top of my head. When he was finished, he used a towel to get rid of the excess foam and then applied an after-shave with a very good aroma to the entire area he shaved.
He ran his hand over my head and, God, what a feeling! Totally new to me.
He then took a duster brush and dusted my whole head, my face, my neck, and did it a lot around my ears. Then he put talcum powder, with a great perfume, on the tips of the brush and passed it around the ears and on the nape. He swiveled the chair front to the mirror and showed me the cut and said "I hope you liked it, my friend". I smiled and said "Yes, it looks great, Sir, thank you very much"
He opened the cape and said "you can leave the chair now, my friend" I nodded and immediately obeyed.
I explained him that I needed to go, as I was late for my chores at home, I thanked him again for the haircut and left. Walking down the street I tried to see my reflection in every shop window and rubbed my head the whole the time ...