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Asking For a Certain Barber by imagehound
A while back, I`d seen a guy come out of a local barbershop then and he`d had the back and sides clipped/shaved bald and a perfectly flat 1` top. It looked a bit wierd as he looked sorta like Frankenstein`s Monster/Herman from the Munsters, you know that blocky square kind of head with just hair on top. Anyway, I sorta kept thinking about this for several weeks and finally got to go to the barbershop myself as I really wanted a good #1 buzzcut as it was warm weather and I`d grown out to maybe a #3-#4, that sorta stage where it`s starting to look a bit shaggy and have a greasy feel to it in warm weather, you know.
There were 2 barbers busy at the time. One was an older sorta guy doing a scissor/comb trim type of cut on a young guy, maybe 25yo, with the hair squarish at the back and a bit old-fashioned really and he wasn`t making a very good job of it. The other barber was a young woman doing a great #1 buzzcut on a young good-looking guy, maybe 20yo. Anyway, I knew what I hoped to get and just watched this guy getting this great haircut and kept thinking, wow that`s just how I want mine.
As unluck would have it, the male barber finished his cut first, although it wasn`t a good job, a bit uneven in parts and, although he`d finished with clippers on the neck and sides, it still wasn`t quite right. The female barber still had to do one side and the back of the buzzcut.
The male barber`s client got up and paid and left the shop, and the barber looked across and motioned that he was ready. I was uncomfortable but I just said I`d just wait till the other guy was done. The barber didn`t say anything but I got a sorta impression that he was a bit surprised, maybe wondering about why I did that and whether the last cut could have been better, or maybe I just fancied the woman. He obviously had been cutting hair for years, you know how longtime barbers build up little personal gifts and framed pictures of things over the years, well he had that kind of thing around the wall mirror.
A few minutes later, a young Japanese guy maybe 20yo came into the shop, looked at the female barber and the haircut in progress and the empty barber chair, looked at me and asked if it was my turn, so I said I was just waiting for the other guy, pointing to the young guy being buzzed, I think the Japanese guy thought that the other guy and me were just buds, so he got into the empty barber chair and asked for a #1 buzzcut too.
Wow, this`ll be interesting, I thought, wondering what sorta job the male barber would do.
Anyway, I just sat there watching one guy having his #1 buzzcut being finished and another having his started, Geez it was just awesome as I could see the front views of each guy as reflections in the mirrors, the right side and back of the Japanese guy and the left side of the other guy, all 4 views at once, as the two guys were back-to-back from where I was sitting, with the first guy being further away from the Japanese guy, if you get what I mean.
A couple of minutes later the guy with the first buzzcut was done and it really was a great cut, even all over, perfect outline neck, sides and round the ears, just a perfect model military buzzcut.
I was in the barber chair before the guy had paid and left, I just couldn`t wait any longer!
The woman was really nice, obviously knew how she wanted young guys to look like, and when I told her I wanted the same cut as the last guy she sorta smiled and hinted that she knew I`d been admiring her work after turning down the male barber`s invite to his chair.
Anyway, she combed through the hair I had and started on the left side. We didn`t talk a lot but sorta kept the subject to aspects about the haircut. Geez, she was really gentle too with the clippers. After doing the left side, she started on the right, that was when my mirror showed the Japanese guy from the back of the left side getting his cut, so I was watching my cut and his from my mirror, just like a dream really.
The woman started on the back of my head, so all I really watched was the Japanese guy getting the top of his head buzzed, and it was obvious that the barber wasn`t doing a bad job on it all. I wondered if my refusal had made him improve his game and also wondered if maybe I should have given him a chance. Anyway, that possibility was history by then.
By the time the top of my head was being buzzed, the Japanese guy was done and paying the fee. When he left, the shop was left with just the three of us. Next to nothing was said for the next 10 minutes as my cut was being finished.
The view in the hand mirror of the back was awesome. Even, square, slight taper around the neckline, she`d done a great job. The Japanese guy`s buzzcut had been OK but mine was much better.
I thanked the woman for the haircut without any real extra fuss and paid up, then left the shop. And that was it. Nothing was said about me choosing the female barber over the male one. I guess the guy could still feel pleased with himself as I`d probably just fancied the female to do the cut for me. Truth is, I`d have rathered had it cut by a male barber, as I`ve had some bad experiences of female barbers in the past, it was just not to be on that particular day, that`s all.
The buzzcut didn`t cost that much really, but it was a real pro job, done by a woman too, and the chance of seeing two buzzcuts being done at the same time twice over was priceless.
After that day I didn`t get to go back to the same shop as work pattern changed and the only possible time to go was early Saturday morning, but there was always something else to do then. Back to the trusty Wahl home clippers for 10 minutes each time, but never quite perfection, specially round the ears, getting that even arch balanced on each side.
I`ve got good memories of that buzzcut day though. I don`t think I`ve written this stuff down before but I`ve thought about this stuff ever since the cut. Hope you`ve enjoyed reading this here as much as I have remembering it and writing it down today.