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The short story of a longhaired barber by Storyteller.


The stories I share here are always fictional, based on my childhood as a hairy boy in the 70s, in which I introduce a fictional event that would change my longhaired status by causing me to receive an extreme haircut in some situation that I couldn't escape from.

This time I'm going to reverse things and tell a real story, but which, I'll tell you, doesn't involve haircuts, but somehow portrays what the reality of the 70s was like for barbers, at least in the context in which I lived back then.

After my childhood and adolescence with long hair, in adulthood I started to have my hair cut shorter and shorter, and very often, by choice.
When I was 30 something, in the early 2000s, I once went to a small barbershop, which I had never visited, in a neighborhood far from mine. I noticed that the barber was a man older than me who had longish hair, something unusual at the time.

I asked for a very short cut, as I always did at the time. He started the cut and asked me if I had always had short hair and I replied that I had grown up in the 70s and had long hair like most boys at the time. Then he started to tell his story.

'He said he became a barber before turning 18, in the 1970s, and went to look for a job in a large barbershop, with many barber chairs, quite traditional in an upper-middle class neighborhood of the city, thinking it would be hard for him to get a job there, but tried anyway. And on top of that, he had long hair, which he imagined would contrast with the characteristics of the traditional barbershop.

To the young barber's surprise, not only was he accepted, but the other barbers asked him to keep his hair long because, at the time, traditional barbershops, like that one, were losing young customers and not gaining new ones. The reason: young men and teenagers from those social classes wanted to keep their hair long and were a little afraid of entering a traditional barbershop with barbers with short hair or bald, and a younger barber with long hair could be an eye-catcher for young customers.

The barber reported that the strategy worked, as it was well located, the barbershop soon began to attract young customers and the barber quickly achieved success. And from then on, he never wanted to change his long hair style, which quickly allowed him to gain a place on the haircutting job.’

I know this story is different from the ones we tell here, but I thought it was interesting to report. Another aspect that I find interesting to comment on is that, in our imaginary, in fictional stories, it's great to describe barbers who show no mercy for their customers and make unwanted and very short haircuts, but the truth is that the barber is a professional like any other and needs his work to survive. And, especially at that time, having a reputation as a ‘butcher’ would not have been desirable.

I never went back to that barbershop, and I imagine that nowadays, more than 20 years later, the barber must have already retired, and I wonder if he still has long hair. I hope my report was interesting, it was something I heard many years ago, and only now I realized it could be interesting to share here.




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