Perhaps A New Haircut

Posted: November 17, 2014 in Everyday Life

It was time for a long delayed haircut. I went to Tom the Barber. I’ve written about Tom before. Tom’s an interesting man and I like the tradition he represents.. One of the few barbers that still uses a straight razor to shave the neck and around the ears. You see, he’s still a barber not a stylist. He has a real shop with a barber pole and everything. He isn’t at a mall. He’s got a sign with a clock and movable hands on it that hangs on the door. It’s for back from lunch times, back from Rotary time. Gone golfing will be back time. I like the place. His wife sells insurance from the back of the store. There’s a little brass bell that rings when you open the door. I’ve lived in this town for 18 years and I know Tom as well as anyone in town. I go in to see him about once a month and we catch up on everything. We talk about where I’ve been working, how his golf game is going, the local sports, weather and grandkids. It’s a nice place to be, I enjoy going there. It would be very hard to change barbers.

Today before the haircut and asking him to raise my part a little higher on my head, you see Tom has trouble with parts, they keep creeping further down the side of my scalp after each haircut and I have to have him raise it further up my head about once a year. November or early December is a good time to bring it up. He’s usually in a good mood during the holidays. He doesn’t pay much attention to the length of my sideburns either, they are never the same length when he’s done. You don’t dare say anything about it because the more time he spends trying to get them even the more chance you’ll end up with none at all by the time he gives up. When he’s done with the haircut and he turns you around to the mirror, it’s best just to keep your glasses off and tell him it looks just fine. You don’t want him trying to touch things up. It just takes up time and it could be dangerous, he uses the sharp scissors for touch-ups and I value my ears too much. Shaving the neck with the straight razor he’s good at, touch-ups – don’t bother. Anyway, after I crawled up on the chair and before he began, Tom dropped a bomb that is becoming harder and harder to hear from my not so much older friends. Tom is retiring.

He says it will be a slow transition. He says he won’t just quit cold turkey. He’ll work a couple days a week, I’ll bet Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I know Saturday will be out. No one likes working on Saturdays. Many have to but I know no one that likes it. Tom definitely won’t work Saturdays after he retires. Trust me Tom, haircuts will become less frequent and golf will become more and before you know it the clock on the door will be at a permanent “gone fishing time”. And I don’t blame him. He says he will take appointments like he did while he was escorting his grandson to different colleges demonstrating his baseball playing skills and was gone most of the week and weekends last summer. But haircuts by appointments aren’t my cup of tea. I’m afraid I will be looking for another barber. With emphasis on barber. As in a barber shop. There’s not many left. But salons I know are flourishing.

I’ve had my hair cut in a beauty shop before, I was very uncomfortable. I was draped by a brightly colored barber’s cape. I really think it was a flower print, daisies I thought but it was probably just circles but it felt like daisies. I’m used to pin stripes, plain blue or red pin stripes. As it should be. Smells are important in barber shops too, Old Spice talc, Colgate shave cream, witchhazel and Butch Wax. Maybe not used as much as in years past but their smells still linger. All barber shops smell like that. None of that in the salon.

My female barber wore a jasmine based perfume, my knees go limp at the smell of jasmine. She had impeccably manicured nails, you know with the finely drawn designs of stars and comets on a background of smooth reddish shaded polish that accentuated her thin fingers and soft  hands. She took her time being very careful with every snip. With a soft voice, she suggested perhaps a different way to comb my hair so the part wouldn’t be so troublesome. Without a thought she trimmed my sideburns very stylishly short and she said she just couldn’t believe how much better I looked, very handsome. She even touched up the eyebrows, she unlike Tom, suggested I try having two, one evenly spaced over each eye. I’ll tell ya, I was miserable.

Well, Tom, sorry to see you retire. Don’t know what I’ll do without ya. But enjoy your retirement. I guess I’m doomed to having to make an appointment with that stylist girl every couple weeks down at the Mall. I know it will be sad, I will miss the shop with its atmosphere but what can you do, there just aren’t any real men barber shops left.

Such is the life of John.

  1. Aw. This made me smile, laugh, and sigh. Change is not easy. I’ve never been in a barber shop, but the way you described it makes me feel like I missed out on something good…really good. The way you wrote this, I felt like I was there…and I could smell the wonderful smells, hear Tom talk, watch him work. I know you will miss him when he retires completely. 😦
    “…but, it felt like daisies.” I LOVE that! 🙂
    This is so well written, John! It was a joy to read! 🙂
    It made me think of other places that have changed/are changing. I remember, as a little girl, going with my Dad to the garage where the car was being fixed…it had such a cool vibe, and great smells…I liked looking at the cars and all the tools. I liked looking at the signs or oil and tires. I liked peeking at the pin-up calendars and girly-pics on the walls in the office, etc. 🙂 Not sure if garages are like that these days.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks SweetC! Yes, the car garages are another example, you described them well. But now they are changing too, you don’t see the pinups 😀 like you used to, 😦 . Not PC you know. 😐 I loved taking my daughter with me to places like that, everyone always made over her, they didn’t see little girls there that often. Hope my daughter remembers them like you do….
      Well, it did feel like daisies! But, you know, I sorta enjoyed the experience. Being made over by a pretty girl isn’t that bad! Soft voice, great smell, a strange woman running her fingers through my hair and occasionally her chest just brushing across my shoulder. 😛 I could learn to like it! 😉 I may even get hair cuts more often! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. jasmine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ~ Sadie ~ says:

    Just loved this, love the nostalgia — & like my husband always says, the one thing you can count on is that everything changes, good and bad. But cheer up, I’m sure lots of stylists wear jasmine 😉
    Great post, John!

    Liked by 1 person

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