The Barbershop: A Haircut and a Healing
There are few relationships as intimate as the one between a barber and their clients.
Growing up I’ve always had hair. It was so long that it began to pass my shoulders and then one day my mother was over it. Her hands started to hurt from constantly braiding and washing my hair either every week or two weeks. So she decided to take me the barbershop across the street from our Apartment building. So of course I was crying because this was something that I was use to. The long hair, the taking it out with the comb, the washing it out with shampoo and conditioner and then last but not least the braiding. I was use to that happening to me every week and I grew to love the process.
So I kicked and I screamed and I cried and I cried. Just to try and shut me up the Barber tried giving me a lollipop.
Did that work?
Hell NO. So I continued with my temper tantrum. Until my mother whispered something in my ear that led me to straighten up real quick. So I sat there and pouted and I was pissed off. But then he went to work on my huge Afro and he was cutting and taking off pieces of my hair strand by strand; then he started to shape me up and then he swung that chair around and said:
“How you looking?”
I jumped out of his chair and walked over to the mirror and started to touch my head and instantly my frown was turned upside down. After that day I’ve been getting Haircuts none stop. I haven’t seen a comb or my mother’s fingers going through my hair since.
A haircut, for me, has become a restorative experience. At its best, it transforms — mind, body, and even my soul. You feel different. You take Pride in your haircut.
Some may think that I’m over exaggerating but think about it especially if you’re a guy/boy. These men (Barbers) are in every important process that we are going through. Whether it’s the first day of school, interview, job, wedding, date, and even a funeral. Because we trust these men and women (Yes there are women Barbers. Shout out to y’all) with our image and hope to God that they don’t ever sneeze, cough, or even get the hiccup and fuck up our cut. Because if that’s ruined then everything is going down hill from there. They are responsible for how we develop and reinforce our identity.
Shit these sanctuaries that we call “The Barber Shop” can sometimes be our therapy sessions. Whether it’s about things going on at home, with you, Sports (Sports is a big topic in the Barber Shop), and even Politics. But there’s like an unspoken code that once a beautiful women walks in front of the shop all the talking, the cutting stops and everything becomes completely
Just so we can admire until some one says…..
I don’t know if they went to school or what. But These men (The Barbers) have some of the best advice sometimes better than the elders can give us. They either have the best advice or they’re the best listeners because sometimes that’s all we want is to just vent and the barbershop is the place to do it.
But before I continue I would like to apologize on behalf of all the men who gets their haircut consistently. Because we don’t treat you guys like human beings. I say that because one day I went to get my haircut and my Barber told that he we going away for two weeks with his family and I then found myself getting upset and aggravated talking to myself saying:
“This nigga is selfish.”
“He knows I come to him every week and he want to take a damn vacation. How dare you.”
Some may ask:
why don’t you just go to another barber?
How dare you speak those words. This is where your Loyalty comes in. Some may even say
“Cheating on your girl is one thing. But to go to another Barber that’s unheard of.”
Yes I do know how bad that sounds but I have heard these words spoken before. It’s fucked up how we think but this is the truth. For one you can’t trust everyone with your hair because that new barber may push back your line, may give you an unintentional part in your head that you never asked for, and it just feels wrong sitting in someone else’s chair. But the only time I would say that it is ok to go to another barber while your original barber is away is if you’re in a wedding or your getting married yourself, and if you have a job interview. Other than that you better wolf until your Barber comes back.
Wolfing- A slang term used to express how uncontrollably their hair has become. In other words scruffy/unkept/grown out hair.
Most of you are probably thinking:
Prince it’s not that serious man.
Yeah it is. I’m just explaining how much of an impact these men have on us as a Black man or a man just in general. Sometimes we lose sight that this isn’t a hobby for these men. This is how they make their bread and butter, this is how they support their family, this is a job just like any other job. Whether it’s a Police Officer, Train Conductor, etc.
Bread and Butter- A slang term that’s used for multiple meanings but in this sense it means how one makes a form of income.
We tend to forget that this is their job so it’s understandable when they get upset when we don’t call to say that we are either running late or don’t show up at all when we already Scheduled an appointment. So like I said before I apologize to the Barbers for us being so inconsiderate and treating your profession, your art like a Hobby. If you don’t hear it enough you are appreciated.
Things may get hard for us whether it’s dealing with Family issues, work or financial issues. But when we sit in that chair and our barber throws that cape around us and then ask:
“What we doing today?”
*The clippers clicks on.”
And after that everything seems calm and at Peace.
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