It’s 18.30 on a Tuesday afternoon. It’s very quiet at the shop today. I decide that in half an hour I’ll close everything and go home.
I’m reading a newspaper sitting down on my barber chair when a customer comes in. He’s a young looking man wearing sunglasses, tanned and in good shape with smooth black hair gathered behind his back with an elastic band to form a pony-tail, maybe 10 to 15 cm long.
He also had a rather long beard.
The impression is that of a very well groomed guy.
He takes off his sunglasses and greets me. At that moment though, I get the feeling that this is not a very nice guy. I get up and greet him kindly and show him the chair where to sit.
He takes off his glasses and sweater and sits in my red leather barber chair looking at the mirror intensely, as if to study himself well.
I get close and ask: “Hair? Beard?
He tells me firmly ” Hair “.
I take my mantle and put it around his neck.
As I take his pony tail in my hands, I start asking the usual routine questions: “What do we do?”
He answers me somewhat softly: “I do not know.
He looks into the mirror at me, ‘it’s the white hair, I want to get rid of it’; he can see how many white hairs I have. I cannot see them but I don’t mind. He cannot accept them.
‘I do not know why I’m here’, he says suddenly, ‘but I need a barber’s advice and so I thought I’d come in here.”
At this point the question arises spontaneously: “Where did you get your hair cut before?” And he mentions a shop belonging to a well-known hairdressing chain and then adds: “I’m a bit embarrassed, to ask them for this type of problem”.
At this point I think: “look at this asshole. when he wants to look cool, he goes to cut his hair at the expensive, showy place, but for the first embarrassing problem he runs to a real barber for advise”
I remove the elastic from the hair and it falls over his shoulders. His hair is very smooth and straight, with an even cut that comes to the shoulders. The hair is practically unmanageable if not tied.
“The problem of white hair can only be resolved by using dyes, however I honestly do not recommend it because then you’ll have to commit and it becomes a lifelong habit”.
If you make a dye right now, while you’re young it looks natural, but if you keep doing it in 10 years you’re ridiculous.
I can see the guy following my reasoning. Then I continue: “The truth is that we have to get used to the idea that sooner or later the hair will become white without making it an excessive drama”.
If you want, I can dye it for you but eventually your white hair will reappear all over again. “I advise you to get your hair cut shorter and leave it natural.
White Hairs?, Carry them with pride. They will make you look interesting perhaps with a different cut. I was brutally honest, but his current look and what he was going for was completely crap in my opinion.
Now it was up to him to make a decision. Either get up and go away or get a totally different haircut.
He looks at the mirror with his hair coming down over his ears and on his face. Then he turns to me and looks at me: “Cut it! Do it!”
I take my comb and shears and work away. Finally I get my barber hair clippers in hand and start shaving. I’m planning to cut the hair short with a fading buzz cut at the back and the sides. I’ve got just the right clippers for fades which I just got recently and have been dying to try out.
The guy looks in silence at the mirror. He looks on as his hair falls on the mantle and on the floor.
“We’re doing justice to your face,” I tell him, but he does not speak, I think he’s still slightly shocked at what he committed to.
I keep going with the same rhythm.
ZZZZZZZZZ … ZZZZZZZZZ … .ZZZZZZZZ … ZZZZZZZZ …
The new hair style is coming together nicely now. The cloak is full of hair and the guy still doesn’t say a word.
I remove the mantle and the hair falls on the floor.
The guy gets up and looks at the mirror. A hand on his head to feel the new hair which is lighter. No more pony-tail but a short and uniform cut with a slight fade on the back and sides.
“Shit!’ He says.
I smile and think that he’s probably wondering what his friends will think when they see him.
I realized that the success of this cut would be determined by how his friends would comment on the new look.
Blowing away some hairs from my shirt, I prepare the bill and hand it to him. He pays leaving a small tip and walks out of the door in a hurry.
I’m convinced I’ll never see him again…. I was wrong!
A few days later he stops in front of the shop, waving me out. I was working on a client and excused myself for a minute to go out and see what he wants.
I barely get out of the shop when he shakes my hand heartily and begins to thank me for his new hair cut.
Apparently it was a big hit. He received plenty of compliments from his friends and some even asked for the barber shop name.
It was a weird feeling. The vain and arrogant guy that walked into my shop a few days ago had disappeared. This guy was completely different. Maybe, along with the pony tail, I’d cut off all the bullshit that he carried around with him.