The Barber


Every once in a while I get my hair cut. I spend about a month threatening to do it before finally making the commitment. I went to the same hair salon in LA for many years which fit the two most important requirements, the shop was within walking distance from my house and they charged ten bucks. More often then not they did a decent job, so they continued to get my return business of ten dollars plus tip every five months or so.

When I moved back to Miami it took a while to find my barber. The first place I went to had a sign that said “niños $10”. To my surprise they did not consider me a niño and instead charged me $20. The next place I went to couldn’t be bothered to shave my nape hair. About two years later I was running an errand and saw an old barber pole and figured I’d test their competence. The charge was $15, they followed my direction of making me look like a model. So I have been returning there since.

On my last visit on a Saturday morning there was a line for the barber who owned the establishment, so I decided to go for Lorenzo who was sweeping up stray hairs. I sat in the chair and he snipped a few times before he told me, “You have very greasy hair.”

I told him, “Thank you.”

He cut it some more and then sucked his teeth. “You need to have it washed.”

“Perhaps my hair was greasy, but as I looked at the barber’s hands I noticed so were his fingers. Not only did it make me feel ill to imagine him massaging my scalp with those fingers, but it would also turn my $15 haircut into a $20 one and that is a slippery slope.

I told him I washed it right before I came there which was the truth.

“It’s very hard to cut.”

This attitude was giving me flashbacks of going to the orthodontist as a kid and being yelled at that I wasn’t keeping my braces clean enough. Except now I was an adult so I told him, “Do your best.”

He was in the position of strength though with his already chopping off a portion of my hair not to mention him having scissors pointed in my direction. He finished my cut very rapidly. It was longer than I would have liked, but he did shave my neck hair and did not lop off one of my ears so I’ll consider it a wash and next homeless person I see with nappy hair and lice I will send to Lorenzo.


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