Friday, 2 August 2013

Necessary Evils: Going to the Barbershop

It’s only because I have to…

With my blog revamp in full swing, I’ve been thinking about possible, future blog series that I can develop. The idea about “necessary evils” had been swimming around in my head for some time, and given the fact that there is more than one, I figured that it would make an excellent blog series.

By definition, a “necessary evil” is something that you don’t like doing, but you have to, for whatever reason. Included in my list of necessary evils are travelling by maxi taxi, working, Facebook, and going to the barbershop. The latter is the subject of this post; basically, I’ll explain why I think I have to go the barbershop, although I don’t necessarily like it.

So, why is it necessary? The answer is quite simple actually: I like looking good from head to toe, and without a haircut, I feel like a vagrant. I blame my parents; they have always instilled in me the notion of "having pride in your appearance". You know, having clean fingernails, well ironed clothes, clean shoes, proper hygiene, and so forth. As it relates to my hair, as soon it starts “rolling up”, I begin to feel uncomfortable and ugly, and I need to have it cut. 

Sadly, I can’t do it myself. I’ve been told that I should, but I know that it will take a long time for me to master doing it, since I’m an uncoordinated mess. Until I master it, there will be a lot of mistakes up there. Overall, it’s going to defeat the whole purpose of getting a haircut, if I walk around looking like a browner version of this:

Long ago, my father used to cut mine and my brother’s hair, but life happened. I suppose that I could find another family member or friend of the family to take his place, but I don’t really trust anyone else. Basically, I need to go to the barbershop because I don’t want to look homeless, disappoint my parents, and there are no other options. So, the question remains: If I really need to go to the barbershop, why do I think of them as evil?  


Every time I enter a barbershop, I’m reminded of all my insecurities from secondary school. In short, I was called names and judged for not being most students’ idea of how a “man” is supposed to act or talk. It took me a long time to accept myself as I am, but whenever I visit the barbershop it all comes rushing back in a swirl of dead hair. I feel like everyone scrutinizes me about everything from my brightly coloured T-shirts to my high voice to my use of Chap Stick to my colourful hand-bands. I view the barbershop as this overtly masculine place, where men go to be men, and anything against the norm is simply not accepted. I try my best to dissimulate; I keep my head down, and keep conversation to a minimum. It’s possible that I could be imagining it all, and taking myself too seriously. Sigh!

Then, there are the annoyingly infuriating topics of conversation that most barbers and patrons alike seem to engage in, especially those that border on male chauvinism, homophobia, and the like. One barber was talking about how upset he was that his wife had decided to find a job because she would eventually begin to neglect her duties as his wife. *rolls eyes* I can recall other occasions like that one, which incensed me, but I’m always too afraid to speak up (see the aforementioned paragraph). Double sigh!

Finally, there are some barbers who perturb me to the core of my being. They’re usually the ones who enjoy talking, which I have no problem with, but when they stop cutting my hair to pose with the machine in their hand and wave emphatically while telling their story, I become livid. Then, there are times when the barber insists on engaging in small talk, that is, ask me a lot of questions to mind my business. I don't need you to talk to me; hurry and do your job, and quit with the mindless conversation. Honestly, sometimes, I feel like screaming, “HELLO! I have somewhere to be!” Triple sigh!

That’s all folks! Keep on the lookout for other posts in the series.

Until the next one!