Hair To The Empire

Ugh! Enough with the sloppy puns already.

I love it when even the smallest details are given the attention they truly deserve. So it often hurts me that the barber’s cape at the salon I frequented didn’t have mirrored lettering on it. When I sat on the chair – the barber clipping away my dry, lifeless hair – the letters on the reflection of the cape were all reversed. This has been a pet peeve of mine for quite some time now.

I’ve often wondered if I should consider being a patron of a different salon, one that has the perfect cape for me to wear. To be honest, though, it would be petty of me to change salons simply because their cape the lettering on their cape wasn’t up to my liking. The real reason I had considered moving was that every time I went there, there would be a new barber, ready to cut my hair. It was exhausting having to explain my preferences to a barber I’d never see again. Regardless, my trip to the salon on Wednesday was… special to say the least.

I am pretty relaxed during haircuts but there is a period of time when anxiety sets in. Anytime the barber is close to my temple – to adjust my sideburns – or by the sides of the head, I start paying close attention to what he does. I get nervous and extremely alert. I’m guessing it might be because of remnants of unresolved childhood trauma.

This image worries me way more than it should.

I was in sixth grade, Literature class. The lesson we were being taught had an absent-minded barber as one of the characters. My teacher, in trying to explain what ‘absent-minded’ meant, recounted how a barber had once sneezed while cutting his hair. He was clumsy and did not move the scissors in his hand away when he sneezed. The scissors dug into the skin of my teacher, right beside his right eyebrow. He even showed us the scar that had formed over the gash.

In hindsight though, he could have used a better example and avoided traumatising impressionable 11-year old kids for life. Ever since that class I’ve been very aware of the barber when he cuts close to my ears and face – ready to duck in any direction as soon as I sense something wrong.

Despite this ‘trauma’, I was seated quite comfortably for someone who kept thinking about hairdressers inadvertently attacking him. “This would make a great blog post,” I thought. And that’s when it hit me. Salons make for perfect places to unwind and let my thoughts flow as they like. After all, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about how great it is to let your mind wander at a salon, which means I should make this a regular feature. I used to think there was something special about being in that chair that helped me zone out, but it turns out, this is what I always do! The salon was making it easier for me.

I’m prone to such experiences all the time, but usually, there isn’t a situation where I can let my senses dull and not have something go wrong. Getting a haircut, on the contrary, I can sit and relax on the chair, enjoy the cool air blasting from the air conditioner (which hopefully won’t kill me) and the ambient music, while the barber does all the work for me. Of course, this is excluding those moments of pure agony when the panic sets in. But it’s great because I can lower my guard and not have anything stolen from me. Public transportation is quite similar – I can zone out, someone else is driving for me and I can sit back and relax – but there is always too much action going on outside for me to zone out.

And that, I think, is why I usually have these ‘shower thoughts’ in the salon, before I have a shower. #salonthoughts anyone? Didn’t think so. Now that I’ve written this down, it seems patently absurd to me, that I’m a grown adult who is still traumatised by what someone said 12 years ago, and then thinks about it and then writes about it online, then goes on to analyse why he only has such thoughts in the salon. I should probably stop now.

Image: Renee Olmsted on Pixabay

One thought on “Hair To The Empire

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