Haircuts

I used to hate haircuts. I was violently against them, simply because when I was younger my haircutting experiences were often less than pleasant. When I was but a wee nipper my mother thought it was a good idea to save money by cutting my lovely locks herself. Anyone who’s had their hair cut by their mother knows that this is seldom a good thing. A bowl on someones head does not equate to a good hairstyle in ANY culture. As a result I spent a large portion of my school years looking like a mushroom. And not even a cool Super Mario one.

Eventually I convinced her to take me to a proper barber, which turned out to be even worse than her cuts. She took me to a guy located on Fish Hoek Main Road. Anyone who has driven that stretch knows who I’m talking about, that greasy guy who always stands outside smoking as if he has no business. The guy who shares his shop space with the dog groomers. I think my mom had words with him because he asked me what I wanted and then promptly ignored everything I told him and gave me a bowl cut. Thanks, Greasy Guy! That was the start of my anti-barber movement and I spent the rest of my school years hidden behind a large mop of hair. Mop is honestly the only way i could describe it. My fringe was down to my chin and the back was long enough to make a 4cm ponytail. Yeah, I looked like a girl. I used to get around hair checks by combing the fringe to the side, tucking it behind my ears and, beacuse I kept putting it in a ponytail at home to stuff around, it started curling up and never touched my collar. The teachers hated me as they could only ‘suggest’ I got a haircut. My ‘rebellious’ phase at school…

Then some friends on a youth camp thought they would do me a favour and cut my hair for me by way of electric razor. There were a few delays as the machine overheated due to the thickness of my mop. The final result surprised me, I had forgotten I had eyes! Made me think maybe these weren’t so bad. After that there were no hair styles, only a number two.

Unfortunately, laziness and an alarming ability to grow my hair back faster than the speed of sound meant it soon grew back with a vengeance. By Matric I had a mop again. Not as bad as before but pretty bad. After my Matric dance I decided to slice it off again. Number two it was… Three months later, it was back, but I was out of school and working where they didn’t care what you looked like so I left it. I”m a bodyboarder so the long hair kinda suited the lifestyle until I almost killed myself during a surf when my hair got into my eyes and got me into a spot of bother. I gave it some thought and decided I would risk the barber once more…

Luckily, now that I was living the high-rolling life of a waiter, I reckoned I could afford to choose my own barber. I decided to try the hairsalon run by my friend’s mom. As I walked in, I immediately felt at eaze. No greasy blade-wielding weirdos, no smell of dog shampoo, all good. They offered me coffee and I knew I was home. And then, they washed my hair. I now realised why people paid so much to get their haircut, I woulda paid double just for that head massage! And by that, I mean she massaged my scalp…sicko. When she was done I realised that I bore a striking resemblance to Matt Damon (if everyone around me closed their eyes and pretended) and decided that I would keep my hair at this length to enhance what little natural beauty I may have. They would be my salon of choice.

Unfortunately, the life of a waiter meant that I seldom had time to just nip to the barber. Then someone gave me a ray of hope. “There’s a guy here that cuts hair for only R30,” he said. “Just up that alley.” R30?! That was like paying half-price! I decided to give it a go. I’ve never been so scared. It was my first experience with one of those cutthroat razors and the fact that he was cutting my hair with it while smoking and watching Oprah didn’t put me at ease. But he pulled it off and I walked out happy. One of the best cuts ever. Sadly, when I went back, he was busy so his son helped me. Turns out Junior is not as proficient at the Oprah-smoking Style and cut me quite badly. I only realised once I had left and someone asked if I knew that I was bleeding profusely from behind my ear. But, R30 is R30 so I continued to support them with no further incident.

After moving, I realised that I would have to find a barber near me. Luckily, there’s one just across from me and they were having a special! Yeah, I’m cheap, so? I sat down and she asked how I liked it. I froze. I’ve always been at a loss when describing it because they always interpret it differently so my eyes darted around until I found a picture that accurately summed up what wanted… “Ricky Martin, please…” Yeah, yeah, I got my hair cut like Ricky. I’m not proud of it but there you go. Perhaps I was hoping that it would infuse this poor whiteboy body with his crazy Latino rhythm. Did it? No…But it seemed to affect the stylist in some small way as she cut my hair to the tune of “You’ve lost that loving feeling”.

Perhaps I should save time and money and just go for something simple next time. Perhaps a Telly Savalas…

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