My aunt Dondie entered the quaint little barbershop and had a seat in the waiting area as all three of us followed. Aunt Dondie had brought me and my two cousins (her sons) for a trim in the local barbershop. It was a tiny shop, tiled, with only about 5 seats as well as the gigantic barber chair that stood in the centre of the room. The shop was empty except for us.
“Who’s first?” called the barber from behind the chair.
An hour later all three of us had been trimmed ( nothing much).
“That’ll be sixty dollars,” said the barber as he finished sweeping away the hair on the ground, expecting us to be getting ready to leave.
“Actually I’d like to get a haircut too,” said my aunty. A tad surprised, the barber agreed.
Aunty Dondie was by far one of the most beautiful women i knew. Though she was forty years old, you’d easily mistake her for being in her twenties. Her luscious hair was thick, jet black and quite voluminous. The length of Aunty Dondie’s hair was quite inconsistent as she would wait for it to grow past her shoulders, then go by the hairdresser and have it cut short, a little under her chin. She would often take me by surprise as this short haircut always happened so suddenly, and today seemed to be one of those days. At the moment, her luxuriant bushy black hair reached about mid back and had lots of volume. She was in desperate need of a haircut, one that was manageable. She didnt know when was the next time she would be able to visit the hairdresser so a barbershop haircut right now would probably be her best bet.
After gingely making her way to the centre of the room, the barber sat Aunty Dondie down in his chair. Her brown sandals rested on the footrest and her hands gripped the armrests as he produced a strip of tissue and placed the neckstrip around her neck snugly. After pinning up her hair, the barber pulled out a clean white cape and draped it around her body, fastening it around her neck. As he unpinned the long thick, black hair and let it lay on the cape, i couldnt help but think about how beautiful her hair was, contrasting with the cape. It was almost a shame that most of this hair was going to be clipped off and on the floor. The barber pumped up the barber chair about 4 clicks and using a big comb, combed out my aunt’s thick mass of hair, past her shoulders.
“Just a trim?” asked the barber casually as he finished combing her hair.
“Actually I’d like you to cut my hair very short. I’m always busy… I don’t know when I’ll be able to get my hair cut again,”remarked my Aunt.
“So exactly how short do you want me to cut it?” asked the barber.
“I want you to cut my hair into a chin length bob. And clean up my nape please,” instructed aunty Dondie.
“Thats fine… but im going to have to use the clippers to cut your hair because of the amount i need to shear off.” he said flatly. Aunty Dondie honestly didnt mind, she was just grateful that the barber was willing to clip her hair into that short haircut she desired.
Comb in hand, the barber picked up his clippers and turned them on. The sudden buzzing sound made my aunt jump. The barber smirked, stifling a laugh and combed out a large section of her hair on the left side of her head. He bent her head down so that her chin was nestled above her breasts, her eyes fixed on her shoes. Aunty Dondie was now ready to be shorn in the barbershop. With his comb holding the hair in place, using the clippers over comb technique, he viciously clipped off a large chunk of my aunt’s hair. Aunty Dondie watched as the mass of what used to be her gorgeous black hair slide off the cape and on to the ground. Her youngest son began to cry, clearly uncomfortable seeing his mother sitting on a barber chair having her lustrous locks barbered off, but he was reasurred by his mothers smile.
“It doesnt hurt, see?”said his mom as the barber cut off another large chunk from the left side of her head with the clippers and it fell on the cape.
” Mom what is he doing to your hair. I like when your hair gets long and thick,” lamented her youngest son, still perturbed .
“Don’t worry sweetie… the barber is just giving mommy a nice short haircut. I know you like it when its long, but you know how big and unmanageable it gets. And im sure hell be done clippering me soon. Right?” said Aunty Dondie optimistically.
The barber explained to the son that his mother would have her short crop completed within a short while. He then continued to repeatedly comb and clip sections of her long black hair until the bulk of her hair was now gone. At this point, Aunty Dondie’s cape was now more black than white. The barber used a very low guard as he passed the clippers up and down the back of her head and cleaned up her nape. Then, working around her head, he clipped my aunt’s hair closely to her chin. Upon glancing upward, Aunty Dondie smiled. The length was now very short and in fact similar to her husband’s haircut. She thought it would be interesting to see what he thought if she got a haircut that was even shorter than his.
“Do you think you could take it shorter… Maybe ear’s length?” she asked. The barber obliged and with a smile on his face he began to work, once again combing and clipping until she had a nice short ear length bob haircut with a low nape. He then used the clippers to clean up, trimmimg off bits of hair from all around her head. My aunt now had a fresh, short wedge bob haircut instead of the huge mass of black hair that she used to have. I wondered what my uncle would think when she came home that evening sporting her ultra short haircut.
“Mom are you done yet?” called the eldest son.
“One sec again sweetie! But do you like my new haircut?”
“Its too short. I kinda miss your long black hair!” he answered.
“Well i love my ultra short bob!” exclaimed his mom, as the barber finally put down the clippers, dusted the excess hair off her face and began combing aunty Dondie’s hair into a style.
Personally i thought aunty dondie looked ravishing in her new ear length bob. The scene was majestic. My aunt, caped and sitting down in the barber chair with her new short hair. What used to be big thick gorgeous hair now lay in big black curly piles all over the barbershop floor as well as on the cape.
After inspecting the final do, aunty dondie smiled, satisfied. She loved it and couldnt stop playing with it. The barber, also satisfied with clipping my aunt’s hair off, uncaped her, allowing masses of black hair cascade to the floor. He removed the necktissue and dropped it to the floor where it joined all the hair he had relentlessly removed from my aunt’s head. She then brushed a tuft of her hair of her sandal and got off the barber chair. She paid the barber handsomely, thanked him profusely for relieving her of that bulk of long hair and left happily with us, a persistent smile adorning her face all the way home.
That was not the last time Aunty Dondie visited that barbershop. I myself have witnessed a few great and thorough shearings of her at that same barbershop. In fact, whenever her hair grows out too much and becomes a thick black, heavy mass, she opts to return to that very barbershop with us, (which her sons have made peace with) and has her hair clipped short by the barber.