Inga From Sweden

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Inga was a mature woman, she was from Sweden and a barber. She had a 2 chair shop in NJ. Hers shop was by appointment only. I found from going through the Yellow Pages. Most shops don’t do shaves. When I called and heard a woman’s voice with an accent say she does hot lather shaves and facials I was very excited.

I made Friday morning appointment with her. I walked into her shop and there was a woman in her 60s wearing a pink high neck uniform and wire rimmed glasses. She had gray hair pouffed on top but short around the sides and back. She asked if I wanted a close shave, I said yes, she said ok, I’ll have to shave you 2X. once before your facial and once after. I was fine with that. She placed a tissue paper strip around my neck and fastened the white with black pin stripe cape around my neck tightly. She tilted the chair back and instructed me to lift my feet. She flipped over the foot rest and I was able to stretch out. She pinched my face and felt the direction my beard grew. She said “looks like you haven’t shaved in a few days” (I hadn’t). She wrapped my face in a cool wet towel. She removed it with one hand and applied a white cream to my face. She massaged the cream into my face vigorously, she got some more cream and continued to rub it into my face. Her touch was firm and commanding. I heard the sound of the hot lather machine and she applied the hot lather vigorously with he finger tips, the palm of her hand and the back of her hand. She let the lather sit on my face for a minute or two, then wrapped my face in a hot steam towel. She went to the towel warmer and took out another hot towel and wrapped that over the other towel. She pressed it on to my face. It caused me to slow down my breathing and enjoy the aroma of the lather and cream. My body tingled. She removed the towels and re-examined my beard with her hand. “I need to soften your beard up some more.” She applied more of the pre shave cream followed by an application of the hot lather. Another face wrapping with 2 steam towels. She let them set on my face for about 5 minutes. She removed the towels and applied hot lather once again. She rubbed it with the grain and then against the grain. She stropped a red handled straight razor and began to shave my cheek. It felt like a feather gliding over my face, she used light and quick strokes. She felt up my face again, re-lathered me and again used light and quick razor strokes. She placed a hot towel over may face. She removed the towel and told me to “pick my head up.” She loosened the snaps on the cape. She unbuttoned my shirt to my waist and tucked a towel into the shirt on each side of my chest. She had a rolling stool and positioned herself behind my head. I could see her reflection in the mirror and me caped and laying in front of her. She applied a cream that smelled like lemons all over my face, ears and the back of my neck……

She had a radio station on that played music from the late 40s. She reminisced about working at a shop in Stockholm. She said all the musicians from America would come into the shop she worked at and got shaves. She once shaved the famous drummer Gene Krupa, she offered a haircut but said he only lets one barber cut his hair. She went on about how she would get free tickets and go to see all the concerts. She was lost in her thoughts and I wondered if she imagined I was one of those musicians from back then. Needless to say the face massage was wonderful. Looking back I really appreciate having found her. She was a true professional. She was probably the oldest female barber I had ever been to. In her nostalgic mood she strapped on a hand massager, she massaged a pink cream onto my face, she placed a dry towel over my face , turned on the massager and worked on my face over the towel. She put more cream on my neck and chest. I felt her slip her finger tips on to my nipple, very lightly touching the tip, the massager did all the work. It was then that I realized her years of experience. She knew how to touch a man provocatively yet be professional. I went to her shop every 2 weeks for about 7 years, then she retired. It’s as if the tradition ended.

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