The school bell rang and the next moment I was already outside of the school compound. I was anticipating what was coming up next for the day, the time for my regular haircut at the barbershop just a few blocks down the road from my home.
I took the bus that I normally take when heading home as usual, but this time alighting one stop earlier, so that I drop closer to the barbershop. My school wasn’t that far from my home, I reached the stop within about 15 minutes.
I got off the bus, and took in a good breath of fresh air. Just the thought of getting my scraggly mop chopped off arouses me. On a regular basis, my hair grows about an inch to one inch half per month; an alarmingly quick rate of hair growth. Most would have thought it would be a blessing to have hair grow that fast, but not for me. My natural hair texture was coarse and curly, and it gets all kinked up in the heat that is around all year along.
I walked briskly towards the block, and could notice the barbershop just a short distance away.
Pushing open the door, the bell rang and the barber turned to check out his latest customer. ‘Hi, a haircut for you?’ a young lady in her early 30s asked. The barber turned out to be a barberette, which was a huge surprise for me because I was a regular of the barber that owned this place.
‘Yeah, I’m actually looking for Shyam, who owns this place. Is he around at the moment?’ I answered briefly. She gave me a smile. ‘Shyam migrated to Australia two weeks ago, I’m his niece and I decided to took over his business, so I’m here’ she responded.
A look of disappointment was practically written all over my face, that she probably caught notice of it. ‘If you’re looking for a haircut, I could probably do it for you. I’m as skillful as my uncle, if not better.’ She said with a vibrant smile.
‘No harm trying, I guess.’ I thought.
‘Sure, I will let you do it.’ I replied casually. She led me to the barber chair and I took a seat promptly. She opened one of the drawers in front of the chair and tore a piece of haircutting tissue off a roll and wrapped it around my neck, fastening it tightly. She then proceeded to grab a pin-striped cape off the hook beside the mirror and draped it over me, tugging it in snuggly around my neck. It felt great to be caped.
‘So, what are we doing today?’ she asked this time, standing behind the chair.
Usually, I get my hair cut to an acceptably short length, about an inch on the top and slightly shorter on the sides. Since I was with someone new today, I thought I would give her the freedom. ‘Just cut it short and neat.’ I replied.
She gave a slight nod, and proceeded to pick up a hooked pair of Oster clippers. As she was oiling the clippers, I checked out the shop – not much hair on the ground, business has been poor, I guess.
She then gently tiled my head downwards, and turned on the clippers with a thud. The clippers were instantly pushed up my nape, plowing through the unruly mess on the back of my head. I could not see what was going on behind, but I didn’t really care. More passes were repeated up to ensure the length at the back was uniform. Some of the severed hair had piled up around my shoulders.
She then went on to my left side, and tilted my head towards the right slightly. As she did behind, the clippers ran all the way up my temple, and this time round, I could see what was going on. The scraggly hair at my left side was shorn off by the clippers, and about half an inch was left over the path. She quickly repeated the same action on my right side, and finally put away the clippers back on the hook.
She drew a large pair of barbering scissors off the shelf, together with a wide-toothed comb that had a size matching that of the shears. A section of my hair on top was pulled up, and with a snip, half the length was instantly cut. With her skillful technique, she went through all the sections quickly.
I now sported a ‘do that was very different from my previous ones. My sides were quite short, but the top was still quite long and thus most of it curled up.
‘Can we go shorter?’ I asked her. Without further ado, she pulled the clippers off the hook again, this time replacing the guard with a smaller one. She repeated the same procedures, driving it up all around the sides and back.
Surprisingly, with the same guard on the clipper, which was probably a #1 guard, she ran it through the top as well! Lumps of my curly mop tumbled down the cape, gathering in my lap. I was shocked at her actions, but nevertheless was resigned to my fate. My mop was quickly replaced with a short buzzcut as she continues to plow the clippers through my hair, stopping occasionally to release the grip of my curly strands on the clippers.
‘Is that, short enough?’ she questioned with a smirk. I gave an embarrassing smile and nodded, even though it wasn’t exactly my intention. She unfastened the cape and tore off the tissue to clean my face of hair that was cut. I got up and paid her the fee, before exiting the barber shop.
Greeted with a cold breeze on my newly buzzed head, I actually liked the new cut. Perhaps I will come back for another buzzcut soon.