Several months ago my girlfriend Sharon had gone into Cho’s Barbershop at my insistence, and boy what an experience. I had talked Sharon into a short cropped cut, and in the shop, Cho had a photo of a middle aged women with a super short crop on the wall. Sharon had agreed (with much reluctance) to get this cut as sort of an anniversary gift/last ditch effort I suppose to revitalize a dying relationship perhaps, as we had been dating for 2 years. “Just tell her you love the cut in the photo, and to take the back and sides super short” I stated. The visit had Sharon sitting in the old fashioned chair, caped, and receiving a super short version of the photo, which surely didn’t sit well with her. Cho had decided per her conversation with Sharon, to take it a bit shorter. “I love the cut in the photo” Sharon said, “especially the clippered nape and sides.” “I guess the only downside to a cut like this is that it probably grows out very quickly” Sharon stated, as Cho began the assault on her head. “Chin to chest sweetie” as Cho fired up her 20 year old Oster 76’s and began to plow through Sharon’s messy, longer pixie with reckless abandon. Cho, in her broken english, smiled and said, “You get a real haircut, you no need visit for a while” as she proceeded to scalp Sharon like a new Marine. I stood in the doorway and overheard the conversation and walked in during the cut, as if to wait my turn for a haircut, just in time to see the action, as Sharon’s head was forced in the “clippered position” seemingly for an eternity. Each time she raised her head it was gently guided back down as Cho, an old fashioned Korean military barber, continued with the cut. I smiled as Sharon left the the chair and walked over to pay. As she finished paying, Cho asked if she could take a picture of her cut – she wanted to add it to her wall, presumably to showcase her skills cutting women’s hair. Sharon agreed and soon after left the shop in tears, later saying that would be the last time for that, whether it meant our relationship would suffer or not! No worries, I had essentially moved on in my mind, especially with the constant bickering, l and had been seeing another woman for a few weeks…
As our relationship continued to go south over the next month or so, I stopped in Cho’s for a cut, and she said that a client had made a reservation and was expected in the next couple of minutes. “You come back tomorrow, I give you haircut” she said with a smile. I told her my schedule was super busy, but I would be back in town the following weekend and would stop in early that Saturday morning. “Make it a reservation for 3, my wife would like a light trim, and we have a good friend that you’ve cut before, Sharon” I said, “You’ve cut her before and she told my wife she really, really loved the cut when she came in a few months back. She’s real busy traveling, she always tells my wife that she just can’t seem to get in for a haircut” “She said you’re the only person that ever seemed to understand that a haircut is a haircut, and give her something that would last a few months.” “That nice to hear, I give her good, short haircut next time, so she not worry about next visit.” “I trim your wife hair as well.” “Perfect,” I said, and as I walked out, and iced the deal. “See you next weekend.” I walked out knowing I had set the stage, I just needed to get Sharon onboard!
Earlier in the week, I had noticed a text from Sharon’s ex, that seemed to suggest they were still involved, at least in conversation. No worries, the writing was on the wall log ago. Fast forward to this past Saturday and after many, many weeks of constant nagging and arguing about virtually everything about our relationship, Sharon agreed to go in for a trim, since her hair was growing back form the butchering from a few months back. “I’ll agree to a short pixie again, but not that shit like last time,” Sharon said with a bitchy voice. “Sure sweetie, it’s your hair.” “And just for the record, this WILL be the last time I get my hair cut short…period!” Over the past few years, Sharon knew that I really loved her hair short. Stating “That’s your fucking problem,” I had the sudden sense the relationship was soon to be over.
I rode with Sharon to the shop and as we started to enter, I asked her to grab my wallet so I could pay (which was in her car).. I walked in Cho’s shop alone and her mother, who worked part-time in the shop greeted me and I happily sat in her chair for a haircut. Cho welcomed Sharon a few minutes later, and walked her to her chair, as she blew off the mounds of hair in and around her station. “Welcome back dear, I be one minute” Cho said as she turned to straighten her tools and clean up her area. Several minutes past and Sharon sat stone faced in the chair, as Cho settled in. In an instant, no words spoken, no mercy, Cho literally shoved Sharon’s head forward and made a massive pass up her nape. Pausing for a moment, Cho began speaking in Korean with her mother and seemed to make a gesture about Sharon and her getting a short haircut – pointing to Sharon’s picture that she had taken a few months prior. Her mother smiled and said ” GI haircut look good on her” as they both smiled and went back to work. With several more swipes, the 1 1/2 inches of growth from the last cut was all over the cape. The huge 76’s were roaring and the #000 blade was snapped on tight. A quick spray with the lubricant on the blade and the assault on Sharon’s long pixie continued. Mounds of hair fell in her lap as it seemed Cho purposely landed the clumps of growth for her to see. After several passes up her nape, Cho then moved to the side. The clippers raced over Sharon’s ear as she bent her ear forward to get every hair behind the ear. The same process for the other side and Sharon was again butchered. Cho stepped away to change the TV channel and I saw Sharon cop a quick feel of her nape. With a few rubs up and down, Cho turned and caught her rubbing her nape area. “That feeling better I hope – not done yet” as Sharon simply sat there in silence.
As she sat in the chair and peered over at me in disbelief, several gentlemen walked in the shop, as well as a striking, middle aged blonde female with long hair in a ponytail. Cho spun Sharon around toward the waiting area and she sat quietly, staring straight ahead. Cho again approached from the back and with a loud click and “snap”, another guard was snapped in place, presumably her #00000 blade. With several pumps on the chair and the command “chin to chest dear” Sharon seemed to slip into a barbers coma! She tilted her head down and with a firm press, Cho made certain she was in the perfect position for the loud and in charge clippers. I peered over and noticed the lady watching, and seemingly feeling a bit uneasy as she saw Sharon’s nape area continue to be reduced down to the scalp. After a second round on the top of a basic scissor short pixie, Cho released the cape and spun Sharon toward the mirror. “Your friend say other barber never get short enough” with a huge smile – in her broken English/Korean accent. Sharon managed a short smile and sat still. By then, XenChing, Cho’s mother was rapidly shearing my head, also with reckless abandon. In the haste and excitement of Sharon’s cut, I totally missed the question of how I wanted my haircut! Whatever, I must have nodded yes to a super short, high-n-tight, because that’s what I ultimately ended up with!
Sharon sat as Cho removed the cape part way, only to re-tissue her neck and snap the cape back on rather loosely. She reached for her shaving machine which dispenses hot lather cream and slowly filled her palm. Again, in a firm motion, Sharon’s head was forced down as she lathered her nape and around the ears. Over the next 10 minutes, Cho meticulously cleaned and straight razored the cut to smooth bald. A steam hot towel and a quick shot with the blow dryer and Cho removed the cape. “Hold please, let me make sure you good till next visit” as she reached for an electric shaver and finished the balding around the nape and ears. Removing the cape for the final time, She reached for a dispenser and filled her palm with a cream like gel. “It sunny out, don’t want bald head to burn” as she chuckled and lowered the chair. “You fine now, how you like haircut”? “It is short”, were the only words Sharon could muster… Sharon stepped down and walked over to have a seat in the waiting area – as Cho’s mother was wrapping up my haircut. Cho turned to her mother and briefly spoke in Korean and turned back to Sharon with a smile. “I tell mother to remember how you like hair for next visit., I go back to my country soon for a few months, you come back, she know how you like GI haircut. As Sharon stood paying, there was a dead silence as it seemed the whole room looked over toward her and at her fresh new cut. “Sharon asked where the restroom was and Cho told her it was in the back. “You go wash if you wish.” Sharon said thank you as she walked by toward the rear of the shop and entered the restroom.
While she was gone, I walked over and kissed the blonde in the waiting area, turned and told Cho that we were pressed for time and that my wife didn’t have time today for a quick trim, but we would definitely be back! We started walking out of the shop and I turned to Cho and said, “If you don’t mind, can you please tell our friend (Sharon) we left and we’ll meet her later.” We left rather quickly and drove past Sharon as she walked out of barbershop, she was texting as she was leaving. I checked my mobile and my iPhone indicated that a message was coming through… I quickly responded with a short text – “I hope your ex likes your new haircut” To be continued…