For most of my life so far, a barber who makes you feel happy and relaxed was a mythical figure. I saw him from time to time, only when absolutely necessary and, at the first glimmer of a new possibility — a place where the cut is cheaper, faster, and comes with a cup of tea —, I ditched him. And because there was nothing more than the absolute minimum perfunctory gestures between us, my departure meant little to me and, I’m sure, was not felt by the curious ecology of regulars and barbers. The life of such places, from afar, continue and tut-tut onwards, even enfolding within it the vagaries of the outside world, toward a vague eternity. After all, being out of my hair, they were out of my mind.
There is a notion in philosophy that argues that we continually envision a future that’s never going to be materialized but nevertheless haunts us. This is, essentially, how I felt about my hairdo. Those who know me will attest to the obsessive passion with which I cling to my beanie and caps. That is until now.
Very recently, and all due to my being fifteen or so minutes late to the appointment, I was introduced to a different barber who is truly an archetypal embodiment of a barber. She not only cuts and trims with the best of them, she is somehow able to put me entirely at ease — and at points, I am, from a consciously and self-protectively developed distance, bemused at myself at being able to succeed in the art of small talk. That there is a language barrier between us only seem to facilitate a certain kind of understanding and maintain a certain kind of comforting civility derived from the smallest of hand gestures, nods, and smiles.
The myth is indeed true. Though like a fantastical country, it is only reality to those who have suffered through the rugged landscapes of terrible cuts to arrive safely at its shores. Many, alas, do not make it.
But what is truly tantalizing about getting haircut — regardless of whether you’re one of the chosen or not — is that there will always be, barring early onset baldness in some, chances to revisit or visit for the first time. Much like Spring, the day of trial will return forthwith. It is transient and beautiful and reflects our capacity to believe in something unseen.
- Hoon from Ana Banana Team.
* 1st image from Hiromix book
** 2nd image link (here)