Wisdom From My Barber’s Chair

I’ve always cherished a good haircut. Well, I have for as long as I can remember.  I remember crying over the homemade cuts my mom produced in our garage while I sat on the washer.  The fourth grade photo evidence remains to remind me of the crooked bangs and the funky “side-burns” and the classic bowl cuts.  I remember how happy I was to finally graduate to the cuts of a family friend, a retired barber, who cut hair for friends and family in their own homes for a small charge or home-made baked goods.  I remember first paying for my own cuts at a professional stylist’s salon who perfected the perfect feathered look of the early 80’s.

It seems that now I tend to form a relationship with a barber after I have found a good one.  This comes from regular visits once every week to two weeks.  Two barbers that really stand out are Mr. Ted and Wesley, my current barber.

Barber Chair

Mr. Ted was my barber when we lived in Sarasota.  I faithfully visited Mr. Ted every Saturday morning and after our daughter, Jenna was born, my 27 month old son, J.L. visited with me.  I count these visits as quite formative for the young man and for our relationship.  Our Saturday mornings started with Dad (me) in Mr. Ted’s chair while J.L. sat up high in a vacant barber chair with the sports section in his hand.  Lively conversations would ensue with the elderly gents who frequented this shop.  J.L. began learning the art of conversation and respect for elders on these Saturday mornings.  Mr. Ted gave J.L. his first haircut, chopping off the golden curls that formed around his collar while his mom cried.

The haircut was only the beginning of our Saturday morning rituals. After a hair cut that included the mandatory hot lather, straight blade shave, J.L. and I would head out for breakfast at the local bagel shop and then to Barnes & Noble where we would spend hours perusing the shelves.  Our practice was for me to gather as many of the recent business reads and carry them over to the children’s section where I would scan them enjoying frequent interruptions from J.L. about the books that caught his eye.  We most always left B&N every Saturday with more than one book in hand…for him and me.

My current barber is Wesley who has his own shop.  I see him about every two weeks and spend a little more time in his chair now that I have let my No Shave November beard grow into a Decembeard.  Wesley has been cutting my hair for a number of years and we always have the most incredible conversations touching on so many topics of life.  Today, in his chair, we couldn’t stop laughing over stories shared from crazy childhoods and “Little Johnny” jokes.  Sometimes our conversations become philosophical and “life-enhancing”.   A recent conversation did just that.

Wesley often plays music from Puerto Rico where he grew up and I really enjoy the Latin rhythms.  I speak some Spanish and can understand some of the lyrics.  On this day, a special song, one of Wesley’s favorites came on that he explained was about a kiss…about a lover’s kiss…a romantic song.  Yeah, that’s right. Two “real guys” talking romance.

Wesley went on to tell me how he can’t believe how some guys, boyfriends and husbands won’t display their affection and love for their girlfriend or wives more often with a kiss.  We talked about how some guys think it is a sign of weakness to show emotional attachment.  He shared how he makes a conscious effort to kiss his girlfriend every time he sees her and every time he leaves her. The conversation resounded with me.

When I got home, I kissed my amazing wife, but more than that I made a new decision to show her affection more often and to be conscious of our first interactions during each day.  The greetings and the good-byes we often take for granted should be conscious moments during each day. She seems to like it :)!

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