The Mysterious World of Boy Hair

Do you remember the episode of Friends when Ross sent a Barbershop Quartet to Rachel’s work in an attempt to show her how great a boyfriend he was, when he was jealous of her colleague? I remember it well and if you’d said Barber’s to me until recently, I would have thought of that scene pretty quickly.   I would not have conjured up actual images of a Barber’s and until this week I had only ever been in one once.

That changed when I was tasked with taking my youngest to get his haircut.  Ordinarily, I leave this to my husband.  I take my daughter to my hairdressers with me.  Fine.  Familiar territory.  But I always leave my son’s hair to my husband.   Probably because going to the Barber’s is unknown territory for me.   But this week it was my turn to embark on the trip to get his locks cut.

Those who know me well know that I can turn into a bit of a worrier at times and I can turn the most basic of life tasks into a worry.   My worry plays out in chronological order and this trip to the Barber’s was no different.  I began by working out what I needed to do, starting with which Barber’s to go to.   This involved interrogating my husband at length about where he took him last time.  Now, if, like me, you’re a creature of habit who sees the same stylist at the same hairdresser every time, this question is not usually a difficult one.  But I’m quickly finding out that the world of boy hair can involve walking into any number of different Barber’s; the only criteria seems to be that they’re open and not too pricey.

Anyway, after a bit of eye-rolling from the husband, he told me which he had used last time, so at least I had a blueprint.   Off we went and I was quite looking forward to seeing what life is like in the mysterious world of boy hair.   Alas, it was Monday.   A bit of inside knowledge, which I now possess, is that there are very few Barber’s open on a Monday in my village.   So there was a bit of dragging my son around, trying to find one.   He was grumpy – it was cold and I’d thought it was fine to let him swagger around without his coat. In my mind this was going to be a quick task.   After a bit more grumpiness, we eventually found a Barber that was open.   Bingo.

Now, there are many Firsts in life – first day of school, first day of a new job, first car.   And for a lot of these you can find an abundance of advice and handy tips on the internet, to help you through.   In my world, a First for me is the visit to the Barber’s and I think it is important to offer some words of wisdom for those of you about to embark on your own first visit there (I’m aiming this mainly at women obvs).  My huge disclaimer is that this is based on one visit to one Barber.

So, these are the things I’ve learnt from my one visit to the one Barber, which I will impart to you.

  • Barber shops are a bit like oversized bachelor pads. This one was very, very minimalist, with little in the way of furniture beyond what was absolutely necessary.  It had a sort of musty smell, not like the usual shampoo smells I associate with hair places.
  • Unlike safe and uncontroversial music playing in your traditional hair salon, music in the Barber shop is pretty cool. Think a mix of Grime, Hip Hop, some Indie old stuff thrown in for good measure.   The sort of music that makes you feel a little (or a lot in my case) out of touch with the youths, and painfully aware that you’re wearing sensible shoes and a cardigan that has emergency tissues in the pockets.
  • The waiting area is not all comfortable chairs and a coffee table. It’s a bit like a football changing room.  Big, oak benches that look trendy but are not in the least bit comfortable.
  • There are lots of males-of-the-species sitting around on the uncomfortable benches, not speaking. They obviously do not feel the need to make awkward small talk with their neighbours.  They are happy to sit in silence.
  • And when they are called to sit on the stylist’s chair, they appear to communicate what they need in as few words as possible. Sometimes, even no words.
  • And during the actual cut itself, even fewer words are spoken. No ‘Going on holiday this year?’, or ‘What you up to this weekend?’.
  • At the end of the silent cut, they rise, pay, and leave. No next appointment, no ‘Have a nice day’. It’s over, it’s done.

Obviously, these are only based on my experience in that one visit to that one Barber, but it made me ponder afterwards at how very different it was to my own hairdressing experience.   I think next time I might try a different one, or maybe take my son to my hairdresser, just so I can indulge in some conversation, easy listening music, and a cup of tea.


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