One of my favorite episodes of “Married with Children” is that episode where Al Bundy’s barber died and he had to go for weeks without a haircut. He tried going to a Hair Stylist (Read: Beauty Parlor) and it was a hilarious adventure he had. First the stylist was gay, second he had to contend with all sorts of beauty treatment and beauty products.
Just like Al Bundy no Un-manly hands will touch my locks. Nor will I give them the pleasure of giving me a protein pack for my hair.
A manly man’s barber is one of his life’s best pleasures. He is not just a guy who cuts his hair; he is his confidant, his source of entertainment and his window to the minds of other manly men. A manly man should stick to only one barber. Having more than one barber is just like having more than one girlfriend ---or wife. I have stuck to the same barber for close to three years. Before him, I stuck with my barber for more than nine years. I would have stuck longer had it not for his decision to relocate to Mindanao.
My first barber was the barber shop called “Tres Amigos” Barber shop along Kamias Ave. It is near the present Seven-Eleven Store near the EDSA corner and just before Colonel Salgado St. I would be brought there by my father and my uncle. I remember the overpowering manly stench of shaving crème, hair tonic and even the manly equivalent of mudpack ---boncilla.
When we moved to the Fairview area in 1980, my Barber shop was Joan’s barber shop. It was just next door to a butcher shop—Joan’s Meat Shop. It was air-conditioned— but very rarely do I remember the air conditioner being used. One of the greatest thrills in going to Joan’s is a barber named Cesar. Nothing wrong with Cesar the barber, except that he would be drunk 80% of the time—make that 90% of the time. His breath would be reeking the scent of Ginebra San Miguel as he tries to stay awake and focused with the razor as he shaves you just behind your ears.
“Wag kang mag-alala, walang kaba ang pulso ko (hik..)”
I remember the terrified look in the face of the next customer when he realizes that the next barber up on bat would be Cesar. Surprisingly, Cesar never actually sliced anybody’s ears. But you will definitely hold your breath as he slides those razor blades near some vital artery on your neck or your throat.
After Joan’s I went to Dario’s barber shop. They use air-conditioning most of the time and so unlike Joan’s they actually use disposable blades (In this day and age of HIV, you can never be sure). I had my first personal barber named Joel. Joel was rather quiet for a barber. I like him a lot because we would give me a free massage and he would always find the time to cut my nose hair. The sensation of the cold scissor going up your nostril as you hold your breath and the funny sensation when your nose hair is snipped..ahhh, refreshing.
The real stereotypical barber was the head barber Dario. Dario would be full of stories, e.g. “Kwentong Barbero” and would never stop talking to his captive audience. Listening to him gave me the impression that he was some sort of Casanova when he was in Saudi Arabia. He had sex with this, with that, with a nurse, with his boss, with a white chick, with a black chick, with a camel, with a horse. Three years ago they decided to close Dario’s and Joel relocated back to Mindanao.
Then I went to RC’s Barber shop near Mother Ignacio. My barber for the last three years is a guy named Arce. Just like Joel, he is the quiet one in the shop. But he has an impressive list of clients which includes, Chief Justice Narvasa, Aga Mulach, the late Pete Roa and then there’s me. I think I’m going to stick around this barber for a little while.
Does your barber give you a pedicure?