I need to get this off my chest. I can’t live with the guilt I have in my wilting brain any longer. I cheated.

A few weeks ago, Michele and I were in the mall wondering where everybody went and also if the people working in kiosks ever longed for the privacy afforded the employees of, you know, an actual store.

While my wife was about to make her way into something called CandleRama I decided to take a little stroll. I came across a barbershop that was offering ten-dollar haircuts. I bit my lower lip in anticipation and gave serious thought to allowing myself to be seduced. Never having been known for willpower, I gave into temptation and sat down in the chair. A well-groomed gentleman by the name of Antonio reached down and grabbed a pair of scissors out of his holster and gave them a few spins, much like Wyatt Earp did when he was taunting some drunk horse thief in the wild west.

My brain was working overtime with thoughts of the guilt I’d be riddled with if I actually went through with this. It was then that I could feel his strong, yet soft hands on my neck as he placed the smock around me. The mist from his water bottle floated gently onto my waiting hair. All feelings of right or wrong had vanished as I sensed that by the end of this all I would really want to do is light up a cigarette. He then firmly spun the chair around, looked me in the eyes and asked, “What do you like?” I swallowed hard and answered, “Um, baseball?”  In retrospect, he was probably asking how I wear my hair, but c’mon, I was nervous. This was my first time.

Things then started to go south in a hurry. What, at first seemed like a fun idea, turned into a disaster. I hated myself and I knew then that there was no way I was going to be able to just immerse myself in the moment and relax. Antonio may have talked a good game but he didn’t have the nimble fingers and the expertise that Kenny has. Truth be told, he dropped the scissors a total of four times and ended up switching to sheers, which he was also totally ill-equipped for. After he cut his index finger and began a tirade of very colorful language, mostly in Spanish, the mood was totally ruined. There was no getting it back. Yuk! I felt dirty. I was looking for emergency exits but if I bolted at that moment, I would have resembled the ‘Before” picture on one of those Flo bee commercials. Also, I would still have that stupid smock snapped around my neck. I was trapped. I had no choice but to let him finish but I knew in my heart that the second he was done, I’d race out of there and never look back. I’ll get my kicks in other areas of life, not this…just too risky.  On the ‘mistake’ scale, this might rival the time in the Navy when I told a Marine that he had better pull his head out of his butt and start shining up those brass buttons. That didn’t end well, kids.

I mustered all the courage I could and walked into see Kenny at The NY Hair Group. I didn’t know how he was going to react, but I was pretty sure he was going to be waving that little whisk broom in front of me and, in no uncertain terms, inform me that my hair belonged to him, and him alone. I broke down, asked for a tissue, then forgiveness.

After accepting my apologies and obviously feeling more in control now, his cockiness started to show. “Who takes care of your hair, Bob?” he asked. “Only you, Kenny. I promise,” was my response. He had the upper hand now and was thoroughly enjoying watching me squirm. He was pouring it on, but I had it coming. “Bob, when you put your hair in the hands of a total stranger, it may seem exciting for a fleeting moment but it’s something that you’ll live with for the rest of your life.” I nodded in agreement and felt I should be happy that all I got was a lecture. He could have made a ‘slip’ with his scissors and cut off a portion of my ear but instead, he acted like the semi-mature barber he is and just splashed a little talcum in my eyeballs. Message received, loud and clear.

Kenny, I’m sorry. From now on, you’re the only cutter for me. I won’t even drive by other shops that have the little red, white, and blue poles outside. Thanks for not cutting my ear off and, one other thing: sorry about the lousy tips. 


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