Sun | May 20, 2018

Kelly's World | Barbershop haven

Published:Monday | January 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM

I'll admit that when I was younger, I treated going to the barbershop like taking a bath; I did it because it was expected.

I grew up in a household where trimming and/or not looking 'decent' was a big deal. Yours truly could not walk around looking like Sasquatch or like I got my clothes from the dumpster.

But sometimes I really didn't enjoy the trip to the barber. I think I kinda envisioned getting cut or stuff like that sometimes. It's weird because other times I gave the barbers no trouble at all, even the ones who trimmed you like they had just lost an argument with their spouses.

Over time, however, my appreciation for the barbershop experience has grown (kinda at the same time as my facial hair). You see, it took me a while before I realised that the barbershop is more than just a place to cut hair. It's an institution. Many a lesson has been learned within the walls, whether wooden or concrete, of the barbershop.

It's the place where boys and men, and boys who will soon become men (and men who wish they were still boys), can share ideas, be themselves and just chill. And the women get it, too. I've seen mothers leave their boys to be tended to, while they run an errand. It's almost like they know it's his place to be a male without mommy watching over him. For the grown men, the barbershop group is like lyming at the bar, just without the alcohol. By the way, you notice barbershop starts with the letters b-a-r? Coincidence? Methinks not.

The best part of any trip to the barbershop are the stories told. Note, I am well aware that half, or maybe more, of them a lie. But that makes the barbershop the perfect place for them to be told. Men who are 'boy a yard' at home feel like real alpha males when they're in the barbershop. The barber chair is the real throne of a man, not the water closet.

However, despite my admiration for the barbershop, there are some practices I just don't adhere to. For instance, mi nuh inna dis business 'bout wait two, three hour fi 'my' barber. I'm all for sticking with who you know. But why should I wait if he has one in the chair and three more waiting? And two, three other barber deh deh? No sah. Everybody mus can eat a food.

Second practice I don't do, if the barber looks agitated mi wi come back another time. I could look like I just got back from roaming the wilderness; one more day nah kill me. No man who vex a put razor to my throat.

And the third thing I won't do is hang around the shop even if I'm not getting a haircut. Some man spend whole day a barbershop and not even tek out a strawn a hair. No sah, mi have work fi go.

Speaking of barbershop, mi coulda use a visit fi di new year. The hair a get heavy. Later.

- Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com