Saturday, 8 December 2012

More than a haircut.

When my friend and I strolled out of a fancy barbershop called 'Executive Scissors' with my shaven head sparkling,
i was amazed at how much men could pay for a haircut.Being the ordinary mwanainchi that i am, when it comes to buying goods and accessing services, i prefer efficiency than sophistication, i overlook at the design and look at the purpose, substance over style and modesty over mania. I would rather buy a cheap and simple phone that i can simply call and send messages than an expensive and mind blowing smart phone with an excess of technological features. The honest truth is that the haircut was a treat, it was decent and i enjoyed it. My head was taken through the shaving motions in style.It felt executive as exclusive.It cost sh 200, for a similar function the barber at my locale would receive sh 30. The contrasts between my local barbershop and and the extraordinary joint i went to, were glaring. The classy barbershop was walled by mirrors.The floor was white-tiled and spotlessly clean. Smartly dressed ladies and sharp looking barbers ran the parlour.There were comfy cushions for waiting customers. Still in a naive daze, i was sat on a high reclining leather chair. before the shave, a blow-dry machine was passed over my head for reasons i have absolutely no idea of. I was draped in a wide sheet of cloth and a towel. The hair was brief as my hair wasn't that long. My chin was powdered with baby powder before the razor mowed down my beard, apparently to lessen the sting of the razor on my skin. My beard was rooted out while the chair was reclined. A number of applications were applied on my head and chin. Again, i had been blow dried twice for reasons unbeknownst to me.I was ushered into a backroom with a sink alongside it, a number of lubricants.
A lady walked into the backroom and the tap gushed hot water onto my head. She scrubbed my head while showering my scalp with lubricants. I wanted the refreshing cleansing to continue for longer as the hot water cascaded on my head. The lady's soft touch had nothing to do with the pleasurable cleansing. After comprehensive clean-up, i was seated on a large chair for what i was told would be a massage. My eyebrows were raised in surprise, a massage. What i read in magazines and seen on telly and what i idle fantasies over. The massage was amusing. The lady, fighting a release of laughter, insisted i relax and stop being stiff. My body was was stock still and my muscles tight in anticipation of the massage.The innocence of gracing such establishments of highness of quality of service was beginning to show. The massage was not as i expected, it felt routine not a deeply comforting exercise. She touched here and there on my upper body and it was over, briefer than the haircut. i was seen out by the cheerful lady,, bearing the cleanest head in town, i dare say. I thanked my friend for the treat as we exited the barbershop.
My thoughts drifted off to my local barber. He would be astonished by the extravagance a quick haircut would command. In the wooden walled barbershop, snugly comforts and little pleasures are absent. No massages, no pretty ladies here. The floor is carpeted with shaven hair, it's not spotless. there is no detailed cleansing either, it is limited to a face towel dipped in a bowl of hot water preserved in a tea thermos, which is aggressively wiped on your head. You are often left with shaven hair in your ears. No confusing blow dry, no baby powder or lubricants other than methylated spirit. The shaves are sometimes conducted in front of a cracked mirror.  But the enterprising spirit of the simple barber is visible. He includes phone charging and repair services-to get his extra coin -in his shaving shack. You get what you came in for , a haircut, nothing further. The objective was to get a haircut and i didn't matter where i got it. My hair was eventually downed and i made the most of the treat knowing very well that such opportunities come once in a total eclipse. In a month or so, i will be heading back to the local kinyozi, back as the ordinary mwanainchi.

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