Picture this, you have left the house late. Common household squabbles are to blame. You have a flight to catch and you rush out in a huff dragging your luggage behind you, ramping up and down on the cobbled driveway. The cab guy, patient, pops open the boot and helps you haul in that huge suitcase. You don’t even know why you carried a large suitcase in the first place. It only has two pairs of suits, three pairs of shoes, 4 boxers, and socks. Maybe it’s because the little miss insists she wants Dora the explorer merchandise when you come back. So you need the extra space. The cab guy gets in, and you tell him you are in a rush so he bolts off. Get it? Bolt? Anyway, You weave out of your quiet suburban residence and hit the road meandering as you nibble on the last words your wife said to you.
Your neighborhood is classified as a leafy suburb, so by the time you hit the traffic on Mombasa road you curse why you did not instruct the driver to use the expressway. But what is done is done. You reach into the deep pocket of your striped black sweatpants to fish out your phone. It feels odd. Like there is something missing. Your passport. You call the missus but her phone is off. It is never off. You are out of options and now you have to turn back. Fuck. You let the driver know but he calms your frustrations and assures you that flights usually delay and that this time he will use the expressway. It doesn’t do much but the reassurance is welcome. We all like to be reassured. The driver disregards a few traffic rules and soon enough you are outside your gate and you hop out before the car even comes to a halt, maybe in an alternate universe you were a makanga.
You make a straight dash towards the door, without bothering to close it, rush upstairs, and barge into your bedroom door. Have you ever been hit by a wet, deflated, leather ball on the face? That’s exactly what it feels like when you find your usual prude wife in an acrobatic position, places you had no idea her legs could go in a compromising position with Jamo, your next-door neighbor’s nephew. The blood drains out of your face, they take a few seconds to notice you are in the room before disentangling awkwardly like tangled earphone wires. You say nothing, you pick up your passport, head to the cab, and hope to catch your flight.
I imagine that is what it might feel like when you cheat on your barber and they catch you. Maybe that was an overly dramatic scenario but it surely makes the cut. He he. There is a sacred bond between a barber and a barbee. Barbee? That’s a word? Okay, it is now. Men would rather follow their barber to Malawi through the DRC just to get their heads treated right. That bond should never be broken.
Here is why:
- They are hard to come by
A good barber is like a good mechanic. They are usually rare and far between. Once you find one that understands the nooks and crannies of your head. The one that knows where the skull dips and how to maneuver that area. The one who knows just how far to bring your hairline so you do not have a forehead looking like the receding tides at the Indian Ocean. You should never let them go. Otherwise, you will end up under the hands of Satan’s personal assistant in the name of saving time or cost. Stick to your barber for that consistent-looking cut.
- They are your personal therapists
Gifted with profound wisdom they know what to say when to say it and how to say it. You are definitely comfortable around them especially if they have been your barber for years. They are easy to open up to and you can tell them what’s weighing heavy on your mind. They will silently listen and then pitch in with a wisdom that must come from all the hair they cut. You know, as the saying goes? Akili ni nywele.
- They got your back
Depending on the caliber of barbershop you go to, most barbers tend to have your back. They will not let you walk around looking like a bird built a nest on your head. They will pull back that seat, wrap that sheet around your neck and give you a clean, trim. Doesn’t matter if your pockets are drier than the Sahara, they will just let you off knowing you are good for it without breaking a sweat. That kind of trust is rare, especially in this economy. A new barber might not know you well enough to extend you such favors.
- They make you feel brand new
Yeah, there are things in this life that make you feel good. A new pair of shoes, a new coat, a shirt, or even a new woman. But, nothing beats the feeling you get when you step off the chair, look in the mirror, and admire the work of art that is sitting on your head. To top it off when you walk out of the barbershop, for some reason the air usually feels cooler and serene. You walk out feeling like a brand new person. Not just good. You feel different. The world has nothing on you. There is even an extra bounce in your gait. You are the man. Cheating on your barber runs the risk of losing that feeling if they end up disappointing you.
- They have the best betting tips
If your idea of chasing the dragon is putting your money on the line as 22 men sweat it out on a pitch chasing a leather ball, then your local barber is the guy to go to. These guys have insights into the betting scene that should be illegal. They keep track of who has an injury and how that will affect the team. They know why a certain formation will not work against a certain team for whatever reason. They are not always 100% correct but if their betting account balances are anything to go by they are killing it out there. The only catch is they only share this info with loyal customers. Cheat at your own peril.
- They are natural comedians
A new barber will feel like you are in a gruesome talking stage with a lady that is disinterested in you. One-word answer punctuated with a long silence and annoying questions like “hapo ni sawa?” No one has time for that. The barbershop should be your sanctuary. Being loyal to one barber means you have access to unlimited stories which are mostly wild. You do not even have to chip in, you can just laugh, nod your head and make a witty reply here and there. You will know what locals to go to, when to go and why you should go. They will fill your ears with tales that sound too good to be true but who even cares? Of course, you know the chap has never been to Thailand and mistaken a lady-man for a lady. But you laugh all the same and leave with your spirits high.
- They are not your girlfriend or wife
Sounds controversial? But think about it this way. They will not catch feelings if they find you nestled between the bosom of a neighboring barber’s “masseuse”. You will just walk in the next time and it will be like you never left. That level of unbothered should bother you because they might deliberately mess up your trim to “teach” you a lesson. But, that is never the case. It is always no harm, no foul with them. So why would you go out of your way to breach that unspoken, unwritten trust? If the line is too long go take a walk and have them book your seat for when you get back. You will definitely find it empty. They keep their word.
- They are the perfect silent wingman
You might not hit the scene with them but when they give you that fresh fade they are playing their role in getting your attention. Nothing beats a fresh neat fade when meeting a damsel. All those compliments of how good you look are just their way of contributing to your success when you are approaching someone new. Heck, it does not even have to be a woman, it could be an interview. They are the silent voice in the room that speaks to your credentials. Stick to that barber. Cheating on them would be a crime against humanity.
- They go out of their way for you
When you are loyal to your barber chances are they will go out of their way for you. Whether you are running late or have a very early morning, they will take that extra step to make themselves available just so you do not have to stress about your hair. That is a rare quality that can only exist between a man and his barber. Even at home, the door is usually locked and you are asked to let yourself in and help yourself to whatever is in the fridge. Your barber will never do that to you.
- It is a symbiotic relationship
It goes both ways. While you can talk and open up to your barber and they listen and dispense locs of wisdom, they too feel open and free with you. Being loyal to one barber means that they feel safe to open up about their aspirations, fears, and problems. This is where all is laid bare and it is your turn to return the favor with affirmations, solutions, or simply just being an ear to listen.
To cut the long story short – stick to your barber.