Saturday 21 February 2009

MrM and his barber

MasterM has his hair cut by George.
Photo courtesy of MrM.

MrM is very loyal to his barber.
For many years he went to see Franco
and Franco ensured that MrM's back and sides were short
(usually regrettably short)
When MasterM was suitably mature (9 years old)
he too went to see Franco.

There were subtle aspects to the whole experience
because Franco has an elderly assistant with a shock of white hair
known affectionately as 'Einstein'
who quite often gets distracted mid-haircut
talking about Italian football
so that the hair outcome is entirely unpredictable.
He also smokes like a train
and standing near him is a respiratory challenge.
MrM and MasterM always used to thank Einstein politely
if he offered to cut their hair
and tell him that they were waiting for Franco.

There is a third barber
who is occasionally in the shop .
He is known as 'The Other Guy'
and he is the best barber of the team
but it is tricky to say to Franco
'I am waiting for The Other Guy'
and so it was entirely luck of the draw.
Sometimes, if MrM was feeling very kind
he would let MasterM have his hair done by The Other Guy
while he had second best with Franco.

When MasterM was younger
he was required to have short hair for school
and so MrsM would take him to see Franco.
She always felt uncomfortable sitting in the chairs
among the tabloid papers
and the football conversations.
She would give MasterM a pound coin before they went in
and at the end he would hand it to Franco,
still hot from being clutched in his hand,
and say, just as his father did,
'Thank you very much, Franco. See you again soon.'

Later, MasterM decided to grow his hair.
Franco was not happy about this;
it was an affront to his professional pride.
MasterM was obliged to walk on the other side of the street
to avoid having a discussion with Franco.

Today MrM had to visit the barbers.
He has been having his hair cut near his office
but has not been able to make the time to visit
the friendly and talented George the Barber.
When he walked into Franco's nothing had changed...
Einstein waved him to a chair
but MrM said that he would wait for Franco.
Franco was delighted to see MrM
and wanted to know everything that he had done
since he was last in the shop.
He was shocked to hear that MasterM was now 19
and travelling in South America.
Who would cut his hair while he was so far away?

MrM tipped Franco generously,
said goodbye to Einstein
and wondered what to say to MrsM
about his seriously short haircut.

Back to the friendly and talented George the Barber next time.


Quinn said...

By an odd coincidence, I just returned from the salon; an extravagance these days, but practically a Public Service to those who are forced to see my hair on a daily basis.

The miracle-working Rachel would have to change her name or perhaps her entire identity, and move far, far away, before she could lose me as a client.

(Bless you, Rachel!)

Anonymous said...

My relationship with my hairdresser is one that I carefully maintain. I hate to have to break in a new one to the difficulties of cowlicks and curls. I fully understand MrM's regular treks to his barber.

Ali said...

We do the same 'waiting for Sarah' dance with our boys in the barber shop. Mark loves her as she will discuss Top Gear with rapt attention for the entire duration of the haircut. I love her, because when he asks to look like Jeremy Clarkson, she says no.

Sorry Alice - the previous stranger comment was me!

The Coffee Lady said...

years ago Mr Coffee stopped visiting the barbers in Leeds market after what looked like the oldest barber's great-grandfather tottered out of the back and set about Mr Coffee's head with very shaky scissors

we were concerned about the future of his ears

Daisie said...

Luckily (for me) my sister is the family hair dresser, she makes me beautiful at least twice a year (probably not often enough but don't feel I can complain when 'mates rates' are concerned) and ensures the children can see through their barnets at all times! Simon visits the lovely Kath (she now runs her retired father's barber shop) on his way home from work every few weeks. The children always exclaim that they have a new Daddy when he comes home with new hair!!
Nathaniel doesn't really have enough hair to visit the barber yet but think that right of passage will be worth waiting for!

Mary said...

Yes I have seen J's hair being cut in the strangest places - one memorable one being a tiny island off Hong Kong.

I tend to cut his hair now ..the good old Number One.

dottycookie said...

You've reminded me that I need a haircut. I am far less loyal to ant hairdresser than MrM - in fact I would be stunned if any of them remembered me!

Mr DC is similarly fickle - though his current barber seems a little better than the last one who tended towards the 'half an incg all over' style. Ick.

blackbird said...

I am startled to see that I could tell a similar story about K and his barber Tony.
Alex and The Other Guy are usually free first, but he waits for Tony...UNLESS his hair is touching his collar and he's been working at two jobs at once. A terrible episode ensued in which K ended up with the haircut of a MONK - as he went downstairs from his desk and had his hair cut somewhere else.
He waited two weeks and then went and had Tony fix it.

Anonymous said...

I should add that on one occasion MasterM and I had our hair by the same person (serial rather than parallel operation) and MasterM was very worried that I might forget to give a tip on his behalf so he sent me a secret text from under the cape without evening looking at his phone. We were able to exchange glances in the mirror to put his mind at rest. Nerve wracking stuff.

The good thing about barbers in the queuing system. One does not have to book and it more of an impulse thing or in my case waiting six weeks until I could put it off no longer.

Unknown said...

What a lovely tale and I very much enjoyed Mr M's comment, how sweet that Master M should be so concerned about the tip.

The whole Poshyarns family have their hair done for free at a very expensive local salon, actually not quite free, my Technical Advisor advises them technically in return for free hair. This means that we are tied there forever, whether we like it or not. It has its good points and bad points. Sadly I am one of those people who as rather difficult hair and I often day dream that one day I will meet a genius hairdresser who will be able to coiff me into the Hollywood glamour I so dream of, but of course, it is just possible, that my hair may just not be tameable.

Anonymous said...

I love this story Alice. You have such a way with your stories!

I imagine MasterM's hair is getting very long on his adventure in South America! You might not recognize him on his return :)

Anonymous said...

ah Franco... I think a lot of barbers are quite eccentric. I used to take the boys to the village barber before we moved. He only did one haircut. To anybody who walked in. Same haircut. At breathtaking speed. He once sheared (there is no other word) all three boys in 11 minutes and 43 seconds.

Frightening. But cheap.

Anonymous said...

There was an older barber in Cornwall who offered either a 'traditional' or 'modern' cut for about £3 each (this was a while ago). I do not recall a difference between the two styles but perhaps he was trying to reach out to the younger generation. All done with clippers and not a bad cut all things considered but it explains why men used to wear hats in the old days.