I go to Melo’s Barbershop where a pretty young lady named Marisol cuts my hair. She sings softly with the pop Hispanic music playing in the background, asks me about my family, and then tell me about hers.
I often complain about how all the gray hair cascading down to the floor proves once again that I’m getting old, but she assures me it is not so and then she pats my shoulder just like I were her doddering abuelo.
She is the only woman in a room full of male barbers and they like to tease her. It’s all in Spanish but it appears that she teases back quite capably. However, one time a young employee passed behind me while she was snipping away and I heard him say in English, “Hi there, good looking!” I shifted a bit and nearly said “Hey handsome,” before I realized he wasn’t talking to me.
Melo, the owner, is an intense, wiry man from Dominican Republic who shaves his head bald and sports a gray beard. Once, while I was getting a haircut, I heard him deal with a salesman on the phone.
“NO!” he barked. “NO!” We don’t need that! We are a CHURCH! Yes, that’s what I SAID! As he hung up he barked once more, “God bless you!”
I suggested that he should have asked for a donation.
Once when Marisol was trimming my beard, she paused a moment, then asked me which way I wanted her to shave around my cheeks. Did I want the line rounded or square? It turns out when I had trimmed it myself, I had done it both ways. One cheek was square and the other round.
I asked her which looked better. She didn’t know. She turned to ask Melo in Spanish which way would be better. They chattered back and forth in their language before he turned to me and barked, “If a MAN is in his own home, he can have his beard look anyway he WANTS. If he wants it different on either side, then that’s the way it should BE! Because he is the MAN!”
I appreciated that but I didn’t intend to make them different–I hadn’t even noticed the difference. I asked again what he thought looked better but he wouldn’t say. I would just have to be a man and decide for myself.
We went with rounded, I think.
I like getting my hair cut at Melo’s I never know if I’ll get blessed, flirted with, or schooled in the ways of true masculinity. Truly, a full service barbershop, which I highly recommend.