Dad was a barber.
I grew up as a gay boy knowing this and knowing that my hair somehow did not deserve this atrocity. Seven years old is when I first, really, knew. Wanting to “grow my hair out” was NEVER an option.
This was 1969 and the only boys who had the Hair of Dreams did not have Barber Dads. They had Moms who would bring them in and have their “bangs trimmed”. Boys, mind you.
Bangs. Trimmed. Jealous. Angels. Jesus.
They would come into his northern KY barber shop with their beautiful hair
and I would be sweeping up after their gorgeous locks and wanting to save it. Savor it.
Not me. I had a buzz cut. Like a son of a chef who eats, not the lasagna served at the restaurant that evening, but whatever. Because, well, that’s what I do for a living and not for you. I’m tired.
My dad was awesome in so many ways, but not in Hair Ways.
I found some redemption and solace last week. I needed a hair cut, and tired of the whole Lexington Hair Scene (which I respect, no offense intended, Hair Gays), I decided , on a major South Broadway Starbucks mocha buzz to do something fiercely freeing.
I used the iPhone to search for “Barber” and ended up at Image Barbershop on Waller. 8am. They open at 7am. THAT, friends, is a Barber Shop.
Sat in The Chair. His tender care was immediately my Father. Gentle.
Closed my eyes and completely relaxed.
Then, in a moment of It Can’t Get Any Better Than This, it got: Better.
He steamed hot lather on my neck. And used an honest to Dad straight razor. And used talcum. Turned me around to look in the mirror and said, “How’s that?”
I have not felt that beautiful in a very long time.
Thank you, Dad.