Let’s take it back to the late 90s/early 00s, I was 12/13 and I finally convinced my mom to stop giving me trash cuts and give me a $10 allowance every two weeks. I decided to go to the neighborhood barbershop (since I obviously wasn’t driving). In my previous experiences of going to the barbershop with my dad and step dad I didn’t say much. I used to soak in the aura of grown men talking recklessly about various topics and staring at every half decent female in unison. Hence the reason I couldn’t let my mother take me there, I’ve seen it before 50% of barbers are savages and will talk about your mom in your face once she leaves like you’re Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man…“She got a fat ass brah, I wonder if she got a man, yo young bull what’s ya moms name???” I made sure I didn’t suffer the same fate as the others.
Anyway, I walk into the barbershop and sit down to see which barber I want to go to. Mind you I went there with the strategy in mind to see who is best then wait my turn and I STILL got caught slipping by the one barber “yo, who you waiting on?”. Too afraid to share my strategy I go to the barber who bullied me into getting a cut with him. I proceed to tell him I want it even keep it dark. As a young bull I was very impatient and constantly looked at the mirror, looking back on this it was probably because my mom dukes and pop in law fucked up so many haircuts of mine I had to make sure dude was doing his job so I don’t end up like Aaron Mckie.
My barber was obviously fresh out the yard because he yoked and palmed my head like Jordan with Mugsy Bogues guarding him: manhandling, throwing my head whatever way he desired (NH). Anyway, I guess he was annoyed at me trying to constantly look in the mirror and turned me away from it. He proceeded to cut my hair and finally decides to pull out the razor. “This is what is all comes down to” I tell myself if this nigga fucks up my line up aint no bitches going to want to skate with me tomorrow at the Olympic (skating ring). Not being able to look at a mirror I decide to look up at the barber to make sure he was focusing (you can tell if a barber fucking up ya cut depending on how long and the nature in which he looks at ya line while he is doing it). This is when it happens, between him looking down at my line up and I looking up we lock eyes for about a STRONG second. I immediately looked away and immediately felt sick, clammy, soft and delicate. I knew something wasn’t right, this nigga immediately spun my chair around and say “there you go” and proceeded to hand me a mirror. I look in the mirror at my line (which was decent) and I locked eye contact with this nigga AGAIN through the handheld mirror. I felt goosebumps, I felt violated. Mind you I was new to the unwritten rules of the barbershop but I knew something wasn’t right. I proceeded to tell him “yea it’s str8” and dipped out the barbershop. On my way home instead of feeling jubilation I felt a subtle tenderness wash over me every time I thought of that defining movement. The next day at school I informed a few of my boys what had happened, to my dismay they responded “nigga yo gay AF”, “mad suspect FAM”, “I aint ever look at my barber in the eye before you just gay”. With this newly acquired wisdom and personal reflection I decided to make a vow to never make eye contact with another barber again.
Growing up as a man, we’re told to look other men in their eyes when you talk to them: But no one told me that a barber aint just no ordinary man, that nigga is Gawd. He has control of whether a female turns around looks at you and keeps dancing while ‘back that ass up’ plays or whether she laughs to her homegirls and walks way. I’m here to say don’t be like me, learn from my mistakes, don’t EVER look your barber in the eyes, teach your kids and loved ones. I don’t care if cut is 1 hour keep your eyes closed or look away. Don’t even risk that moist mirror eye contact unless you’re ready to embark on spiritual conquest of finding oneself. Pass this wisdom down from generation to generation like that silverware your grandma has that’s been in the family for 60 years but only cost $5 from Family Dollar.
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