Monday, May 3, 2021

Hair on my chest and other tall tales

HALIFAX ROSE:I used this picture to not only illustrate
 my dashing hairstyle but also in the 
hopes it'll get my darling cousin Roseanne to read my blog!

I cannot remember what a haircut cost at Gino's barbershop when I was a little boy;  $1.25 comes to mind.

I do remember though that I hated getting my hair cut. 

Not because I wanted to let my hair grow long either. (That came a few years later.) 

And not only because of the dorky haircuts we got: Shaved high up the neck and around the ears then left with a tiny 45-degree bang in the front which, after being dabbed with some kind of goop but never the cool-looking stuff, got combed back to the right.  (And then I went home and my mom would be like "what a handsome boy!" This is the same church-going woman who told me eating vegetables would put hair on my chest. The only time I ever had hair on my chest was when it fell there, during haircuts. I think sometimes my mother prevaricated, which is a word I just looked up, with considerable satisfaction.)

But not Gino. He never lied to me. And he always parted my hair on the left. Only girls parted their hair on the right. Girls also used one straw when they drank pop. Boys needed two. Zippers and shirts were also on different sides for boys and girls. Plus my sisters' shirts had darts. Why?

Timeless mysteries all.

Conversely the only mysteries around Gino's were the contents and purpose of all those coloured liquids on the shelf? Barbicide sounds like it belongs in detective movie.

only mystery at Gino's
Otherwise? No suspense at Gino's. My Gino haircut never varied. The style never questioned.

Not once did Gino, as friendly as he was, ask what sort of hair style I wanted. 

That's probably why I'm so bad at answering that question to this day. 

Hairstylist: "So what can we do for you today?"

Me: "I remember when this whole property was an Inglis washing machine factory."

Hairstylist: "Do you generally leave it long at the back?"

Me: "I don't know. You grow up around here?"

Stylist: "Okay we'll take an inch off and want it over the ears?"

Me: "Sounds good do you actually ever hear the radio that's playing or do you tune it out?"

Eventually the hair gets cut and the stylist holds the mirror up behind me to see the back of my head. I swear I look at everything else in the the reflection except the back of my head. A dead friend of mine, Peter Worthington, once said (before he died) "the only difference between a good and a bad haircut is three days." And the lesson here is, you never know what people are going to quote you saying so watch it.

Where was I? 

Right. It wasn't the style of Gino's haircuts that I loathed either. 

And neither was it the fact that the magazines and newspapers at the barbershop were all a: in Italian, and b: cleaner than the St. Clement's Church bulletin. The Argosys and Esquires my older brothers
In the Carter household

snuck into our house were way hotter than anything on Gino's barbershop table.

The worst part of getting my haircut at Gino's was that board about five inches wide and three feet long that he placed across the barber chair arms so we little guys could see the mirror. 

Our legs dangled and didn't reach the steel foot rests that the big guys put their feet on.

Our arms had to stay limp at our sides. We didn't get armrests, like the big guys got.

I hated being short. Especially because everybody in my house was taller than me. I was the youngest and shrimpiest of a dozen if you include my parents. 

That's a lot of people to be shorter than. Shrimp, squirt, short-stuff and Little Hitler were just a few of  of my nicknames. 

I believe I willed myself grow to six feet tall just because of all that teasing and Gino's kid board that I despised so much. 

Anyone who knows me will agree: determination and perseverance have been my watchwords.

And Gino's haircuts made me handsome.


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