I’m patronising my wonted barbershop getting my haircut. Barbershop gab patters on interspersed with cackles and guttural laughs. I grin. One of the barbers, a Maasai, better yet, a short Maasai is fodder for the discourse. He stands there tending to another client as he takes it all in like a sponge does water. He titters too as he is mauled since it’s never that serious. They claim he believes those Jerricans some Maasai’s hawk contain potent medicine, that they could cure any malady. Even baldness, one claimed (nice one). He dismisses them off by tittering mockingly and swinging his hands and that helps as much to kill the conversation as ‘their’ medicine does to alleviate baldness hehe. The conversation persists.
After the barber is done with my mane, i shuffle to the wash cum massage station and slouch on the swivel chair. The masseuse, a bubbly damsel with a perpetual smile washes my head and proceeds to softly knead my neck, back and shoulders (The back part now where it’s at). Her bosom defiantly propping my neck. Suffice to say this is the part blokes relish most in the barbershop. Let me bite my tongue lest I snitch any more, let my infraction slide guys, no? If I had a girlfriend here she would get her knickers in a twist. Saying something like; Is that really necessary si you’ve already cut his hair, let him go. Come on Gracy do you have to touch his back like that?
As I overtly roll my eyes. Wanting the kneading to continue.
If you’re a little slow, all I’m saying is don’t take the missus, girlfriend or paramour – for the risque ones to the barbershop. Come on, it’s a sacrosant space for us chaps, don’t infiltrate it. For the same reason we don’t sit in salons, femmes please don’t insist on accompanying us to the barbershop.
“Wewe ni wa kina King Kaka” she quips, the masseuse.
I grin, having been in this situation before, I know where she’s getting at.
“Mnafanana, ushaiambiwa hivyo?”
“Yeah, na watu kama tano hivi” I retort, acknowledging her in spurts of forced laughter.
She whimsically swivels my chair to face the patronisers, catching me off guard.
“Si anafanana na King Kaka”
I cast a wry smile, that confused smile people make when you don’t know what to do for a tad while. My eyes vacantly panned across the shop as I simmered in angst. Waiting for my scrutiny to assuage. It felt like eternity. Thankfully I wasn’t standing, as I’d not know what to do with my hands, I’d just stand there, stationery like statue on plinth, awaiting my dismissal.
They all acknowledge I could be his doppelganger. She pats my shoulder. She is done.
She doubles up as the cashier. I pay for services rendered and i tip her; softly sliding a note across the cashier desk akin to how actors do in taverns, only more smoother and without the number at the back. That’s what a good haircut does, it innately infuses confidence in you. You can feel it reverberate inside you. You want to muster resolve to talk to that bird, get a haircut. You want to pitch an idea to your boss, get a haircut. You might look like a battered Michael Blackson on the outside but on the inside you’re prime Michael fucking Ealy and nobody can take that away from you.
She smiles, hell, she never stopped smiling. I nod and walk out.
Let’s talk about tips baby, just the tip.