My head was tilted at a 45 degree angle towards the rear of the barber’s chair, while the freshly placed razor was all ready to do its deed. The Algerian man slightly brought my head closer to the headrest, feeling the tension in my body as he slid the razor in a northerly fashion from the bottom of my throat to where my jaw line was. Today, for the very first time I entrusted a stranger to shave me in a very traditional fashion.
I had slept for about 10 hours. I woke up to a million errands I had to do before I have to fly again tomorrow.
I started the laundry machine, sent out delayed emails and jammed out of the apartment to buy a few important things. To my left was a bearded man, quite content with his easy start to the day, sitting at his shop reading, waiting for any client who would show up on this slow, quiet Barcelona Wednesday morning. For whatever reason I decided to give this a try. My beard was getting out of control and my mustache even more so as I tasted the salt water hours later after I took a dip in the Mediterranean the past few days. I could have done it at home, but didn’t find the energy or desire to.
The transaction lasted 13 minutes. It was enough time for me to find out about his story, but not enough time to establish a relationship. I told him a bit about me; he was more reserved. He wished me well with all that I was doing. His blessings seemed genuine upon leaving the shop. So did his smile, but his stoic attitude towards the Italian tourist who didn’t have the patience to wait a few minutes to get his unnecessary hair chopped off, revealed so much of his personality.
The razor went south to north on my throat, around my lips, my ears and my neck. My body hadn’t felt that much tension in ages. I decided to trust that he had my best interest. I closed my eyes, did a four count breath: 5 counts inhale, pause 5 counts at the top, 5 counts exhale, pays 5 at the bottom (and repeated it until it was done).
It was 11am and I had successfully gotten a shave without having to invest in a machine and do it myself. The traditional shaving method that was applied was exciting and I let him do what he has specialized to do. I let go of control and placed it in him and trusted that he would do an excellent job. He did. I can not wait until next time when we can chat up a little bit more about his adventure 15 years ago from Algeria to Barcelona. Everyone has a story. Trust that they are as good as yours and listen.
Frankly, I feel so great after experience, I feel like I was doing it all wrong. I guess I should’ve read Refined Guys 9 things about shaving before.