What can YOU say in six sentences?
Since I was old enough to sit on a cushioned booster board and still endure the embarrassment of the barber pumping the chair even higher in order to earn his two bucks, seeing a striped pole outside a barbershop has spurred synapsual arousal.
Never mind that poring over the dog-eared pages of the shop’s Field & Stream magazines might have subliminally fueled an eventual career in that genre. I can still hear scissors swishing, clippers humming, and I can smell the Old Spice, hair tonic and full ashtrays.
But I mostly remember the gentle bite of someone else’s comb, the prick-slide of a straight razor across the back of my neck and the tickling of clippers nipping rogue boy-hairs, all while I was afraid to open my eyes to see the scalping.
I can still imagine and savor the slight pressure of the barber’s unseen hand turning my head this way and that, the loosening of the shawl’s collar and the applying of a steamy towel, which opened the pores to allow trepidation to ooze freely.
Living with the shame of a fresh haircut was more easily forgotten than the sensory overload promised behind the pole.
(This is the final of six installments exploring the senses, a joint effort with my talented wife, Gita. If you missed the others, I urge you to go back and read them off our respective pages.)