Sharp Razors and Trust in Gay Wilton Manors
I had an opportunity to wonder if there is a more intimate relationship than the one between you and your barber; second of course to the one with whom you sleep. Your barber has the opportunity once a month to hold a straight edge razor to your neck and stroke without hesitation or complaint; that act has to top the trust list.
Men’s haircutting has made more turns than the Kangamangus Highway and no matter where it goes in art or business in the end it’s simply a haircut. Yes you can be soaped, scrubbed, sprayed, snipped, sheared, buzzed, shorn, feathered, layered, shaved, trimmed and cut, but in the end it’s a haircut. And in another month you get to be subjected to it once again.
I am a loyal haircut customer. Once I find the person who cuts my hair the way I like I’m hooked and religiously revisit them monthly until some event precipitated either by my moving or their moving separates us. Then the hunt begins anew with my bugging friends with good cuts to divulge their secret stylist or dropping in unannounced at the neighborhood salon hoping for the best.
No matter how I find the barber the result remains a mystery until they are done. Sometimes the good news is that the only difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks; other times I strut out of there with a whole new attitude. Like a restaurant meal, you just can’t know until it’s served.
After moving home to Wilton Manors some months ago I found myself forced to find a new barber. There were choices of course; those who have cut my hair before or find someone new. Being at a particularly adventurous place in life I opted for the latter.
That latter led me to Mojo’s, The Men’s Room on Wilton Drive while on a walk at high noon because that day I woke up realizing I had an event that night and looked like I had been sleeping in a cave. A friendly ‘Walk In’s Welcome’ sign beckoned, so I did and without hesitation was greeted, seated and shorn.
That first visit was interesting. I never had a barber with sharp instruments snipping about my head dancing like he still had last nights gay disco running in his head. Yet, in the end he did a quite serviceable job and I left happy.
I made an appointment the second time with a friend of a gay friend. After waiting a few minutes for the reserved barber to finish with his customer I was seated, ignored and received the haircut he thought I should have with little to no attention paid to what I requested. Again, in the end it was not a disaster though I knew I would not specifically request him again.
As the Holidays approached I again marched to Mojo’s. In I walked, as a walk-in, to be graciously greeted as usual. I was assigned to Francis, who reached out his hand to shake mine and lead me to his chair; that is how it started, with a hand shake. As usual I proceeded to tell him what I would like with little to no expectation that I should be provided with that request.
It seems barbers have a style and that is what you get. When lucky enough to find the barber whose style coincides with your desire, there is a marriage made in heaven.
Francis, who is not gay and has a six month old son, actually listened and proceeded. Surprisingly enough I began to see it come together; I thought to myself, this guy is obviously a pro.
He worked the clippers till I thought they would overheat. Then he dug a smaller one from the drawer and began again. Lo and behold he dug a straight razor from the tall jar of blue water, changed the blade, lathered different points on my neck and face and began to shave. Just a touch here and there and a long run down the hair lines on the back of the neck. All gentle, controlled and flawless. Now I began to smile. Never was there even an intimation of hurry; always was he quietly competent.
No matter what one does it life I appreciate competence. It does not matter to me your station; just do it well, with meaning and skill. Let me know you are very good, or the best, at what you do. I appreciate that. Francis is competent and proves that all good haircutters are not gay.
And, when he was finally finished, having blown and then brushed all the little hairs from my face and neck, he thanked me for coming and led me to the register. There I paid him and could not resist over tipping Francis, for Francis is a real professional and the Holiday season was upon me.
As I turned to leave he rang the big brass bell over the register and all the other barbers looked up. I have no idea what the bell is for though that was the first time I have heard it rung.
Upon my arrival that day the one who had been recommended by my gay friend and had previously ignored my requests and cut my hair in silence to his choice, caught my eye in tacit recognition. The bell rang recognition into his brain. For a moment I knew he knew he had missed an opportunity to create a regular recurring customer. Then he returned to his own world and Francis is my man.