I think I can remember the name of every person who has cut my hair more than once. I develop a strong dependence on my barbers. And I’ve had some trouble in the past couple of years keeping good ones.
Two years ago, Vince died. He had cut my hair for about fifteen years in his little two-chair shop next to the bus terminal. His replacement, Valentino, had become a good friend. We talked a lot about wine and his native Romania and most importantly, he actually figured out how to cut my hair. About six weeks ago, I went in to find him missing. Karim, a young Algerian barber, was there. He was replacing another Albanian barber who had opened up his own shop in the west end of Toronto. Karim told me that Valentino had been sick, experiencing vertigo and coughing a lot, and that after consulting lots of doctors here, he and his wife had gone to Costa Rica to consult with “natural” doctors. It didn’t look good and Valentino was considering selling the shop. I guess calling your business the “Terminal Barber Shop” may have been a jinx. Seriously, though, I was upset because Valentino is only in his mid-40s.
Karim tried gamely to cut my hair and I visited him twice but it just wasn’t working. He was a really great guy who had all kinds of stories but I’m not sure I’ll be back.
Today, I tried again. There are two places near me that looked promising. Of course, one was inexplicably closed. The other has been there for a long time, but the name should have warned me. Paul’s Hairstyling for Men and Women. Hmmm…
And even though I had my hair cut by Paul himself, it still isn’t right. I just want a barber who gets in there and cuts the hair. Instead, I felt like I was being pecked by birds. Lots off the sides and back, but they’re all terrified to tackle the top and front.
I’m considering shaving my own head.