My nine year old has requested we change the way we cut his hair. Usually, I cut it at home. I bought a pair of Wahl clippers at Walmart and about every two to three weeks, I would just shave his little round head. He hates sitting still so I had to time it once so in the future I could tell him exactly how long it would take. It took me seven minutes to shave is dome. His dome now is requesting a professional.
My 13 year old declared this summer that he wanted a barber to cut his hair and since then I have retired from being his barber. At 13 years old, he needed a little more style and my gift is with words not clippers so off to the barber he went. He came home and it did look so much better.
The son that has never cared about his appearance was suddenly very conscious of how he looked. At 13, when being unkempt is no longer fashionable it was time for my son to get a new hair style. On top of wanting a professional cut he wanted “waves.” So we got the necessary equipment and my wife became his beautician.
My nine year, wanting to be like his older brother, has also requested the services of his mother to create the “waves.”
Since being stylish was never an option for me when I was little, it was a joy to do this for them.
Below is a video of how we are fulfilling their requests.
While reviewing our son’s new hair needs, and their need to get their hair cut professionally, I realized I had a lot of rules that I live by when going to my barber.
As I have stated before, I think the experience of going in to a Black barbershop is very unique and a part of Black culture. These rules of course are generalities, but I have found them to be very useful.
1) Tip well.
My hair cut runs $15.00. I usually give my barber $20.00 to $22.00 and $30.00 at Christmas. This is not usual but it gains me special treatment. When he sees me come in he makes sure to hurry up so he can get to me. When I am in the chair he takes extra time to cut my hair. I do this with my boys too and it has the same affect.
2) Avoid the wait.
Going during school hours is the best time to go; less waiting. Avoid Saturdays and the day before a big holiday like you would avoid H1N1.
Saturdays are tolerable if you go early.
3) I never go when they first open.
Operating hours are fluid to say the least. Rarely have I found a barber who is consistently there at the posted opening time.
4) Know what you want.
If you don’t know the terminology bring in a picture and be specific as to what kind of cut you want. A lot of barbers take the poetic license to cut it how they think it should be cut if you’re not clear.
5) Avoid the barber who always has an open chair.
There is a reason why no one is going to him. You don’t want your child to be the poster-child for “when hair cuts go bad.”
6) Once you find a barber you like stay with them.
Being loyal will gain you favor, but make him earn it.
7) Don’t be pressured to go to a barber you don’t like.
If a chair opens up and you are next in line you can always pass until your barber’s chair is free.
8) If your child is “tender headed,” meaning their head is sensitive, let the barber know.
My sons go to a different barber than me because my barber is “heavy handed,” meaning he is not the most gentle. Not all barbers are good with kids, watch for who is and who isn’t.
9) Use this as a learning experience.
You can learn a lot about hair care by just watching. Also, you will probably be a minority in a black barber shop, it is a good way to experience what it feels like to be “the only one.” A great experience to better relate with your child and a great way to start a conversation. “When I go to the barbershop with you, I am the only white one there and I kind of feel out of place, do you ever feel like that?”
Stop back Thursday 2-18-10 and check out my interview with South African author Aurette Bowes. Aurette is a fellow Christian and good friend who I met on Adoption Voices.com. Her book, Someone Else’s Daughter; She’s adopted but don’t tell (click to view more info on her book on Amazon) is Aurette’s journey to find herself after she discovered as an adult she was adopted. She addresses some powerful issues a lot of adoptees struggle with and has some great advice for adoptive parents.