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Alex at the Club

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Alex and I on a trip to the Club—his first bus ride, and his first barber shop haircut.

One of the great benefits of a club is that it offers services based not merely upon the transaction but upon the relationship. People get to know one another: members and staff become something of an extended family. With such a network in place, you know whom to call when the time arises.

I thought that at nearly three years old, Alex should be introduced to the club. The first order of business was to introduce him to Jack Russell, the in-house barber. The video nearby documents the occasion.

The barber shop is a sacred place. This is a fundamental truth that is simply beyond many today, those unfortunate men who find themselves adrift in a world of strip malls, unisex salons, and daily agendas drafted by the women in their lives. If for no reason beyond a means of defending their identities, they too often take on a purely utilitarian view of the world: let’s just get this over with as fast as possible. They never know the people who cut their hair, they likely make no real connections to the world outside, and they just keep hoping that the ordeal is finished.

What should happen at the barber shop is a completely different matter. Brought together by a common interest and need, men can discuss the business at hand, but need not be limited to grooming. The present concern is only a part of a larger issue, a man’s personal style—how he presents himself to the world. While women have similar concerns in the abstract, the specifics are sufficiently different to warrant the sort of place unique to men. A real barber shop, a proper barber shop, is the sort of place that every man must know, and should come to know at an early age.

Alex and I thus packed his gym bag, readied ourselves for a brief trip, and walked down to the bus stop. After waiting a few minutes, a COTA bus came along route 10 to take us downtown. Our stop is less than a block away from the entrance to the Club, and there we made our appearance.

As I have a relationship with my barber, I need not describe my objective every time that I visit. I simply appear, and the works will follow. The style that I have adopted is a relatively short cut around the back and sides, much longer on top, with even progression along the way. The cut is followed by a straight razor shave, and a head and shoulder massage. While I went through my normal treatment, Alex sat in a seat and observed for most of the production. In the end Jack did turn on a television to Spongebob Squarepants. Hardly my first choice, but it seemed to make more sense than perusal of back issues of Esquire.

Alex took his turn in the chair next, upon a booster to position him high in the chair. He was a natural, calmly waiting while the barber he just met went to work. Afterward, I showed Alex around the Club, and we finally ended up in one of the restaurants. We sat at the bar and had lunch before returning home.

Alex and I make our trek to the club weekly—he is now taking swimming lessons there—and at every visit, Alex is sure to stop by the barber shop to say hello to Mr. Russell.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2009-11-29 11:43 AM
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