A French Hair Cut Above the Rest

My hair is a very serious deal. If my hair isn’t right, I don’t feel right. I’m constantly in the mirror making sure my “do” is correct and clean. I try to keep a full beard too. People who see me on a regular basis are used to seeing me with a lot of hair. But I hadn’t had a fresh cut since mid-September and I started to look like Chewbacca. Not a cool look.

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My hair was out of control. I looked like a werewolf. Some of the American students in one of my classes called me “old,” and joke about how I was really 50 years old, instead of the 22 years that I claim to have. My moustache was so long that I was starting to bite on it when I ate. I could feel it on my lips. My morning routine consists of waking up, making a trip to the bathroom to “loose some weight”, brushing my teeth and putting on some clothes. 15 minutes of speed and precision. As long as my hair looks ok, I’m ok. It’s this mentality that has allowed my face to look like a shaggy throw rug. If I wanted any shot at meeting French people (especially girls), I needed to get a haircut.

First, I had to find a barber, and one that cut “black people’s hair.” A “coiffure afrique” was not hard to find. I walked around and shopped the different prices, which are conveniently listed outside of the door. I did this for two days and on the third day, I decided to pick a place. Well, that’s not exactly how it worked out.

My pursuit led me around the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est transit stations and I was on my way north again when I was abruptly stopped by some random dude. Apparently, I looked like I needed a haircut. This guy essentially decided that my hair was a mess and asked me if I needed a barber. He spoke in French and I tried to speak as well, but he also guessed (correctly again) that I spoke English. I told him I needed a cut and he told me to walk with him. I pretty much just said “whatever” and walked with him to this barbershop. It was a handoff, like some drug deal or human trafficking. It was this guy’s job, along with other dudes, to stand outside and bring people into the barbershop.

The haircut was not that great. The barber cut my head, but didn’t ask me all the questions I’m used to, like “Do you want the back tapered or boxed?” or “How do you want me to cut the beard?” Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about the beginning. Throughout the session, I could feel how far back he pushed my shape-up and I knew I wouldn’t like it. He really cut the back of my head really close and it felt like he did a skin fade on the back, right at the bottom. I didn’t like the beard either, so I went home and shaved it all off so I looked like 12 year-old. This was a subpar cut and I immediately thought about the two-and-a-half weeks or so it would take for my hair to grow back. Almost back to my hairy self. But the “old” jokes haven’t subsided.


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