Friday, August 14, 2015

Story Time: At the Hair Salon

A white haired old man walked into the room and sat down on one of the black leather benches. His request for a simple shampoo and trim was met with a kind exclamation from Evelina, our hair stylist. Evelina relinquished the care of the slim, neatly dressed man to two of her teenage minions. The young hairstylists in training helped the man slip out of his tan jacket and carefully place his horn-rimmed glasses on the window sill for sake-keeping. 

“Please don’t let me forget those, Young Ladies.” 

They tilted the man’s head back and began to shampoo his thick white hair in the specially shaped sink. One of the girls did the rinsing and gentle massaging of the man’s scalp, while the other periodically wiped the trickles of water from his forehead. From my spot on the bench I could see his expression of complete relaxation. My mother would call the expression “blissed out”, which sounds like a hippie phrase. 

The whole scene, which I observed while waiting for my grandmother to finish having her hair cut,  reminded me of a scene from Book Six of The Odyssey. Odysseus washes up onto the shore after he has finished a terrible battle in the sea and his body is worn and depleted. His good looks are gone. But he is discovered by some handmaidens who help him to find clothing and provide him with oils to bathe his skin. After he bathes his beauty is restored. 

I expected that the man would stand up from the sink and his skin would have become taught and youthful from the gentle massaging of the girl’s plump hands and the fragrant shampoos. But that didn't happen. Instead he walked over to a chair and got a haircut. 

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