A Visit to the Barber


And now, a bit of good literature to stretch and warm up my writing muscles, which are quite out of shape due to neglect.

You walk beneath the spiraling lamp and step through the glass door into a sleekly-designed shop of black and red-coloured furnishings. The lady at the counter with the thick makeup immediately acknowledges your presence and asks in Chinese if you want a simple haircut. You say yes, and she directs you to an empty barber’s chair.

You cross the tiled floor littered with bunches of hair strands and lower yourself onto the seat. Promptly an apron-clad woman appears behind you, razor at the ready.

You ask for a high-slope; she confirms your order by repeating it, using the Singapore Armed Forces term, and you understand that she knows exactly what you’re thinking.

You remove your glasses while the woman wraps a cape around your neck. You stare blankly at the reflection before you, lost in your thoughts as she deftly shaves off tufts of hair, using a comb and razor in tandem. Every now and then she would pause and touch her fingers against your scalp, subconsciously beckoning you to tilt your head to give her a better angle, before resuming.

5 minutes in and she retires the razor and takes up a pair of scissors to make fine adjustments.

You eventually become aware of tiny stubs of hair lodged uncomfortably in between your neck and the cape. Worse still, there are bits and strands of hair all over your cheeks and nose. Despite this you keep still and put up with the discomfort, patiently waiting for the barber to finish.

A few moments later and she appears to be done. She walks around you to reach for a hairdresser’s mirror and positions it for you to evaluate your new hairstyle. You squint against your near-sighted vision, usable to put on your glasses as your hands are kept beneath the cape. You’re unsure, but you tell her it’s alright. She puts away the mirror and uses a hair dryer to blow away the bits of hair on your face and neck, and removes the cape off you with a hairy flourish.

You pay the fee and go home. Your father notices your haircut and remarks that it is uneven. Spectacles on, you gaze into a mirror but don’t really see what he means. You shrug, and remind yourself that you only needed to pay $3.80 for it.

Thank you, Snip Avenue!

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Visit to the Barber

  1. The publisher can ask that you buy a number of your books from the company at a certain agreed upon price.

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