Short hack and sides


Dinny at the hairdressers. Estimated cost: Dh120. Estimated savings: one marriage

The unevenly buttoned goal umpire’s coat should have given him away; that and the uneasy relationship between his hands and the scissors.

These were not the hands of a professional. They were extremely whatever is the opposite of deft. And so, the result was largely my fault.

Dinny sat with his usual earnest interest, swinging his small, four-year-old legs as he perched on the small plank that had been slid over the arms of the barber’s chair to bring him up to height.

Then I did it. I took my eyes off him. Sitting two seats down in the Abu Dhabi Gentlemen’s Saloon with a barber who seemed much more at ease with his choice of profession, I watched as he neatened the few strands that form the sparse desert peninsula at the front of my scone.

Then I looked over. Rubbed my eyes. Looked again. The klutz was massaging my little boy’s skull, as if desperately trying to make it fit his abominable new “haircut”. Descriptions of Din’s new look flooded in to the mind: ragged; tattered; dog’s breakfast; Mad. Woman’s. Poop.

I knew, at that point, that my marriage was on the brink. I knew that the expression to greet me when I presented our little poster boy for post-toddler self-harm to his mother would be one far from delight and shared parental love.

Four words loomed large: Lawyers. Dawn. Ten Paces. The “do” would never do.

I moved threateningly towards our Bangladeshi Sweeney Todd and he backed away. I asked the man at the till what the damage was. He knew damage when he saw it. He charged for my cut only.

I grabbed the little fellow’s hand and marched him straight towards the shop to which we should have gone in the first place. Evening Aromatic Saloon.

The three Keralites nodded in acknowledgement as we walked in, dripping with sweat. Then the double-take as they clapped eyes on Dinny.

“Can anything be done to save him?” I pleaded, when I really meant me. They scrubbed up. Up went the plank. Out came the clippers.

The result was a much shorter, much more even head of hair, one that should return to its normal shape in time for puberty.

The trip home was long. On arrival, the carefully rehearsed explanation was accepted with at least some grace. Pioneer stock, that woman.

It was also accepted with one proviso: from here on in, the boy would go to a hairdresser (estimated cost Dh120) rather than any of the homely barber shops dotting the city (Dh20). We spat on our hands and shook.

For my part, given the events of the day, I owe my allegiance to the men of Evening Aromatic, and still bestow on them my custom.

Kudos, boys. Kudos.

2 responses to “Short hack and sides”

  1. Kumar says :

    In nine-and-a-half years, I have been to Evening Aromatic for exactly three times spaced out by a small prison term each and only by coincidence. Each time they have looked at me in greeting as if they know me. Kind of spooky but still a bit of a welcome you would rather have than not. As if some kind of cosmic connection. Glad to know the spirit saved your marriage too!

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