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Ostomy Memories of Barber Phases


THERE HAVE BEEN THREE DISTINCT PHASES of my life:  Barber Avoidance (BA), Barber Enjoyment (BE), and Barber Unnecessary (BU).  As a young man coming of age in the turbulent Sixties, I shunned the barber shop.  I had no interest in getting my hair cut.  My disappointment was that, as my hair grew more and more unkempt, it didn’t grow long, it pooched out in thick curls.  Then, when I became professionally active and had to be conscious of my appearance, I started going regularly to the barber.  I found the experience a relaxing break in the day.  The disappointment then became the barber needing me to remove my glasses, without which I couldn’t look at the girlie magazines he kept that had scantily clad females in them.  By the time of retirement, I was completely bald and so had no further need for a barber’s services.  What little hair that remained on either side of my head, I shaved off myself.  My most lasting memory of a barbershop was right after I had gotten out of the hospital following my ileostomy surgery.  I was twenty-one, my hair was a tangled mess, and it was probably the last haircut that I’d have for at least eight or ten years.  My practically bald grandfather took me.  He and I both got into barber chairs simultaneously, right next to each other.  As the barber finished with me and I was getting out of the chair, the other barber, much to my amazement, was still working over my almost bald grandfather.  Finally, he finished, my grandfather paid, and we left the shop.  “I can’t believe it took the barber longer to cut your hair than mine,” I marveled.  “It just took him longer to find it,” my grandfather said.

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Hi Henry i miss going to the barbershop, usually on a saturday morning and sitting around BS with a few other guys while waiting my turn, no more barbershops in my area so i walk around the block to a beauty salon to get a trim.


A good or a bad barber can make a huge difference to the way you look. Italian ones are excellent. You could ask for the barber's name before you begin! In London some shops advertise that they have an Italian at hand. 


Hello HenryM. 

Thanks for the story of your barber phases.

I only had one barber phase , which was when I was at school and the local barber’s invited me to become their apprentice.

I’ll try anything at least once, so agreed and  started work the next week.  The job was fine and I was quite enjoying the experience. Unfortunately, in those days , barbers were considered (without much justification) as being homosexual. At school I was getting all sorts of abuse for (a) taking on the job & (b) stating that I was enjoying it., & (c) standing up for the barber’s integrity.

After a number of physical and verbal fights , I decided that barbering was a dangerous occupation  and I shared this with my employers, stating that, whilst I had really enjoyed my time working with them, it was perhaps time to call it a day.

They were very understanding and admitted that they too had occasionally  experienced similar abuse from ignorant, hateful people.

After that, I took it upon myself to cut my own hair , rather than attend a barber’s shop.

The front, sides and top were relatively easy to cut into a reasonable shape but the back was ‘working ‘blind’. So, I rigged the video machine up to a screen so that I could see what was happening behind. This worked quite well for observation purposes, but the pictures were all back to front, so it did not help much with the practicalities..

I decided that the best thing I could do was to visually ‘image’ what I was undertaking  and simply check it afterwards using the double-mirror technique.  Gradually, I became proficient at the haircut that suited me and I have been cutting my own hair ever since.

I also used to cut people’s hair when they came to the weekly drop-in centres that I ran for my clients, so the skills learnt all those years ago were once again put to good use. .

I have often thought that the number of things we can do for ourselves can be quite amazing, as long as we are willing to ‘give it a go!’. 

Best wishes



My dad took my with him when I was little and I took my two boys when they were little. I loved the smell of the products used. 

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