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Male vanity & hair dressing

male vanity, bucks, beauty, beautification, women, male vanity, classmate, hair dresser

Women, most of them, spend majority of their husbands’ (if applicable) ‘extra money’ on beutification and beutiparlours. Well, the new age super-hitech ‘female androids’ need not bother about this piece. I am not talking about the ‘high maintenance’ types seen in swanky malls, plush offices (a la corporate) and ‘K’ serials. I am talking about the lot who are the favourite target audience of the magazines catering to women who respect their respective husbands and believe that marriages are the arrangement to live a peaceful life and not the license to kill the happiness of in-laws. That was an early diversion from topic which hasn’t been initated yet. So the point is, as women have the beauti parlour to splurge their husbands’ hard earned money, the hair cutting soloons offer better service to menfolk at much cheaper rates and more fun. The satisfaction emerging on the face of the guy who just got hair-dressed is only comparable to beautiful news-readers flashing a ‘Have a nice day’ smile at the end of broadcast news bulletins.

On one of such odd days, I felt like taking a break and wanted to sit and watch the world go by. It’s the best activity to do on weekends. I went to my favourite hair-cutting saloons ‘The Blue Diamond’. Well quite a name eh! Don’t be heartbroken after I tell you that it is a tiny one room parlour with three chairs, wall-mirrors and all the stuff required for male vanity.

Here I will seek a diversion again. I am not talking about the places where one gets hair-cut free on steambath, naturotherapy, Sauna and ayurvedik stuff inside a ‘state of the art’ mansion where the hawk eyed guard stands beside a glassdoor. Customers like me feel like bowing to him and return with an inferiority complex. At such a ‘beutification clinic’ one pays three hundred bucks as a fee because the elite hairdresser privilleged your poor head for letting his equipments do the needful. I am talking about the odd joints where a package haircut, head massage lightens your wallets by a mere fifty bucks (quoting the latest figures!)

Hair dressing is the mark of human intelligence and the business idea of the millenium. The guy who first thought of opening up the first such saloons should be duely crowned ‘the innovator of the millenium’. Otherwise who on Earth would have thought of paying the fellow for cutting the hair you oiled, nurished, conditioned and stylized from time to time? What an idea!

Whenever I visit ‘Blue Diamond haid dressers’ I always find myself standing in the waiting list, ranked 5th or 6th.The parlour is quite famous and it is a ‘family feeling’ to go there as it’s the only place where all the generations of men in many families can have nice time and refreshment. The parlour has laid out eight chairs in its premises where they keep all the newspapers and not-so-new film magazines. I bumped in my schoolmate there. All the menfolk were relaxing as if they have done their ‘karma’ for life and were sure of their first birth in the next train to heaven (leaving behind the wives…aghast!)

Perhaps it’s the place where the men feel at their natural habitat without any impending threats of professional and personal types. The cellphones switched off, sip of an ‘elaichi’ chay and moning newspapers on a pleasant weekend. Heaven is right there! The man when in such a habitat is not even a thousandth of the shade of chauvenist painted by feminists for centuries. He becomes the dude who would say ‘some other time’ to all the Madonnas and Julia Roberts lining up to ask him out for a date. Nothing is comparable to this sense of freedom and offbeat feeling.

With my classmate I went on trailing the time and events that occurred in his life. We talked and reminisced all the classmates (read: girls) who got married to the undesirables. We were quite relieved. Two men if recorded bitching about their female schoolmates can make it to the top of comic books. There are always these examples of Jiraffes, Elephants, Snails, Express trains, chatterboxes and ‘Aunty’s in the not so better half of our class. We took a quick journey of school days and to tell you the truth, it gave me a real high. We were nostalgic about school and schoolmates. But the hair dresser interrupted by calling my friend for his turn. As the only available option I picked up a newspaper and started scanning them for no reason. The five people were still there ahead of me in the waiting list. But this wait was different than that outside the school result-boards and ICUs where results can be disheartening( well in case of exam results the probability is more). Here we were a bunch of optimists waiting for an expert hairdresser to wave-off the burden of hair that carried the stress emanating from the head full of worries coming from mundane life.

The elderfolk in the waiting list were discussing the news in the local dailies. The discussions consisted of rising petrol prices, floods, and dug-up roads with potholes, daughter-in-laws and tax issues. But they were as relaxed as the hitchhikers on a rainforest trail. No hurry to call up someone for birthday, no queing up on petrol stations, no payment reminders…whoa! Happyness finally reached their tired brains through the hands of expert hair artists. I heard the latest in politics, bollywood, insurance schemes with tax waivers and Hollywood fantasies. All in all it was quite an inightful discussion. But again my turn came and I had to rush to catch the moment. I went in with a relieved expression as this is the only place (apart from toilets) where men are not in danger of an unwanted female invasion. I felt I was letting my head in safe hands.

These exercises are always with commentary. Rajendra, my favourite hair stylist is an untapped news resource for the city news bureau. He knows which scrip is bouncing in stock market, the fund allocation plan of Municipal Corporation all the way upto who is dating whos daughter with a comment on the chemistry and heartburns.

He is a street smart fellow who gives every customer a feeling that he is the next important person in hierarchy to Mr. George W Bush. Although he does this to everyone, I think this fake soul-elation act like a medicine to the mind which is trampled by dominating egos and harsh exchanges. Perhaps this is the main reason for me to visit such parlours. He keeps on singing the song “ Jhootha hi sahi , pal bhar ke liye koi hame pyar karle”

I had to get out of the parlour as Rajendra was through with his job. I paid him the due amount with a satifaction as if I was inserting tenners in charity box of a temple. I saw my elated soul and a rare stressed out face in the wall mirror and promised myself to get back there in due course. Get back to the recurring event for the last quarter of the century which hasn’t lost its sheen by years of repetition.
Published: 2006-08-28
Author: Aniket Kavathekar

About the author or the publisher
I am an engineer with passion for writing. That led me to a PG in Mass Communications from Sysmbiosis,Pune. I work as Marketing Communications executive, where again my core job is writing and creative conceptualizing. Business apart, I have been writing in Marathi as well. The writings are generally experimental and are from seemingly mundane incidences. Simplicity is the most complicated and tough thing to life as much in writing. I keep my writing simple and straight.

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