Like father like son: The forty-year story


Last Sunday I took my sons out to a beauty shop to have a haircut, and while this should naturally not be news, it must be because of the historical significance of the trip.
My sons love going out with me and it does not matter where. It could be to get Pizza, Suya, Sharwarama, see a movie or just go for a spin around the block. If they got into the car and we drove, it was worth it to them.
My second son reached out to me a few days earlier and said it was time for a haircut. The last four times we had their hairs cut, we had a hair stylist brought into the house, but this is a story for another day.
This time, I knew we had to drive out, so I called Kingsroom Unisex, the beauty shop located at the Shopping Mall opposite the Air Force Base at Aba road and informed them; we had a date and we agreed on Sunday so the boys were waiting for the day.
At the beauty shop
The boys had been to Kingsroom Unisex a couple of times before but as we approached, my 9 year old suggested to me he wanted to scrape all the hair on his head, what we called Gorimapa or Moro-moro back in the day and when I asked why, he said he was tired of combing his hair and wanted freedom.
My first, an 11 year old, a chip off the old block wanted to take off from the sides, like the punk kind of cut and when I asked why he said he wanted his hair  to eventually be like mine and didn’t want to just take everything off. Hmmm! Impressive.
The 3-year-old did not have a say, so I suggested the three layer kind with a parting in the middle and so they started.
Kingsroom Unisex
Now, there is a reason why I like to be at Kingsroom Unisex, but again that is a matter for another day.
I like the way they got my attention four years ago and I have been part of their daily lives ever since, but I insist it is a story for another day.
I actually did not want to got out for the hair cut because of COVID 19, but I trusted those guys to be a safe haven for us and by the time I got there, I saw what they had done.
Even in the face of COVID 19, I saw the measures they had taken for safety and health of not just their clients, but their staff too. I was watching.

Forty years ago
As the hair stylist worked on my boys, from the middle one to the youngest and then the eldest, I just sat back, enjoying the scenery while my mind flashed back to a little under forty years ago when I was a kid as they were and my dad had to take us to a barber shop.
My dad will take my younger brother and I to a barbershop somewhere in Port Harcourt. I cannot remember the name now, but the barber was so old he could have been a hundred and thirty-five years old.
Then he owned these old rugged clippers that he held in his right hand and used his fingers to control the movement of the blades. If you were born in the 70s, then you will know these clippers.
And he will hit our head with the blade base and then begin to move the clippers up and down our head and I did not just hate the experience, I hated the man, I hated his shop and I hated trips to the barbershop. Now I need to explain all of these. They are part of the story.
First, the experience was painful and there was hardly a time he barbed our hair that he did not draw blood, especially when lining the front and back, or what we call “frictioning” these days.
Second was that I thought the man was too old to be a barber. He looked every time we were there like he would just drop dead while on the job. How could that kind of person be a barber? He was disgusting, and old too.
Then there was the issue of grammar. I do not remember the name of the salon, but there was an inscription on the wall that went, “The Senior Barber: Hair must grow” and this bothered me even more.
As an eight or nine-year-old, I understood that he was a senior barber because he was old, but how would the hair grow when all he did was cut it?
I would always read that inscription and hate him the more for not knowing how to use English. What did he mean by hair growing when all he did was remove whatever hair was left on one’s head?
Finally, I did not like going to the barber shop because I never got to leave with the hair style I wanted.
Why couldn’t I have my hair cut like all the other boys in my class? Why would I have to be taken to the barbershop every month to have all my hair scrapped and If I am lucky, the barber would just leave a little chunk in the middle? I hated it, but there was nothing I could do about it as I was just a kid.
Back to reality
Now, all of these was between 1979 and 1983, but this was in 2020 and I was taking my sons out for haircuts and I was letting them choose how they wanted to look, something that could not happen when I was their age.
How times have changed. I needed to drive the three boys down to my father’s apartment and let him see how four boys (including me) went to the barbershop and they return all looking different. In his day, we would have ben wearing the same thing on our heads, imposed by him.
I wanted to rub it in that in his day, there would be three unhappy boys returning from the barber shop but I brought back three happy and excited ones.
There were lots of things I would have loved to tell him, mocking him too, but I changed my mind because he would not care.
At 82, he had more reasonable things to think about and not how he “terrorized” us as kids at the barbershop.
I am only just reminiscing. Times have really changed. They have.
And, if you live in Port Harcourt between 1975 and 1983, you must remember that barbershop? The senior barber, hair must grow. Let us talk about this.


0 thoughts on “Like father like son: The forty-year story

  1. Kingsroom is a place like no other. Talk about professionalism on point. Even when I have to travel & need a hairdo, I wait till I get back there. Kudos!

  2. Hair must grow…. now that got me…..

    What if he wasnt 130yrs old maybe 70 and because you were so young
    You assumed he is tooo old

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