It has long been a belief of mine that the greatest differences noticed travelling are observed during the most mundane of tasks. With this in mind I ventured off in search of an Italian hair cut. For over a year I have proudly cut my own hair in the fashion that suits a warmer clime. Unfortunately all of the blue sky and olive oil in the world can not hide that it is getting colder in this part of the galaxy.
I had vaguest of directions to find a hairdresser. This suited me just fine and I meandered towards my goal through the streets of Viareggio until I saw a ladies hairdresser and then a more manly coiffure. Once again I was struck by my less than rudimentary grasp of Italiano but luckily the scissors finger sign is universal. The hair dresser also knew one universal word. Ok. He motioned me to sit down and I sat down on a wide bench to soak in the male bastion of resistance that is a barbers shop.
The hair dresser was busy. He was an accomplished shaver and was also running a betting league or other testosterone induced syndicate. Routinely men would come with envelopes of cash and he would provide them with tickets or letters which I could only guess at the function of.
At one end of the bench was a small shrine to the football team Juventus. Various team photographs, autographs and mementoes were arranged above a large stack of football magazines. I have made a habit of reading Italian news papers in the faint hope my subconscious will learn Italian. After reading a couple of football magazines and looking at the pictures I fear prolonged reading would render me homosexual.
Feeling odd it was with a jump that I was ushered into a seat for my hair cut. The hair dresser took the very clever initiative of unzipping my jacket and folding it down upon on itself and fitting me with a large cuff before placing on a sheeny robe.
Again we used sign language to describe my hair style and it agreed upon with two thumbs up. The hair dresser was an artisan. He quickly shaved the sides of my head with two different electric razors. He then prepared a razor and set about tidying up the edges.
The only scary part was my face. Throwing caution to the wind he shaved across my eyebrows and set about going inside my nostrils. I did not have time to even make a British cough of disapproval it was was over so quickly.
Soon after the hairdresser snipped the top of my head. He was a very energetic snipper. After agreeing my haircut was good, he took the time to style my hair and spray my entire head with some perfumed water concoction which I have never smelt or seen the like of.
The price was right. The hair cut was good and I had something to write about.
It is not every day you get your eyebrows shaved and you are awake to see it.
My nostrils do feel a bit violated.