Yup, since I was born I had learned that men should go to a barber shop for their haircut. Parlors were exclusively for women.

I recall when we were still living in Makati that I'd often go to this one barber shop along the rotonda. The AM radio playing, the sound of the scissor blades in rhythmic succession, a group of guys outside playing dama or chess, and the discussion of politics have adorned this humble shop of hair.

I don't know why, but there were only 2 barbers although there were 4 seats. I've been accustomed to one of the barbers there. My request would always be the same:

"Barber's [haircut]. Nipis lang ng konti. Tira ng konti sa bangs."

As such, I would always go home satisfied (and with a smell of that green tunic that was as "tradition" as the barber shop itself).

Fast forward to last Sunday, I told the missus that I was overdue for a haircut and wanted to go to the barber at my parents' house (not that one in Makati). The missus wanted to have her hair done as well so I went with her to the recommended parlor near my parents' house. Rica, the gay barber resident, manned (or should I say womanned) the place. As Rica was cutting my wife's hair, I felt the urge to go out and have my haircut at the barber shop nearby. It was just walking distance I thought, so it would be a good time-saver instead of waiting there for her.

But laziness came over me so I just decided, "what the heck, I'll just have my haircut here." Should Rica try to do anything funny, the missus would be there to give her a good slapping. It was a bold move as I had only the faintest memory of having a gay guy cut my hair once, probably when I was in college. I didn't like the haircut that time since it lacked the "procedures" that a normal barber shop haircut entails. Probably times have changed, I thought. So I just threw my cares away and sat down on Rica's chair.

The instructions I gave Rica were simple: Barber's [haircut]. But since I loooong wanted to look like those European football players (think Fabregas of Arsenal, Ronaldo of RealMadrid, and of course, David Beckham), I went for it. I told Rica I comb my hair towards the front and would often put wax, but the long bangs wouldn't give me that footballer look.

She (alright for me to call her a "she," right?) thought of it right away, as if she already had a picture of those European players' hairstyles (or would she have thought more than that? hehe). Rica started to cut away. I was surprised that she also had the barber's standard razor to my delight. With occasional story-telling about her gay "sex addict" friend who was actually my parents' next door neighbor, the haircut went all ok.

Price of the haircut? P70.00. The missus and I gave her 200.00 total inclusive of tips.

Next day, Monday, I got the surprise of having a total of 5 people greeting my new haircut. To put it simply, they all liked it. Tuesday, I still got about the same number of comments.

Hmmm, the missus was right. Magaling nga ang bading sa paggupit. Probably I'll give Rica a bigger tip when I come back to her for a haircut next month. I hope she has new stories to tell about her exposes about our neighbor. Hehehe, Dad will surely get a kick out of it.

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