When you’re a short-haired person on the legendary quest to eternal dapperness, finding a barbershop you trust is critical. I cannot overstate this point. The best barbershops will make you feel like you are Norm Peterson from Cheers. Always welcome. Always at home. Finding your perfect barber? Now that is the Holy Grail. You point to a few things that you love, maybe share something you want to change, or simply ask, “What would YOU like to try?” Then you trust him or her to treat your head like a canvas and your hair like the paint. I’ve found my vessel in Frankie — Master Barber at The Shave Barbershop. Every 3-weeks I stop in for my wearable artistic masterpiece and a healthy dose of inspiration.
If you live in the Atlanta area, then The Shave Barbershop is a must visit. The shop opens at 10am every day. Typically a line starts forming out front around 9:30am. Your options to get a seat with your preferred barber are to wait in line or call ahead. Absolutely no appointments. Go grab yourself a cool beverage while you wait courtesy of The Shave.
There was a day a few months back that I was in desperate need of a haircut. Frankie was not working that day. My other favorite barber – Carley – also didn’t appear on the schedule. I called over to the shop and said, “I know Frankie and Carley are not available today. Do you have anyone else who can do a cool disconnected-fade, dapper-lesbian-pompadoury undercut? I’m pretty sure that is the technical term.” After a chuckle of support (I’m pretty sure Connor knew it was me on the phone) he answered, “That’s our specialty. Come on by and we’ll take care of you.”
But, the story I want to tell is not about Frankie, The Shave, nor the lifestyle import of the barbershop. Let’s fast forward to last week. Shall we?
After running an early morning errand at the DMV I decided I deserved a treat. I headed directly over to The Shave for much needed pampering — arriving at 9:45am. Surprisingly, there was only one person waiting in front of me. Unsurprisingly, Frankie was his preferred barber as well. A few minutes after I ascertained this information another gentleman joined us. The three of us struck up a conversation.
The third man soon revealed that he was getting his hair cut for his dream wedding that coming weekend. He would be doing the wedding on the cheap — catering it himself and borrowing a farm that a friend offered up for the event. While he sat in the chair for his wedding coiffure I wandered over to the front of the shop.
Me: That guy who you just sat… can you put his haircut on my tab?
Sky: Do you know him?
Me: Just met him in line.
Sky: So, why are you paying for his haircut?
Me: He’s getting married this weekend!
Sky: Really? <momentary pause> Do you mind if I split it with you?
Isn’t that what it’s all about? In a world that can often times feel confusing, cruel, and cowardly — sometimes a simple act of kindness is the most revolutionary thing you can do. It might not change the world — but it is guaranteed to uplift the randomly specific recipient. It is a personal and local way of acting. And who knows? The domino effect of kindness has a way of propelling itself forward.
After his haircut was done the soon-to-be-groom mosied over to my chair as Frankie’s scissors paused. He leaned in, kissed my cheek, and whispered, “Thank you.” His face was fuzzier than I am used to. I was tickled both literally and metaphorically.
Some people think of karma as a sort of a bank. You put good karma out there and you are sure to get it back with interest. Cause and effect. I believe in karma as its own reward. How can I not feel heartened when I connect with a stranger in line and inadvertently become a nameless figure in his wedding story? I even got instant dividends on my karmic deposit when Sky from The Shave was moved to share in the good deed with me. I bet Norm would have done the same (even if he never paid his tab). As a proud Atlantan I can say that perfect harmony cannot be delivered in a can of Pepsi. So, I’d like to buy the world a Coke or at least a haircut from time to time.
Full disclosure: After I publish this post I am expecting that Frankie will give me the haircut of a lifetime when I see him next week. Though to be fair — that was a foregone conclusion before I ever typed a word.