Those Were The Days

I took a trip back in time last week. When I was just a kid my dad used to take me to a father and son owned barber shop on Pigeon Hill, Bloomington’s wrong side of the tracks neighborhood. The barbers  names were hard to forget, although I’m guessing on some of the spelling: “Odd” and Ted Plew (maybe a reader from Bloomington can remember the dad’s actual name…it always sounded like “Odd” to me). There are two things I distinctly remember about visiting their shop. First, before walking out the door of our house, my mom would always tell Dad, “Don’t let Odd cut Jamie’s hair!” Apparently in her opinion the father was past his prime as a barber.

The other thing I remember about visiting is the shaving experience. Straight razors, hot shaving cream and hot towels. Of course I was way too young to need shaving at that time but if the shop wasn’t busy, it didn’t stop Ted from offering to lather me up and “pretend.” I loved that!

Back to last week. Usually when I’m on a bike trip or vacation I rarely bother to shave. Other than having a lame mustache when I was in my 20’s, I have never grown facial hair past a week or two. When I went out for surgery I stopped shaving. It was low on my priority list. But instead of shaving when I went back to work, I just kept the unruly scruff that had grown. It was pretty ugly; gray and corse. Lori tolerated it…giving me the occasional sideways glance, as if to say, “Really? Where is my Jamie? Shave already!” But I didn’t.

There were two simple reasons I “let myself go.” One is quite personal. I may or may not ever share that one. I’m confident it would make absolutely no sense to 90% of you. The other reason is really simple…and it is Lori’s fault. She told me about a new barber shop downtown called Beards and Beers. Well, that’s got to be my kind of place! Aside from Men’s haircuts, they specialize in straight razor shaves and beard trims. So I let my face run wild and made an appointment for a beard trim.

Lori and I arrived about 45 minutes early for the appointment, enough time for me to sample a craft beer. They have a very nice selection of cans and bottles of some of my favorite brews, both local, regional and national. I chose one of my go-to’s, 3 Floyd’s Gumballhead. When my turn came, the stylist took me back to the chair and we talked about what I wanted her to do. Since I’m not particularly a beard guy and Lori is most definitely not beard friendly, I told her it would have to be short and neat, basically stubble! Then I told her to just do whatever she wanted, figuring I’d probably shave it all off over the weekend anyway.

She went to work. After trimming my overgrown weed patch down to what she deemed was the perfect length for me, she reached up toward a dispenser on the wall, and to my pleasant surprise, lathered me up with hot shaving cream. I have not felt that sensation for 40+ years! If that wasn’t good enough, she then covered my face with a hot towel…oh man, I was in heaven! She pulled the towel, cleaned me up and applied a second hot towel. Then I was lathered again and out came the straight razor, followed by another hot towel, then a cold towel. I’ve never felt so pampered in my life! I loved every minute of it.

Lori gets manicures and pedicures all the time and I’m always hearing about foot massages and margaritas being served up and how enjoyable and relaxing it is. I never understood before, but now I get it…it is pretty freakin’ awesome! So am I shaving this weekend? Heck no! I’ve got to have a reason to go back, relive the good old days, and get pampered again!




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