I've always viewed the process of getting one's hair cut as a sort of an ordeal. You go to the barber's, you wait for your turn and then you sit in the chair, quite calm and relaxed. Then you tell the guy what you want done, still calm. It's after the guy brings the comb and scissors to your head that you realise you can't stay calm. He pulls your hair, scratches your head violently with the comb, cuts you (accidentally, of course)... Then he brings the blade. To cut hair too short to cut with scissors, you think, till you feel the blood trickling down the back of your neck. You can't scream. You can't even wince. You show the slightest hint of feeling pain, you lose your manhood. The big, bearded, biker-like barber will look at you as a different person. You become, in his eyes, a wimp. You don't want that. It wouldn't really matter what he thinks of you, if it weren't for his interest in entertaining customers with tales of his great hairy adventures, and those customers weren't nagging neighbours.
I went through the ordeal this morning, complete with cuts on my neck. I've been going to the same barber for nearly all my life, so I seem to have gotten used to it. What happened after the haircut surprised me. The barber asked me if I wanted an "oil massage". My only thought was to ask "How much?", and since the reply to that question was quite satisfactory, I asked him to go ahead. And boy did I regret it.
He started off by pouring this foul-smelling liquid on my head. It felt a bit cool. Kind of nice, actually. And then, I thought my hair was on fire. And I thought I was right when the guy started hitting my noggin. A look at the mirror proved me wrong. He was slapping, punching, hammering, and chopping my head, with a vicious smile on his face (or maybe it was the joke on the radio that made him smile). My brain seemed to have dislodged at some point during his gleeful banging, and I felt dumber with every blow. He stopped, poured more oil, and started again. This went on for at least fifteen minutes, with three more handfuls of oil being poured on the now unidentifiable head. Then he went for my neck. I don't know how, but he twisted it in directions I've never been able to twist it before. I'm not even going to think about what he did to my back.
When it was over, my left eye didn't seem to be seeing things (the oil went in), and I was leaving a trail of smelly oil as I walked back home, hoping no one drops a cigarette butt or burning ember on it.