Friday, September 5, 2014

Sixty years between shaves

Had a shave at a barbers the other day.  Well not really a barber as it was a young woman did the shaving.
The last time I had a shave in a barbers shop was close to sixty years ago. As a young man I worked at Adelaide House just on the north side London bridge, and if for a variety of reasons I had not spent the night at home,  then I would need a shave before going to work.
Whilst electric razors had been invented, I didn't have one so I needed to go to a barbers for a shave, this being in the days before "designer stubble".
Fortunately there was a barbers shop in the basement of Adelaide House in those days, and it may even still be there, so I was able to pop in and have a shave before going into the office.

A shave of course was not just a shave, there was the routine of the hot towels, then the lathering up, the first shave, more lathering and then the second shave.  The routine finished up with another hot towel followed by a cold one and then astringent aftershave.

Going in to the office smelling of cologne, told everyone that I had had a barbers shave so they wanted to know where I had spent the night.

The shave the other day was pretty much the same routine as it had been all those years ago, apart from the young lady doing the barbering and the dentist type chair that they used. I felt that I was being prepared for a Sweeney Todd routine I was tilted so far back.  At Adelaide House there was no need to tilt the customer back all that far, as the barber was tall enough to do a shave just by lowering the chair a little and then a tilt.

And the hot towels didn't seem to be as hot as they used to be.  These days they are microwaved, whereas in the past a towel was put in the hand basin and boiling water was poured over from a kettle, then virtually straight on the face.

Still it was all as pleasant as it used to be.  One difference at the end though, the barber didn't ask "Will you need anything for the weekend sir ?" as they always used to.