Thursday, July 03, 2008

Our earthly micro-pleasures

Getting your hair cut is a highly stressful experience which generally lacks any semblance of fun. For real men like me who are prone to visiting real barbers' establishments, and therefore don't have the luxury of an appointment, it invariably involves an agonising wait for your turn during which you're forced to leaf through a copy of whichever fascist rag is going spare from the awful selection of daily newspapers these places buy. Then there's the agonising process of being called up to the chair, where you're faced with a massive mirror, tied up in the big cloak thing, and then have to muster the words to put your order in. This all makes for a 99.7% torturous haircut experience. Awful scenes.

Earlier today, however, I was reminded of the micro-pleasure that comes at the end of every haircut and serves to make the whole episode worthwhile. The fleeting yet insanely pleasurable sensation that came when my barber Chris, 37, of unknown parentage, used the little electric razor to tidy up the back of my neck and remove the stray hairs was quite, quite incredible. His faintly ticklish and immensely satisfying vertical and horizontal navigation of the necktal region almost left me gasping with gay abandon. If I believed such things were possible, I could've literally died and gone to heaven.

This is a fine example of the type of micro-pleasure that sometimes crops up in life to provide momentary relief from the humdrum suffocation of everyday experience. It's extremely rare that a micro-pleasure is actually designed to provide pleasure, and nor will it make any great contribution to the plot of your day, but without them we would be at a great loss. The other micro-pleasures which almost, almost make my existence worthwhile include:
  • breaking the top layer of biscuit clean from a Bourbon Cream before scraping the cream into the mouth with my teeth;
  • filling the Padmobile up with petrol and manipulating the handle of the nozzle so expertly that the price on the display comes to a precise pound, e.g. £20.00;
  • cleaning my ears with cotton buds ('Warning: Do NOT insert into your ear canal') following a lengthy head cold, and having to use half the pack;
  • waking up to find I've been sleeping on one side for too long, and then rolling onto the other side and feeling all the weight shift across my torso. Heaven, just heaven;
  • wrapping home-made sandwiches extremely tidily and tightly in fresh cling film (very difficult);
  • employing a surprise Facegrab™ on yet another unsuspecting victim. For those who are uninitiated and unaware of what a Facegrab is, (a) "get a life!" and (b) learn here.


Anonymous Top Boy (and that) said...

I understand your barberphobia as I literally hate those quarterly excursions to get a haircut. I consider myself to be a man of the world, able to empathise with all sorts, but I turn into a gibbering wreck when I cross the threshold into a barber shop. Why do they always have to baffle me with numbers and questions? Awful people.

However, last time the dreaded chop was due, I went to a proper haircutorium (appointment booked by "her indoors") and I'm afraid to say that I can't go back. To have my hair washed, fondled and blow-dried (waheeeeeeey Top Boys) by Gay Barry (as he wishes to be addressed) was literally heaven on earth. Never again shall I go back to barber shops that are full of rough Boltonians that look like they're halfway through a stretch on Community Service.

As for your pleasure thing, how about when you wake up with a numb arm because you have slept on it all night? I find such pleasure in having to move my numb arm around with my good arm. Astounding scenes.

PS You needed your hair cutting so well done for finally getting it sorted.

PPS Does this recent visit to the barbers mean that you won't be spending half of our next darts evening messing about with your hair in the City Arms wall mirror?

July 04, 2008 2:41 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

The numb arm thing isn't pleasurable at all. Despite all my previous experience of the numbness rectifying itself after a few minutes, every time it happens I'm still plagued with the overwhelming fear that I'm never going to get the feeling back. It'll be paralysed for life, and people will call me Paddy 'single arm' Dillon, and I'll never throw a dart again. Horrendous scenes.

Do these proper haircutoria (plural) still have copies of Nuts in the waiting area, or is it an altogether higher class of literature?

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