Jul 1, 2010

Beirut barbershop experience

My favorite barbershop is in one of the busiest streets in Beirut. The shop itself is stuck in time. It’s like a scene from a 50’s movies. A pair of scissors, a comb, one seat, a small aquarium and that’s about it. You won’t see any modern decorations or fancy lighting. Hell, you won’t even see a hairdryer.

But I go there because each visit is an episode out of a sitcom.

Today’s episode guest starred an elderly man in his 70’s. During his 10 minute haircut, the elderly gentleman literally had 10 stories to share.

The first story, naturally, had to be the reason why he’s getting a haircut. It turned out that his daughter’s best friend is getting married. Obviously, he had to let us know that the wedding will cost $50,000 and it will take place at the Phoenicia Hotel.

It’s always the Phoenicia, isn’t it? It could have easily taken place at the Karantina dumpster and people would still say Phoenicia. But who’s questioning?

Then he had to inform us that the bride and groom had to borrow the money to pay for the wedding.

The sentence, of course, ended with ‘ki$ ikhton shu hibil’.

The he added “as you all know, the bride comes from money.”

None of us knew who the bride was but out of respect, we said “yes.”

From the extravagant wedding and the loser bride and groom, the elderly gentleman’s next story was the World Cup.

He didn’t care for the teams or the matches. He preferred to bitch about the post matches celebrations and noises in the streets of Beirut.

The sentence, of course, ended with ‘ki$ ikhton shu hibil’.

But what’s an old man without naming and shaming.

True to his age, the elderly man’s next story was to share the names of all the crooked Mukhtars in the neighborhood.

The sentence, of course, ended with ‘ki$ ikhton killon 7aramieh’

When someone at the shop asked him which Mukhtar he preferred. He gave us the name of what he thought was an honest man. Unsurprisingly, it was a member of his family.

Not to sound like the elderly gentleman, I will not mention the rest of the stories. But like I said, a visit to the barbershop in Lebanon is ‘filmed before a live studio audience’. And I was one of them.It is by far the best place to go when the power goes out and you need an hour or two to kill. 


Dani. said...

Ahh the Golden 50's..I often wish I lived in the era..

Wish I could experience this for myself..but the fact remains that I don't speak Arabic, and I am not a man..so I will have to live vicariously through your barbershop experience..

Wonderful post!

Arabianism said...

Dani, it's amazing. I could sit there, listen and laugh for hours. Lol

Glad you liked the pos :-)

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