Jeff The Stylist

So what are the plans for tonight?”, he asks me, wet­ting my hair in the wash­basin before work­ing the sham­poo into my scalp.

Nothing much. My flat­mate has a friend over from back home, so we’ll prob­a­bly head out lat­er. Maybe the Honest Lawyer.”

It was a com­plete lie. Trolley was telling me about being at the Lawyer the night before, so it was the first thing that came to mind. Kate’s here, sure enough, but there were no plans.

Even though we share the same name, we live in dif­fer­ent worlds. Jeff looks like he’s been carved out of mar­ble, shoul­ders exag­ger­at­ed­ly broad with a stiff­ened super­hero gait. His facial hair is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly gruff but hand­some, always trimmed in way that shows he takes care of his appear­ance. The styl­ist who always has some form of colour in his hair, whether it’s spikes or high­lights or chunks, and looks like he could pass for any­thing between 20 to 30.

Once, after walk­ing me over to the hydraulic chair, one of the slim­mer ones that are found in salons instead of bar­ber­shops, we start­ed to dis­cuss the lack of decent met­al bands from Canada. I told him that I was look­ing for more Breach Of Trust songs online (Jeff has the two first albums), which prompt­ed him to ask, “You have a com­put­er?”, with­out a sin­gle pause of the sheers.

The ques­tion left me dumb­found­ed. It took me a few moments to real­ize that not every­one has a com­put­er, my bias com­ing from the fact that my friends all have one, being a grad­u­ate of comp sci. Almost every­one I know is also in an eco­nom­ic class to be able to afford such a lux­u­ry, with a lifestyle to actu­al­ly have a use for one.

Last time, he told me about run­ning out of dis­pos­able dish­es, not own­ing more than a pair of plates he received as a tip once, and a tea stained mug, both of which have fall­en into desue­tude. “I’ve nev­er liked to do the dish­es”, he flat­ly stat­ed.

In a reac­tionary man­ner, I asked him, “You don’t have a dish­wash­er?”, regret­ting the words the moment they came out of my mouth. “Oh god no”, was his insou­ciant reply, as if he’d have no use for it, even if he had one. As soon as I asked, I real­ized the insen­si­tiv­i­ty of my ques­tion, that not every­one would want a dish­wash­er, as strange as it seemed at the time. I’m at a point where I’d have a hard time liv­ing with­out one now, and an even hard­er time bring­ing a girl home, cook­ing a meal, and serv­ing it to her on paper plates. A dish­wash­er has become a neces­si­ty for me, sim­ply based on lifestyle, much like a com­put­er. Sometimes it seems like I spend my life on my com­put­er, and Jeff’s a per­son who lives com­plete­ly with­out one. If I told him I did­n’t have a car, I’m sure he would find it just as strange.

It was a star­tling real­iza­tion. I don’t know many peo­ple with­out a col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty degree, with­out a long-term career or fam­i­ly plan. I don’t know any­one still liv­ing the bach­e­lor life, hap­py to go out every night, and eat off dis­pos­able dish­es. Jeff seems like a great guy, reserved until he feels out his clients, but friend­ly. I don’t know any­one like him, although I’m sure that there are many just like him.

And every time he cuts my hair, at the start of every appoint­ment dur­ing the rit­u­al wash­ing, he asks about my plans for the night. Usually I tell him the truth. Nothing. It’s a week­night, and I just worked a full day. That’s when he lets me know about his own plans, which gen­er­al­ly con­sist of going out and drink­ing in some form or anoth­er.

But that day, I lied. It was a Saturday, and who does­n’t have plans on a Saturday night? I only feel guilty about it now, after being able to under­stand where he’s com­ing from. It’s only fair that I’m as hon­est with him as he is with me.

Even if we do live two total­ly dif­fer­ent lives. Even if he may not under­stand.

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