A Snip of La dolce vita (Italy #3)

James cut my hair for over 30 years. He recently dared to retire without considering the disruption this might inflict on my life. When talking about his retirement, he did not seem to exhibit any of the anxiety of one entering a liminal space. Perhaps his constant smiles and laughter were camouflage?

Following the guidance of my friend Ross, I located a new barber, Steve, at Uomo Modern Barber: Victoria’s Italian Barbershop. Voted the best barbershop in Victoria by Canada’s Top Choice Awards, the website promised I would be able to “strut out with Italian swagger.” Why not? I will leave aside a shot of arrogance or aggression, but a boost in style might not hurt. 

One of those in-depth barbershop conversations revealed our upcoming trip to Italy. Since Steve married an Italian and has a mother-in-law in Rome, the natural question was: Which barbershop in Rome would you recommend?

I had him write it down since anything past Ciao gets lost in my hearing.

First full day in Rome, we shoehorn our way onto the Rome Metro and arrive within a half hour. Antica Barberia Peppino, by the Spanish Steps, maintains they are the “heritage barbershop of care and hairdressing for men in the heart of Rome .. keepers of a centuries-old tradition of high handicraft and professionalism.” This four-chair shop sits as “a point of reference for lawyers, journalists, entrepreneurs, nobles, politicians and institutional personalities, like princes and heads of State.” I must fit here somewhere!

Since we did not have an appointment, my enthusiasm has to age for 90 minutes.

Then it is ciao and Buongiorno all the way, English not required. The look of my hair, some pointing and reiteration of the words “can you fix it?” kindles the process.

Truthfully, I cannot remember all the steps. Still, I recall scissors, a lighter burning, a facial massage, some product massaged deeply into my hair and then bending over a sink to wash it out, a hot towel and a handheld massage device bumping over my scalp.

Surprisingly my wife still recognizes me when I levitate from the chair. Maybe this journey will not be so bad after all! It feels great right now!

After many smiles, thanks and the passing of the credit card, we are off, renewed.

Pen, paper and the curiosities of life entice me to spend a lot of time in my head, reflecting and wondering. The immersion in the body was different, bordering on pleasure. 

Perhaps heading into the next chapter, I will not only have to sit down and figure things out but also feel my way forward. The theological affirmation that we are one, constantly interactive entity, body, soul, and spirit, might actually be true.

Although, note to self: be careful, otherwise we might fall into La dolce vita!


  1. I love how you observe people and surroundings Keith. These essays on liminal time are both fun to read and make me ponder. I have felt so many of the emotions you talk about. Liminal times can feel like limbo there is a lot to feel unsettled about. Sometimes we want to run back to the way things were and other times will fill our time with over business just so we don’t have to feel lost. Patience to figure out the way forward is hard work.
    Your writing is always refreshing and thought provoking. Thank you.

  2. great haircut, Keith… and nice to see beautiful, calm, sensible Gaye. I’m sure she helped soothe the train to Venice mishap…

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