Tom Sharpe: A Visit to the Barber

April 29, 2009

Today it is a humour story. Well, a sort of humour story because as you read it you may not guffaw like you do while reading a PGW story.

I found it in the book The Ultimate Humour Book (Chancellor Press, 1988) that I bought at a book fair. I have read this story three or four times.

A young man goes to a barber’s shop. He doesn’t really need a haircut but then he needs to buy something that was available only in hairdressing salons. After the haircut ritual (“Just a trim, please,”) he asks for what he wants but alas the barber says that the shop owner is a conservative person and doesn’t stock the said product.

The young man ambles into another barber’s shop and there too settling in the chair demands “just a trim”,  despite protestations from the hairstylist that it seemed that he had had a haircut only a while ago.

A chatter ensues, a chatter that barbers are given to make as they ply their comb and scissors. It is about what thoughts the customers might be having in their heads as he works on their hair.

What thoughts, peculiar thoughts (if you like), did the young man have?

Luckily this old story is available online:

(With thanks to T. S. Ganesh for suggesting a better link than the one I provided in an earlier version of this post)