An Example of Barber Hairstyle Guide
I made my reoccuring trip to the barbershop not only to get my haircut but to also catch up with folks about what's going on in Minnesota's Somali community. The barbershop I normally go to is inside a Somali mall in Minneapolis.
Unfortunately, I was not able to engage anyone on topics other than haircut because a mother was demanding her son's hair recut leading to sprited debate.
The mother brought her 15 years old son to the barbershop to get a haircut. Typically mothers who bring their sons for a haircut remain in the shop during precession.
This mother chose not to stay. Instead she went shopping for the latest colorful rugs and carpets imported from the Middle East.
While she shopped in one side of the mall, the son picked a haircut style from the tyle guide blasted on the wall. Mother and son met at the mall exit ready to leave.
But the mother was shocked about the style the son picked. She marched him back to the shop and demanded hair recut at no additional expense.
The episode hijacked otherwise bustling atmosphere with stories about Minnesota's Somali community on topics other than haircut.
It created a scene where some folks in the barbershop started supporting the mother's demand for traditional buzz square cut while others supported the kid's choice of urban haircut. Mother's reason for conventional haircut was that the son was attending weekend school(Dugsi) and urban hairstyle can be a ground for expulsion.
It was interesting how her business suddently became everyone's business in the barbershop. Everyone chimed-in with an advice.
One men getting a haircut asked why the son's father not doing the haircut at home? She brilliantly sidestep that one and chose not to answer.
Initially, I was impatience with the episode because I wanted to hear reaction to recently distributed $300K grant by Youthprise in relation to fed's effort to thwart extremist groups overseas attempting to recruit Somali-American youth in Minnesota. Mother's demand for son's hair recut dominated conversation in the barbershop.
But I reflected more on the chance encounter on the drive home. It was a window into struggle of a strong mother wrestling to raise a teenage son who himself is caught in the middle of many pressures and cultural expectations.