Bars! Back in The Days When I Was Angsty and Poetic

Soooo all over the interwebs it’s throwback thursday. In the spirit of this weekly holiday I’ve decided to go back to the archives of a young Raki, back when I used to spit bars. Sort of. Not really. I just used to write a lot. Writing has always been the best way for me to express myself and it’s usually the most honest version and most vulnerable side of me that I can show. After digging around a bit I found my folder of poems. The one below was written many moons ago. My son could only have been a few months old if that. This poem gives you big peek into what I was going through, from discovery to delivery.

FLUSH

Remembering that night,
Tossing and turning,
Thoughts were churning,
Something just ain’t right.
Felt a little uneasy,
Stomach feeling kind of queasy.

Yeah I remember that night,
Called you up,
Said what the *bleep*
Did your dumb a**
Bust a n**t?
Then Flush.

Now I remember that day.
Just as clear as water is blue.
1 line means you’re not
Another line means you’re through.
I saw two.
Then Flush went the E.P.T.
And all my hopes and dreams.
My pride was pushed aside.
That second line,
Had changed my life.

Tumbling,
Stumbling,
Humbly,
I came to you.
Had no one to turn to.
If I had only known,
You were a wolf
But sheep’s clothing you owned.
I cried out my soul,
But your eyes were so cold.
And
Slowly I began
To feel the crush
Then Flush
Went my sold support
You wanted to abort
Mistakes were made
Now the price has been paid
And then came that day…
All those months I’d spent crying
Emotionally dying,
My shame the whole world could see,
My protruding proud pregnant belly.

In the morning,
So early it was dark,
At the door to my womb
I felt a knock,
Then another
And another
3-4 minutes apart
This is the start of the end.
It is finished.
It begins.

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The Z Stands Alone: In other words, Raki is Single

The cheese stands alone

I stand Alone With You Cheese

“Hi-Ho the derry’o the Z stands alone.” (fyi, my last name starts with a Z)

I’m single. Hard to believe especially when according to my uncle I have ALL the qualities one would look for in a GF or wife namely that I can sew and I know how to bake really great zucchini muffins. So why am I unattached? I’ve pondered this a few times and I have some possible answers.

1. I was born this way.

2. God needs me single right now.

3. I don’t feel like shaving, flirting, doing my hair, or talking on the phone.

Okay number 2 may be closer to the truth than number 3 but number one hits very close to home. I’m not a relationship person, and I usually suck at being a girlfriend. I can’t tell you how my times my past boyfriends would bemoan me not “checking up” on them. Guys need to be “checked up” on apparently, and here I thought dudes didn’t like clingy girls. I understand this though. Everybody wants to know someone is thinking about them, and checking in on your significant other is a part of that. My level of nonchalance hath driven many a suitor up the wall. I can’t even blame it on having been a mom since I was 18 because even in high school I sort of had the same disposition of not really caring about being in a relationship.

Let’s go deeper. I didn’t have really good examples of great relationships when I was growing up. I come from a single parent home. My mom was/is super self sufficient and my dad was/is in another country. To me, my dad was a heavily accented crackling voice on the other end of a really bad telephone connection. This might have something to do with my ideal relationship being one where my husband, or I travel A LOT, separately, and some how journal our marriage in a leather bound diary only to come together spontaneously throughout the year at exotic spots around the globe.

“Darling, I’ve missed you. How goes your excavation in Luxor?”

“Raki, dear it’s been amazing! We’ve uncovered an entire city dating back to the 12th dynasty.”

“Darling, that’s astounding. Come here and join me on the veranda. Paris is so beautiful at night.”

“I know, you’ve always loved Paris especially after it rains. How was your show last night dear? I hope the press wasn’t much of a headache”

“It was beautiful. I will have to show you pictures of the collection. But, Let’s not talk about work now. We both have early flights to catch in the morning. I saved this bottle of cabernet sauvignon for us, tonight.”

Pardon my daydreaming. But that’s what I’d really like. I don’t really want to see my significant other all the time.

This past year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to really observe relationships more in depth. I have been self employed for a very long time, so my recent foray into the workplace has afforded me the opportunity to spectate the relationships of others. Within my office as well as within my circle of friends there’s this virus of matrimony going around. I mean EVERYBODY is getting married. Apparently my MMR shot stood for “Matri-Mony Repellant” because I have not come close to being infected. (that’s not exactly true, a lot of guys have wanted to marry me, but that’s another story) The thing is, I’m excited for my co-workers and friends. I believe in their love, but I don’t envy their relationships. What’s wrong with me y’all? I’m so happy about other people getting married, it’s weird. But I really really have no inclination at all to try to shore up that same set up for myself.

I feel bad, not for me, but for my mom. She wants a wedding. I know she does and I really wish I could give her one. Like, I really would love for my mom to be able to plan my wedding because it’s a dream of hers. I’ve never EVER voluntarily dreamed about planning a wedding, except when I had to for a class project.

“So what’s wrong with you?” I had this guy ask me that, well I’ve had a few people ask me that, but this time in particular was after having a really great conversation with a stranger who happened to be extremely handsome. I was at the library, trying to study while using my arm as a pillow and book as a night shade when this guy walked up to me and called me out on the futility of my posture and purpose. We ended up have a really great conversation that ended with him asking me…”So what’s wrong with you?” “You seem cool, but what’s wrong with you?” He was perplexed as to why I was single. I started stuttering because I really didn’t have a concrete answer.

Remember reason number 2 that I gave as to why I’m single…’Maybe God needs me single right now’.

1 CORINTHIANS 7:34 34 There is[a] a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.

(in other words: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” lol just joking)

I have a lot to do, I have a lot on my plate, and I have a lot of healing that needs to take place on the inside. This verse is not a cop out, it speaks to me. I feel like, in this season of my life God is calling me to be more focused on his purpose over my life. To do that I need to minimize my distractions. I think marriage is a beautiful thing between a man and a woman, but I also know that being single serves it’s purpose as well. There are a lot of cracks in my foundation that can’t be healed by a Superman swooping in to save the day. I don’t condone broken people jumping into relationships. I’m a broken person, I need melding, not super glue.

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Single on Sunday

Grooveshark has got me caught in a Mary J. Blige vortex and I’m reminiscing about past hurtful relationships that I never actually had.

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Be Angry and Sin Not!!!

I don’t even know how to start this post, I’m so angry and so hurt.  The discontent that started nagging me sometime ago has built up and spilled over into a boiling fury that at this moment can only be temporarily relieved through writing.

We, meaning black people need to WAKE UP, WAKE THE HECK UP and stop making excuses, stop trying to clean the house right before company comes, when the truth is, our collective house, that is our community has become filthy, dilapidated, and rife with vermin.  We are in a crisis, but trying so hard to blame everybody else for the crap that we’ve let fester in our own home.  On friday morning at around 7am I got a call from my mom, distraught and choking on tears asking me “Did I hear…”, how many times have we gotten the “Did you hear..” call? The doom call to tell us that something horrible has just intimately intersected our lives? This time it was that my little cousin had been shot and was in critical condition.  I went straight to my closet and got on my face and screamed to My Father, let me tell you this , my mom called me to tell me the news, yes, but she also called me because she knew what I would do and that was to take this crisis immediately to My Father. I screamed and pleaded for my cousin, interceding on his behalf to the only power that can help.  I didn’t call Obama, Eric Holder, Jessie Jackson, or Al Sharpton. I called Christ and he answered. Anger had not set in just yet. After putting the call out to my church to form a prayer circle, I went to the hospital.  All the while I was receiving updates from my aunts about my cousin’s condition and the events surrounding his being shot.  I got to the hospital and met my cousin, my little cousin’s mom. I had arrived the same time that the chaplain had arrived. Straight up, I know this might sound messed up, but the chaplain was  THE LAST PERSON I wanted to see. He was there for support though, and we all prayed for my cousin. When we were finally able to go in to see him, I looked at him on the bed and my heart broke. I had babysat this kid before, and now at 22 he’s here holding on to his life. and FOR WHAT?!!! FOR WHAT!!!! because some piece of trash decided to be a coward!! My cousin had just been doing his job, working security at a club when things got out of control and this person needed to be escorted out. And what does he do?, instead of just scooping up his manhood and going home he takes his gun and shatters a life. Because why? Because some one told him NO? because his ego was bruised???Why!  I don’t know the exact answer but I have enough insight to draw certain conclusions.  But guess what though I don’t see protests for this, unfortunately it’s happening so often that it’s commonplace in our community.  Black men kiling black men.  It’s the invisible terrorism that we don’t want to acknowledge.  We want to align ourselves as “brother” and “sisters” I’m sorry you can count me out of that all are welcomed fraternity/sorority, I am not going to affirm this mess.  These are terrorists, these are degenerates right here in our own back yards, shooting, killing, drugging, raping, brainwashing, and all other manner of wickedness yet we can be so quick to vilify anybody else that’s not our complexion who we perceive as having disenfranchised us from the American Dream, but can’t look at what we ourselves have allowed to flourish right under our noses. Black men have lost their way, they’ve lost their purpose, they’ve lost their dignity, and their sense of authority, and responsibility to the youth, to their peers, and to themselves. And please, DO NOT get into your feelings, this is not a male bashing session, we women are very much a part of the problem as well because of our own devaluing of ourselves and lowering of our standards, we’ve accepted and allowed too much. There is much to be said about a people lacking leadership and leaders. In many ways we’ve stripped men of their natural roles as leaders and have affirmed their passivity. We lift up things that mean nothing. Materialism and hedonism reigns. We glorify it. We’ve glorified misogyny. I go to work every day and have to listen to the most disgusting, filthy and disrespectful things coming out of the mouths of people that we have happily placed as figure heads of our people. Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and list goes on. Vomiting through the airways ideals that become implanted into the psyche and manifest themselves through debauchery and senselessness. We have a problem here, It needs to be fixed. Black people, we need to get it together, and FYI our getting it together does not mean tearing down other races. Stop it. We need to stop covering up for this garbage that has infiltrated our community. Yes I am angry, I’m frustrated. I am a mother and I deal with these frustrations daily, but I’m also not raising my son to believe that his future is dictated by another person. “They won’t let me…” is not an option for failure. NO ONE has the power over his future but God, and himself. Because it is God who gave him his purpose in life to begin with. I’m not raising him to believe “We used to be slaves.” I NEVER EVER EVER  heard my grandma or grandpa say no stupid mess like that. Our forefathers who were enslaved had more dignity in their little finger than what we collectively have today. They worked hard to cut a path for us! Who the heck are we to lessen those accomplishments by perceiving ourselves to still be in bondage to someone else!??? The funny thing is the younger the generation, the more they hearken back to the past trying to use past injustices (that they’ve never suffered) as a crutch to excuse their own lack of motivation, as if somebody owes them something. Nobody Owes You Anything! Get over it, work hard and GET IT FOR YOURSELF. When are we going to stop this trend. We’re raising brats with a twisted view of self and men with an atrophied perception of manhood. It’s time to grow the heck up. We are at war within our own neighborhoods and it just so happens that the enemy looks like us.  We can’t keep making excuses for this mess. Yo, I’m DONE!  Our ancestors did not fight for this mess, they didn’t fight for us to be so hateful of our fellow man. Everybody is so quick to talk about the way we’re presented in the public and “We need to put out better imagery to change public perception” Yo I can do a photoshoot, any body can do a photoshoot, heck Terry Richardson is a great photographer but he’s still a pervert so what are we saying? That’s all we care about is “public perception”, what’s on the surface, but what about the inside? Huh? What about that? We have reality and network shows that make millions off of showing us as buffoons, backbiters, gold diggers, glorified whores, and the list goes on, and we laugh right along with it, we sing right along with the Pied Piper and shmoney dance right over a cliff. I listen to these rappers talking about how many women they’ve slept with, how much drugs they use, how many cars they have, how can’t nobody tell them NOTHIN’, then we wonder how a person can go to a club, hyped up on his own ego, fueled by a volatile atmosphere, with no training in restraint, and what it means to be a real man, how this person can turn around and shoot someone in cold blood. I hate the state that we’re in. It sickens me. I’m sick of it and trust and believe just because you can look in the mirror and say, oh well that’s not me, I’m not out here doing that, don’t think for a minute that your silence isn’t resounding. It’s exactly that look the other way attitude that has gotten us to where we are today as a society.

In the Bible, Queen Esther was charged with the responsibility of warning the King about the impending threat to the lives of her people. She had been divinely and strategically placed for “such a time as this” but she had to accept the responsibility thrust upon her. She had the choice to either act or stay silent, but check this out:

Esther 4:13-14

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

She could have stayed silent but that didn’t mean she was going to be safe, and that also didn’t mean that help would not come anyway. She had been given the honor to be the instrument of change. How much more so are we charged to save our own community?

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Dude Where’s My Blog and Part 1 of “The Raki Story”

What happened to my blog? This venture was supposed to be a fun journey where we traipsed and you tripped along with me down the road to mature adult hood and coming of age adolescence. Instead this became a prodigal sojourn where for the most part I left you the readers in the dark. I apologize for my somewhat stilted and formal writing style, I’ve been looking at Jane Eyre movies this entire week end and the narration of the book-to movie film has impacted my thinking so much that I fear Charlotte Bronte herself has possessed my writing. I’ll try to loosen up.

I realize now that when I started this blog I thought my life would remain pretty much consistent for at least 3 years or so. I thought that I’d be writing mostly anecdotal stories of lessons learned and funny glimpses into the lives of my son and I. Well that was true for at least the first few months after starting 30 and 11, now at 33 and 14. I must admit that the past year and a half has been the darkest and most trying time in my life. I’ve hinted at this in past posts and told you guys that I’d tell the story: I think now would be a good time to get it out. It’s pretty long and involved so I’ll have to break it up into a few parts. So let’s call part 1:

 

EXODUS: Escape from the District

The dictionary defines exodus as: a mass departure of people, especially emigrants. For our purposes let’s define Exodus as : an immediate need to jet, bounce, depart, etc from one locale to another. My flight from the DMV was prompted by a ever growing sense of unease, discontent, and the fact that the relationship with my son’s dad had descended to new lows of volatile proportions that could only be remedied through a curtailing of physical access. And straight up, my move was also in large part due to, as the ever so stern faced mustached Jimmy McMillan would say, “The rent was just too dang high!”. Shooo, I was living in Arlington, VA, in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom loft literally stitching my rent together piece by piece every month. We was hungry. So I made the decision to move to the promised land of North Carolina where my mom had promised us “2 hots and a cot”, military jargon for hot meals and beds to sleep in while I figured myself out. It wasn’t a bad deal except that, where she lives is in the middle of nowhere and that as SOOON as I told the dad about it, he went to WERK! And when I say he went to work, I would have never thought the Arlington County Court could process the amount of accusations that this dude leveled at me so quickly. I mean within a week I had subpoenas taped to my door. I won’t go into the details, because this is my story. My goal isn’t to rip on my kid’s dad regardless of the insanity that ensued from the moment I tried to level with him on why I had to make this move. I really want to give you guys a good understanding of what the summer of 2012 was like. Suffice to say that by hook and crook I got out of Northern Va, literally under the cover of darkness and found myself in the middle of COWVILLE USA, with no idea what to do next. I had the cops on my back saying that I’d kidnapped my own kid (who lives with me…) and to add to that, my first HUGE invoice for over 20,000 bracelets. It was the best of times and the worst of times. So, while I was in an out of court, I was also trying to put together a labor force to fill one of the largest orders I’d ever had in my life. Go figure. Plus my kid’s dad was getting married, BOOM! How’s that for when it rains it pours. I need to make clear that we had not been in any kind of romantic relationship for years so those feelings weren’t there, but there was A LOT of vitriol and it was suffocating me, and had been for years. So to be honest I thought that his getting married would release some of that tension, you know, focus his efforts elsewhere. I. Was. WRONG. WRONG. WRONGWRONGWRONG! Any who, so life was changing at an alarming rate, I couldn’t tell you guys about all of this stuff because like I said earlier, 30 and 11 was supposed to be a fun journey, not a perilous flight.

Cliff hangers suck, but unfortunately I have to end here. Come back for Part 2 I promise you it’ll be worth it, but don’t take my word for it (insert LeVar Burton, eye twinkle).

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Punishment side effects

It’s amazing the effect that punishment has on bedtime.

FACT: A child on punishment will voluntarily put himself to bed before 8:00pm

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Man Child

 

man_child_blog

The Man Child slept. Haphazardly strewn on sheets askew and pillows too soft. It was the sleep of adolescence, carefree and untainted. But just beyond the window pane a light flickered, and then it happened. Not all at once, but slowly it crept in sweeping past the old lamp post on Browery St. The still balmy summer night heralding it’s coming like a light house in  fog beaconing an ocean liner. The thin reedy songs of the cicadas were hushed as it rolled in leaving in it’s wake the sweet scent of honey suckle and lavender, with touches of apprehension mixed with fear and mystery…

 

photography credit: moi

short story: moi too

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Darndest Things…

This sweet child of mine had the audacity to form his lips to ask me:

Ha, Mom can you believe you’ve been living on this earth for 32years?? IF THAT WERE MILK YOU’D BE SPOILED!!!

 

 

Whatever dude. What. Ev.Er

The most selfless time you can spend with your parent is helping them buy, then teaching them how to use their first smartphone.

LESSONS LEARNED:

1. Babyboomers want to read the manual at all costs.

2. My real purpose in life is to be a line of defense between my mom and those Best Buy workers.

3. PATIENCE

4. Passwords, Usernames, and Security Questions are real progress bandits. They are pitfalls that suck in your parents and make them begin to “MULL”…and when mulling ensues you know the next 5-15 minutes are a wrap.

5. SLOW DOWN. I think the biggest lesson I learned while helping my mom buy her phone and learn how to use it this weekend was appreciating the need to slow down. It’s different than being patient. Patience can sometimes mean just suffering through something with a polite smile or at the least, humoring a situation with finite placidity. I definitely had to employ patience this weekend, but in slowing down I was able to just really enjoy spending time with my mom as well as understanding that yeah, sometimes I should read the manual, question the sales people, read the packaging, save the packaging…the twisty ties…the little baggies, use scissors instead of teeth and nails when opening things etc. Slowing down really helps me appreciate the moment.

 

This I Believe

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The Virginia Bama Tells a Story

Raki wasn’t always cool. I speak of myself in third person to show how far I’ve come. But lest I forget, the following will always bring me back to earth. A few weeks ago I found a cassette tape of a 13 year old me telling a story that I’d made up. I had just moved from southern Virginia to the DC metro area and had not yet begun the arduous task of eradicating my accent. Listen and be amused.

http://theoriginaldavid.com/Shakiras_Story.mov

(if the link audio doesn’t work try the direct link HERE it takes a second to load, but sit tight…it’s worth the wait)

Are you done laughing yet? This tape surfaced right on time, and turned into an afterschool special. Dave is growing up and as much as I appreciate his eccentricities, being a teenager in a society that is telling kids to grow up too quick and act too cool way too soon, makes it difficult to instill in him to just be cool with who he is (everybody else can kick rocks). I get frustrated with some of his insecurities mostly because I’ve been in his shoes and understand what he’s going through. Telling your kids that you “get it” works sometimes but this tape gave Dave a real life peek at me at his age. I was awkward, friendless, the new kid, totally out of place and telling stories in the closet to amuse myself. Of course when I let him listen to it he laughed a lot, critiqued everything, then wanted to hear it again. Thankless but worth it🙂

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My Grandma: Whoopins and Apple Pie

Grandma

You see those forearms and powerful hands in that picture? They have wielded cast iron pans, switches, and have snatched a head of my hair with equal force and accuracy. Today would be my grandma’s 90th birthday. I miss her dearly. My grandma was the only person I’ve ever verbally acknowledged as “Ma” she raised me. She was a woman of steel, with old school values that while I was growing up I couldn’t appreciate and thought were prudish and restrictive. My grandma was not the kind of person that one would call “warm” or doting, she had a steel resolve, she worked tirelessly. I can remember nights seeing her come home after cleaning the houses of Jewish people. She did what she had to do to be sufficient. She was as hard on me as if she was the one who had bore me. Our relationship was more than I can put into words. She made me polish silver, she taught me how to make apple pies, she taught me how to do nurse corners on the bed, she made me go to school dressed as a “music teacher” for career day when I wanted to be a gum shoe (neither can be easily depicted in costume). She taught me how to make a mean bowl of Cream of Wheat and how to fit more than three pancakes in the pan at once. She taught me how to work with my hands. I often look at my hands, and see hers. They’re not soft and dainty, they’re rough with memories of callouses and wrinkles that gather around too large knuckles, but they remind me so much of grandma. I was laughing the other day with my coworkers as I shared memories of how my grandma would make us sharpen our pencils with knives (good in a pinch, but only if you want a square lead). She had a knack for making due with whatever she found around the house…see below illustration

Grandma Taught Me

When my grandma passed away. I was by her bedside and as soon as she left this earth i left the hospital and drove 4 hours to get back home. I had made that trip twice in less than 24 hours. On My first trip we thought she’d had a turn for the better but within hours of me making it back to northern virginia from the hampton roads area, the news was dire. The drive was eerie because I felt in my heart that my grandma was going to be leaving soon. Those hours were very lonely, my son was asleep in the backseat, I actually saw a pack of cougars on the side of the road. I couldn’t process that even as my eyes told me what I was seeing my mind wouldn’t believe. When I got back to my grandmas bedside I was able to be alone with her.  I held her hand. I told her things. i told her everything that i’d done that she wouldn’t be proud of. i didn’t tell her about any accomplishments. I told her how much i had messed up my life, and strayed away from the person she had raised me to be. I needed to let her know. I whispered things directly into her ear so that she would know that I loved her and all that she had taught me. I honestly can’t wait to see her again. It’s an assured knowledge that I have deep inside that I will see her soon and for me, that day couldn’t come soon enough. Miss you Ma.

 

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Nike’s are for Action, Toms are for protests

My son is the most Toms loving boy ever! I TRIED to force some Jordans, Lebrons, KDs even Roshe’s on him and he was NOT having it. He only wants his pseudo ninja shoes. I have nothing against Tom’s but they have about as much traction as the inside of an Oreo Cookie. Actually the soles of them look like Oreo cookie cream topped by fabric wrapped feet. Anyway they’re cheap so who am I to complain?

tom t tom tom tommmms

 

Nike’s are for …

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The Single Mom and The Barbershop

Anxiety is me taking my son to the barbershop. I wonder if other single moms have this fear. Thankfully we are heading into the years where I can just drop him off with $20 bucks and wait in the car. Unfortunately though since we’ve moved the quest for a new barber has started again which means, I have to accompany him into these establishments. Going into the barbershop as a single mother is NERVE RACKING! First of all I have no clue what to tell the barber to do to this kids head. I think “fade” pretty is my only go to request.  I never know how to dress because I dont’ want to look busted and I don’t want any undue attentions by all those sharply tapered men. It’s not vanity, trust me. I don’t think I’m too bad on the eyes, but in truth it’s all of my insecurities about myself coupled with being in a place that I feel like is the commercial equivalent of a “man cave” that all come to play in this issue.

I feel like i’ve sauntered right past a “no girls allowed” sign and stepped into this place using my son as the ticket behind the veil. I don’t kid myself that barbers and their clients are talking about respectable men interests like mulch, sports, and BBQ. I feel like there are tongue in cheek tales of rowdy adventures abruptly halted and hanging in the air only to be concluded as soon as I leave. This could be a figment of an my very over active and literary imagination, but only in part. I truly feel that the barbershop is the man’s place. I also wish I’d had the forethought to make this a stipulation of our custody order that his father must be the one to take him to the barbershop. I think it’s a great father/son experience.

Mom’s in the shop cannot be avoided, but I really see the experience of getting a haircut and the entire atmosphere  of the barbershop as kind of a rite of passage. Some barbers can be great mentors and  it’s a place where boys become men.

You see, that’s exactly what i’m talking about!

 

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