Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday commute xvii: tonsorial maintenance

In the country, it might take your breath away to know that appointments for a haircut are unheard-of, and that feudal modes of social management result in every male's convergence in the back room of the local diner on Saturday for the requisite eliminations. It all looks very Guantánamo, and indeed it mercifully is just as simple. 

Back in the 30s, our county had a chair for this, but it had to be sold for kerosene one winter and we've been improvising the necessary submission, ever since. Any momentary indignity or discomfort, we find, is more than offset by abasement's reinforcement of traditional values.

So many people misconstrue the ancient bond between barbering and statecraft, on the assumption that it boils down to an enforcement of style, that we're happy to digress in this Saturday's commute to sort this out. Did Almaviva once instruct Figaro in how to make his vassals look? On the contrary. Figaro's job was merely to sustain the droit du seigneur, even with Susannah. We're happy to say, it didn't come to that.

Caron de Beaumarchais
La folle journée ou
  le mariage de Figaro
John Wood, translation
Penguin, 1964©

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