No barber in Seville

June 6, 2023

Photo credit: Carol Madigan

   I think these ridiculously narrow, old city Seville sidewalks are how tightrope walkers train. Yet our’s led directly to a barber shop. No, I’m not belaboring a cliché.  Carol had been “advocating” a haircut since we landed in Europe. But I was crafty enough to put it off by offering, “we’re going to Seville, wouldn’t it be appropriate to get it done there?” And then, wouldn’t you know it, there wasn’t a decent wicker-chaired café anywhere near us, but lo and behold, we passed a barber shop stuck in the middle of nowhere five minutes from the apartment. It was like turning a corner in Verona and suddenly seeing a Romeo and Juliette Bridal Shop or something.

Figaro was sold out today

   I generally have a six-year-old boy’s attitude about haircuts. I hate them. The confinement, the holding still, the bristly feeling of hair on my neck and the wondering where the comb had been last. But mostly it’s the threat of having to engage in idle chit-chat with the barber. (“So what are your plans for the rest of the day?” “Go home and scratch my neck like a cocker spaniel, I guess.”) But at least here in Seville I’d be able to avoid the idle chit-chat, thanks to the built-in language barrier.

   I even took the extra step of writing my request for a trim in Spanish on a piece of paper, a sure give away there’d be no blathering on about my plans for the rest of the day. But the moment I walked in I could tell from the body language I’d be getting no haircut. I showed him my note, and he was even more emphatic. There’d be no haircut from this barber in Seville. Not that he was the only barber in Seville (getting the idea I like writing that phrase?) mind you, but even Carol wasn’t in the mood for spending our last day in Seville on a barber crawl crying out “Figaro! Figaro! Fi-ga-ro!” on every street corner. (Y’all had to see that one coming.)

“It was like turning a corner in Verona and suddenly seeing a Romeo and Juliette Bridal Shop or something.”

   This was also our day planned for the city’s Feria de Abril, which draws about five million partiers for the week-long outdoor drinking fest. (The bad news here was that the official wine of the fest was a local Andalusian witches brew – Manzanilla – that tasted like you’d think WD-40 might if you found yourself out of wine and the only place that was open was a Pep Boys. It could only be drunk in quantity by being cut with Sprite.)

Everyone in Seville was dressed to the nines…
…And danced the night away

   The dress is quite formal, with suits for the men and boys and elaborate flamenco dresses for women and girls. Not sure how to get to the festival grounds by bus, we fell to a “follow the dresses” compass to get to the vibrant, jam-packed site. Most of the tents are for private parties only, but there were a couple of public access venues, where food and drink (such as it was) was moderately priced and the music and dancing free and sweaty.

People poured in all evening long

   Needless to say, a couple of hours of this human stampede was more than enough for me, and after the evening lights came up, Carol had seen enough as well. I was glad we attended, but once was more than sufficient. Like waiting until you arrive in Seville to get a haircut, for instance. 

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