After having convinced management to allow me to set up a barber station in the middle of the newly re-opened Bub City on Weed Street, I was ready to serve my first customer, a young man who had booked a deluxe beard trim.
The customer, a portly young man in his mid twenties, arrived five minutes late and was accompanied by his younger brother, a thin, blond-haired and gangly kid, who apologized for being late saying they couldn't find a place to park their car.
The man sat down in my barber chair, which was literally in the middle of the busy restaurant floor. His brother sat alone at a table just in back of my chair.
As I was describing the details of the service, I began to apply a jelly-like abrasive scrub from a plastic tube that I would smear on the back of the man's arms, his elbows, neck and face.
Realizing I had forgotten to put a cape over the man, I did so and began massaging the exfoliating gel on the man's face.
Saying how enjoyable the experience was, the man's brother leaned over and asked what it was I had put on his brother's face that smelled so nice.
I told him it was a mint and aloe vera scrub, then proceeded to squeeze a little from the tube onto the brother's hand who then smelled it and rubbed it into the palms of his hands.
After exfoliating the man and wiping away the gel and residue from his face, I was able to observe that he didn't have much of a beard at all and very little in the way of a mustache.
I asked the man what he wanted to do with his facial hair and he told me I could just shave the beard off completely but he wanted to grow a "Victorian" mustache, so I could just concentrate of getting that shaped appropriately.
While there was little more than stubble and a few wiry long hairs on his upper lip, I told the man that in order to grow any kind of mustache he would first have to let it grow out, and once it was grown out I would be able to trim and shape it into his desired form.
The man became somewhat agitated and insisted that I give him a "Victorian" mustache.
Just then, a young, attractive, slender, blond woman appeared who the man introduced as his sister.
The woman removed a sheet of paper from her handbag and began reading verbatim a detailed description of a "Victorian" mustache as the man nodded his head as if to say, "see, that's exactly the kind of mustache I desire."
When the woman finished reading the description, she turned the sheet of paper around so I could see both the text and the illustration of the mustache in question, which was full, burly and slightly curled at both ends.
I turned to the woman and told her while I appreciated her intervention and understood exactly what her brother desired, I insisted that in order to achieve this type of mustache, her brother would first have to grow out the mustache sufficiently in order to do so.
Becoming slightly belligerent, the woman said if I was a professional barber as I had claimed to be, I would be able to shape the mustache just as her brother had requested no matter how much hair he had or not.
Not seeming to understand what was required to achieve this kind of mustache, I explained again and again that the man needed to grow a mustache first, that it would take around six months or more before he had the adequate amount of growth to achieve what he wanted.
As there had been somewhat of a ruckus, a few of my co-workers, servers, busboys and several diners, had gathered around listening in in disbelief.
To drive my point home, I said one last time---in a dramatic and resonating voice---that in order for the man to have a "Victorian" mustache, "he must"...then I paused and nearly everyone in the room shouted out the end of my sentence: "GROW IT OUT."
The dining room burst into laughs and applause while the man threw off his cape and angrily walked out of the restaurant with his brother and sister following behind him.
Meanwhile, staff and diners came up to shake my hand and pat me on the back with congratulatory fervor.
Fearing the man would surely be off to submit a damning review of his experience, I decided to run out and chase after him to apologize for any misundertandings and tell him I would immediately refund his pre-paid service.
One of the busboys, an African-American wearing a black, Sikh-like turban stopped me and told me the man was long gone and it wouldn't be worth my trouble to talk to him and told me that in his opinion I shouldn't refund the man's money, that he enjoyed the service and the whole thing about the mustache was ridiculous and I shouldn't worry about it. He reminded me that I was fully booked and that I should probably get mbck to my station and prepare for my next customer.
Then I woke up.