I was at my barber’s last yet. I just love being pampered and Antonio knows what he is doing. He is great at cutting and shaving, but what stick out the most is his presence and his touch. He is incredible. As a professional there is no sexual tension in the picture when he massages the face, skull and shoulders, arms and hands. This is included in the price for the haircut.
After the haircut, he needed a break, so he joined me for a coffee. I told him that I had done research when it comes to mental health and physical touch. To be touched can release or evoke emotions that we have suppressed or not been able to express.
He told me that it was common that the atmosphere could get a bit tense when he did his work. He had interpreted it as sexual tension and therefore backed off because he is very professional. I challenge him to not back off, but instead go with it and see what happens. Maybe the emotions he evokes needs to come out. This made him both interested and fascinated.
Now it’s been a year since we had that chat. Last week I was there for a haircut. He asked if we could have a coffee afterwards. He told me how what I had told him had changed him.
“I sometimes let my hand stay a little longer on someone shoulder or head when I see that something is happening. The customer gets teary or stressed out. I just tell them that it’s OK and to just let it flow.”
He proceeds to tell me about customer who has told him how the physical touch has helped them to get in touch with grief and unprocessed feelings. Something that there are not many venues or vents for in the Spanish macho society.
One story in particular had stayed with him. A customer’s eyes watered during shaving. Antonio sensed that something was happening so he just put his hand on the man’s shoulder and kept it there. The man’s tears flowed and Antonio told him to take deep breaths and just be in the moment. Antonio didn’t say a word, he was just present. Nothing else happened at that moment. One week later the man had returned to Antonio and told him that after the last visit, he drove up in the mountains and sat at a viewing point and just cried. Tears that he had longed for, but been unable to express after his brother’s suicide two years earlier.
The physical touch had evoked the grieving process that the man needed to go through.
The connection between our bodies and our crisis reactions is strong. It’s fascinating.
Have a brilliant day!