When my hair began to fall out in the shower after my first bout of chemotherapy I took myself off to Met’s Hair Salon to get my head shaved. I thought it would be less distressing than having hair fall out in clumps over a period of several weeks. That’s when I met Metin, who’s from Gaziantep in south east Turkey. He bought the Stroud Green business eleven years ago from a Greek couple who were retiring. He’s assisted by Ali who is learning the trade.
Metin has been a barber for twenty years, first training in Turkey.
“I love my job,” he says with a smile. “I like the mixed community here in Stroud Green. You get educated with people’s different opinions and views.”
I ask him what he likes best about talking to people and he admitts he loves to discuss football. I’m glad he’s an Arsenal supporter, as am I!
I wonder whether he gets many women in the shop and he says he has quite a few female customers, partly because of the price and partly because he knows how to cut short hairstyles. “These days many women like short hair whereas the men are going for longer cuts,” says Metin.
To attract more customers, Metin wants to install a video screen in the window where he would play different demonstrations of his trade: cutting, hot towelling, shaving.
Met’s, which is open from 9 am till 7.30 pm six days a week, offers many services – from the usual short back and sides, colour, wet shave, and head and shoulder massage. As I spend a lot of time hunched over my computer I ask if he’d demonstrate a shoulder massage. Metin chooses a brush shaped like a fish to massage my shoulders which felt a lot more flexible after five minutes.
Since my first shave two years ago my hair has grown back but I keep it short and continue to go to Met’s.