By Harvey Tobkes

I wanted to look well groomed for my upcoming visit to my son in Cape Canaveral, so I called Guido’s Hair Styling Salon, located across from the Diplomat Mall and luckily the receptionist had an open appointment.

Barber pole

I gave Guido the standard greeting in Italian, “Como sta?” I sat down in his chair and I told him in plain English… after he finished his expert shearing, I wanted to look 10 years younger. He gave me his standard answer in broken English, “You a better go in da back, we gotta new plastic surgery department there; or you can lie aboud it, whichever makes you happy.”

Then we started to talk about things most men talk about… sex, what else? Guido told me he was having some erectile dysfunction and Viagra wasn’t helping much. He refers to his male member as “my friend,” and he said in Italian (to keep it confidential), “Il mio amico sta morendo” (my friend is dying). I asked him how he feels about that, and he thought for a couple of seconds and said, “Hey! Better him than me.”


If he’s in a real good mood he will even sing some light opera. Of course, Figaro, from the Barber of Seville is one of his favorites.

Let me tell you that Guido is self-educated, clever, witty, entertaining and a very talented guy. I always enjoy our conversation. He told me all about his birthplace, Torino, where the winter Olympics were held. Then he expounded on Italian history and how Hannibal crossed the Alps in 218 B.C., scaring hell out of the Romans by using elephants, similar to tanks we use in modern warfare.

Most barbers are a little sensitive about receiving specific hair-cutting instructions from a customer, and Franco is no exception, but I wasn’t going to be intimidated as the Romans were, so I told him I want him to do a very light trim. I thought I made it very clear by explaining if somebody were to notice my hair, I would not want them to think I got a haircut recently. I want them to think it was just naturally neat and well groomed.

So Guido pulled a face and in his best attempt at disguising his rich Italian accent (which I love) he said, “Ey! Tonight when you go home, you gonna tella yo wife how to cooka da pasta? She gonna do what she wants in da kitchen, so you betta keepa quiet and tell her itsa delishes.”

I got the message and after I stopped laughing, I responded trying to imitate a gravelly, Godfather accent, “Ey Franco, you cut too much hair you gonna sleep with the fishes.” He got the message and gave me a perfect cut. I was so pleased; I asked him if he could take a picture to be able to duplicate his fine styling for next time.

He mumbled something in Italian and it wasn’t, “Arrivederci.”

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