Even back then as a pre-teen, I didn’t need a Hubble telescope to confirm they were pretty sexy. It was before fitness classes, personal trainers and yoga. It was the 1970′s and women were a little roundier and sexier; kind of svelte versions of Robert Crumb’s fantasies except wearing Escada and whatever else was in vogue….
Eddie Delliardo. He had a great business as a hairdresser in the old and elegant Windsor Hotel on Peel Street in Montreal. It was always busy with the ladies and mostly well to do from Westmount and Town of Mount Royal.There was plenty action there.The place was smoking. Eddie was the son of post-war Italian immigrants and well, being a hairdresser kind of lacked prestige in the New World. Even back then, I could see that a good hairdresser could pocket a lot of money. You could understand the women were showering him all kinds of Mazuma and he appreciated it. Eddie was good looking and cutting hair was an art, a calling and not an occupation. He was Warren Beattyish without bedding the clientele. And he made women happy.They liked the authenticity, the talent and his affinity and understanding of them.Maybe he saved a few marriages. He was too modest to be a shameless self promoter, and not narcissistic enough to want to be a celebrity stylist. But who cares.
One day, he tells my mother he won’t be cutting hair anymore. He’s decided to return to studies. back to school. He received acceptance at McGill and he was going to undertake the study of law. My mother who was in the lower grade of grain that went there was almost paralyzed by a kniption.First she lost her hairdresser, but she always possessed a sharp eye for the money trail; a brilliant forensic accountant without diploma or certificate. “Why do you want to be a lawyer? You’re making so much damn money here, you lack nothing and you’re set for life; being a lawyer is not all it appears to be.” ” I want to be lawyer. I want to be a lawyer. I want to be a lawyer.” ” You just take your dough, and put it in those 18% savings bonds and you’re laughing,” she said.
This is beginning to sound like a nice guys finish last story.A man who needed a Leo “the lip” Durocher to give him a swift kick.Eddie goes to law school andmanages to pass the exams and obtain that degree. The proud mother, “my son the lawyer.” She can’t get enough of it. The proud wife, “my husband is a lawyer. Get it. L-A-W-Y-E-R. An attorney! -though getting him away from the clientele must have also registered.
Eddie now gets up and puts on a suit, a shirt, a tie, brogues, grabs a briefcase and goes to the office with his clean cut legal hair.He is now an Edward, at best an Edouard. No more Eddie who has been sentenced to eternal probate. He was too old to be scooped up as a hot shot by one of the big firms so he rented a humble office. That was one miserable guy. Doubly miserable because he’s barely making a living. For every Raphael Schacter who’s getting a woman off for cutting up her husband, storing him in a freezer and sending said freezer off to a dump, there are hundreds of mediocre chumps reduced to collecting from deadbeats, looking for ambulance chasers, and grabbing at straws in the legal aid system. But he was a lawyer. The whole idea of status and distinction almost killed the guy.Overpowering really. He was way out of his natural habitat. He was an artist with scissors and brush. The partly opened shirt, a bit of gold jewelry, the smile, the attentiveness, the kindness. He was a Prince.
The trail kind of dried up after a while. Speculation is that he recycled himself into a collection agency or found more paying work as a bailiff, but he seems to have drifted over to community based divorce and custody work. So much for the American dream, especially one that is not intrinsic to one’s nature.