First they took away his weekly ritual of backing the trailer in at Brighton-Le-Sands and spending four hours cutting hoops in the ocean underneath the Sydney flight path.

Back when Gladys introduced the simple stay-at-home orders in late June, 39-year-old Robbie Khattar thought his willingness to keep the jet ski in the garage for week or two was a noble concession – just until they got on top of the outbreak.

Then they banned shisha. That was a kick in the guts. But as Robbie pointed out at the time, he’d rather go a week or two without the unbridled hit of nicotine then end up in a Hoxton Park house party scenario.

“I could cop that” he says.

“Shisha isn’t exactly covidsafe”

But then they came for his weekly tune up at Moey’z Fadez Barbershop. That’s when the 2021 Sydey lockdown really sank in for Robbie.

He’s just one of many of the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese-Australians currently coming to terms with the devastating effects that the current social distancing restrictions in Sydney is having on his hairline.

With no official tickets, the local construction worker describes himself as a Jakeem-of-all-trades – which means he doesn’t work on the big jobs. This also means his odd gigs fixing gutters and digging holes are considered non-essential until the economy opens back up.

Robbie says with no work, no shisha, and no visits to the barber for over a fortnight – he’s also missing out on a lot of precious gossip about his local area – and it’s left a hole in community spirit that cannot be filled by WhatsApp group chats.

Like most unmarried Lebanese men his thirties, Robbie still lives at home with his mother. He says initially, he thought his current living arrangements would provide him with enough he-said-she-said to survive the extended lockdown.

However, it doesn’t matter how many of his mum’s friends visit to drop off non-essential Mafroukeh they’ve just cooked up, this young king of Auburn says he’s realising the pivotal role Moey’z Fadez plays in his weekly routine.

“Sweartagod mate, I’m nearly at the point of picking up a few of those tabloid magazines my mum reads about the English royal family”

“This lockdown has gone too far”

That’s on top of the fact that his hairstyle is starting to resemble a Lego character’s.

“I look like an early 2000s NRL player” he scowls while firing up his 18th charcoal barbecue in two weeks.

“Mate, look at this regrowth! This is some real Hindmarsh shit right here”



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