I have never liked getting a haircut. I always put it off until my hair is too long. I have never had a regular barber since I was about 20. In the last 36 years I have probably had my hair cut at more than 100 different shops. I have had hairs cuts at the Salt Lake City airport, the Detroit airport, in Honolulu, Palm Desert, Salt Lake and other cities. Sometimes when I am driving down the road, I will see a place and stop in to get a hair cut. It seems to me that there are three basic types of places to get a haircut.
There are national or regional chains like Supercuts, Haircuts Plus and others of that ilk. These places are fast and relatively inexpensive but I don’t like them. Even though from time to time I get my haircut at these shops, I just don’t like them. They are not really barber shops. They are assembly lines. Each hair cutter uses the same technique. They want to know what your phone number is. Why do I have to give my hair cutter my phone number? Sometimes, I ask them for their phone number and they refuse to give it to me. Once, I refused to give them my phone number and they refused to cut my hair. At these shops there are women customers, men customers, little boy and little girl customers. All of the hair cutters at these places seemed to be named Mandy or Mindy or something similar. A lot of them look like I am their very first customer. The only conversation we engage in, is about the movies we have seen and how many kids we have. The magazines in the waiting area seemed to be geared for women and kids. Cosmo, Ladies Home Journal, and People.
The second type of hair cutting places is the high end “salon”. Some of these places are for men, some are for women and some are for both. I try to avoid these places. They are expensive and a hair cut takes along time as they wash your hair first and then you have detailed conversation about what you are trying to accomplish with your “look”. One time I was talking to some lady friends of mine in Palm Desert at their clothing boutique. I told them I was going to get a haircut. They asked who “did” my hair and I told them I was going to one of the inexpensive chains. They were as horrified as if I had told them I was going to eat road kill. They immediately called a male hair cutter friend of theirs at a Salon on El Paseo (A very high end shopping street) to make me an appointment. He agreed to squeeze me in as a favor to the ladies. The place was only a block or so away so I walked over. When I walked in I noticed that I was the only male customer among 7 or 8 women customers. My “stylist” was named Jake or Bobbie or something like that. He asked me to come back with him to a dressing room. He told me to take off my shirt and put on a bright green smock. I thought he was kidding. I had never changed clothes to get a haircut except during law school when I had no money and I used to sit naked in the tub while my wife cut my hair. (It was easy to clean up that way). Anyway, I took off my shirt, put on the bright green smock and walked with him to my chair. I sat in a row with six women around me. They each had on smocks but mine was the only green one. Jake (or Bobbie) told me the smock color had to do with what services would be rendered to the client. The lady next to me was wearing a blue smock and she had silver metal things in her wet hair. It made me glad I had a bright green smock on. Jake (or Bobbie) and I talked about track lighting, bamboo furniture and white wine. He did a good job (for a $125, plus tip, haircut I thought he should have let me keep the smock), but I was relieved to get out of there. Now, I refuse to go into any place that has the word salon on the premises.
The third type of hair cutting place is the “barber shop”. It has a red, white and blue striped pole or a sign with stripes. The hair cutters are called “barbers”. The barber shop’s customer chairs are soft, about 25 years old and surrounded with magazines. The magazines are Sports Illustrated, Hot Rod, Outdoor Adventure and Playboy. The best barber shops have at least 10 years of Playboys on the premises. The barbers are all named Joe or Sam. They cut your hair the way they want it cut not the way you want it cut. They talk to you about sports, or cars or politics. They tell you about the problems the last customer has with his wife, his business or his prostrate. They trim your eyebrows and your ears. When you walk out of there, you think, that was almost fun, I think I will go back to this place.
By the way, I think I need to get a haircut this weekend.
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