Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Reluctant Barber

The way I feel about going to get a haircut is the way most people feel about going to the dentist. I know I have to do it on a regular basis but there's always some level of pain involved. My hair is naturally thick and curly and no one knows how to deal with it, including me. So once or twice a year - when it's too long and I can't take it anymore - I go in and someone new tells me what would look great on me. Then they proceed to tell me unconvincingly why this is going to be the perfect haircut. I have gone to expensive salons and spent a small fortune and I've gone to cosmetology schools and spent $7.00. Doesn't matter where I go, I always end up with shorter hair that is no more manageable. I've had some really really bad haircuts (perhaps some of you remember them as well.) But I've never walked out of a salon and said, "Awesome! I love my hair!" It's generally not bad, not great, but much better than the mop I walked in with.

The time has come once again when I couldn't deal with the length anymore so I walked into Supercuts to get it taken care of tonight. It's my natural inclination to turn around and run away from a haircut, but it wasn't until after I was settled in the chair that I realized... there were some logical indicators that would lead a person to turn around. The first of which being the fact that everyone in there was bald. Two guys - one with male pattern baldness, the other had a shaved head - were sitting waiting, my barber had a shaved head, and another barber was giving a kid a mohawk. A guy in sunglasses came out from the back room and asked me, "You ready?" and invited me into the chair. I was curious why the guys were waiting while I got right in, and apparently that kept me too preoccupied to question why the guy about to cut my hair was wearing sunglasses. I'm not talking about fashionable lenses or the tinted kind that change in different lighting. I'm talking dark - block out all the light - Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder sunglasses. I decided he wasn't blind b/c he saw me standing there. But it was a little suspicious that even in his license photo he was wearing sunglasses. There were a few times he looked real close at my hair before he cut it; maybe squinted a little bit. But what the hell, even a blind person couldn't cut my hair worse than some in the past. The months when everyone called me Lyle Lovett were very difficult. But it always grows back.

When I was sitting in the chair, he looked over it closely - and I mean that literally. He said, "Now you just want this trimmed, right?" I said, no I'm tired of it. Do whatever you want with it. He said, "I don't want to cut it. I'll trim it but I don't want to cut it. You have great hair." I wasn't that cool with a trim and he wasn't that cool with cutting it short so we proceeded to negotiate for about five minutes. "No, if you leave it long you can do this... and this... and do you know how much money people pay for hair like this? And you want to cut it off?" He wanted to cut a half inch, I wanted several inches so we compromised and now it's a little longer than shoulder length. Is this normal? I kinda' don't think it is but I have never had normal hair and nothing feels normal about a haircut anyway. I hate haircuts.

So, Blair (that's what his business card says - no first or last name, just Blair) told me exactly how he would give me the perfect haircut. I have to give the guy credit, he took a lot of time to work with my hair. He seemed to really enjoy his job. It was great to watch him work because he conducted himself like he was creating a work of art. He was very careful and was adamant that I had to keep my hair long. He showed me many different things I could do with it. "Don't ever pull it back like this. If you're gonna pull it back, do it up like this instead. See the difference?" The whole time he was cutting it he was making comments like, "You are going to like this. You're going to be dangerous! People will be coming back here and saying, 'Blair, I want you to make me look like her' and you're gonna have to tell them, 'no you can't look as good as me.'" This went on for quite some time with various colorful expressions of how awesome my hair was going to be and when I come back for another haircut I'll either have twenty boyfriends or an engagement ring. Maybe both. Who knows what sort of trouble this haircut will get me into in the imagination of Blair the Barber and his magic scissors.

In the end, I think it was a pretty decent haircut but I never really know until the next day. He put a lot of time and effort and I am comforted by the fact that he seemed to be enjoying himself. I don't think he was blind, but I can't help but wonder about the glasses. I believe he may have had some sort of visual impairment. He definitely was hilarious. All in all, I paid about $30 to have a decent haircut and listen to a man compliment me and tell me about how hot I'm going to look. You just can't pay enough for that kind of service.


J said...

I imagined him having a fake Brazilian accent. Did he have a fake Brazilian accent?

It takes me five minutes to cut my hair in the privacy of my own bathroom with my own clippers... being a guy is awesome.

Kathleen said...

He did not. He said he was from Texas but didn't have a twang either. I could picture him hanging out in a barber shop movie w/Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence. I never make assumptions, but by all indications he was straight, black and hilarious!