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Thursday, 12 January
Sometimes It Grows Back

Today I got a haircut.

Oh my God, Skot! Tell us more! Yeah, this is all I've got any more.

I do not really know how anyone else decides when to go to the damn barber. All I know is that I do not go nearly enough. Usually around a month and a half after a typical haircut, I notice my hair in the mirror and think, "Whoop! Time for a trim!" And then I wait another month and a half before actually making the appointment, so by that time, it just looks like there's a dead okapi stapled to my head. Look, it's just not one of those things that I think about on a daily basis--I have to wait until I've achieved deceased mammal status. Part of this is, I don't really like to look in the mirror that much, because I'm kind of funny looking without being cool funny looking. I mean, I don't even have any interesting scars. Which is actually also all right with me, because scars mean physical damage, and in addition to being kind of funny looking, I'm also sort of a pussy. You see my dilemma.

Anyway. I showed up at the salon--yeah, I know--a good fifteen minutes early. But H. was ready for me. He showed me to the chair. I like H. He doesn't fuck up my hair--then again, how much damage could he do to a guy with middling self-esteem?--and best of all, he's not a talker. I have been known in the past, when making hair appointments, to request the least chattiest employee. Call me a misanthrope, but making small talk while a guy whips razor-sharp blades around my ears just isn't in my repertoire. H. is a brutally efficient hair assassin. I like that.

(The guy to the left of me was getting his hair done by a drag queen. The drag queen was discoursing loudly about, I shit you not, "the Di-vine Miss M." It may have been my imagination, but more than once I felt a certain urgency creep into H.'s snipping, as if he were suppressing a deep desire to murder the drag queen.)

I mused happily as I sat in the chair and explained to H. what I wanted. "Uh . . . make it shorter!" And it really is always a relief to get my hair cut, as I like to have my skull as aerodynamic as possible. Anything that reduces the drag on my hair as I run to the store for cigarettes is appreciated. H. got to work.

Unexpectedly, he did not immediately escort me to the sink to wash my nasty hair. Hey, what the fuck? Do I not merit a shampoo? H. coldly appraised my okapi and then grabbed the clippers. I sat glumly during the damning assessment, and then H. deployed the comb, and started shaving giant hunks of hair off of my noggin. He said nothing during the procedure, which I usually like. Then I started to feel awful. Oh my God, I thought. I'm such an asshole that the chatty queeny hairdressers won't talk to me. They won't even wash my hair! I sat in existential hair despair as H. deftly disposed of months of ratty growth. Then he bonked me on the ears and neck a few times with some sort of secret barber brush.

"Let's go give you a wash," he said. Purest relief flooded through me. He didn't hate me! He just realized that there wasn't any point in tackling my hidelicious mop without some advance demolition. It just made sense. I bet Brazilian waxers do some brute push-mowing before getting down to the detail work.

In due course, H. was all done. He then squeeze-bottled my head with some crap and professionally ruffled my hair. I never know what to do at this stage; the hair people always seem to try something funky with my uniquely uncooperative follicles, and it usually ends up looking like some sort of spectacularly ruined noodle dish. H. put a bunch of hair crap on his hands finally, and smoothed it into my skull, creating a lustrous blond helmet that sat uneasily on my bean, like a vervet monkey nervously perched on a pale basketball.

"How's that?" H. asked.

"Perfect!" I screamed, desperate to leave. Why do even good hairdressers inevitably fail horribly right at the end? It's like a wedding cake designer who tops every gorgeous confection with a tiny dollop of his own feces. "I really love it!"

I do have to say that my hair was extremely skull-fitting. Aerodynamic. He must have known I needed to buy some cigarettes.


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Comments

brute push-mowing?! what an image. and ahh, to be the miniature guy with the mower.

Comment number: 006235   Posted by: chuck on January 12, 2006 01:20 AM from IP: 66.118.242.4


Barbers and Spielberg have that failing-right-at-the-end thing in common, don't they? With the barbers it's 'I'm sure he won't mind if I just finish off the cut by layering the back and sides'. And with Spielberg it's 'I'm sure the audience would love a nice, big, Californian
group hug right at the end of Schindler's List'.

Comment number: 006236   Posted by: Lung the Younger on January 12, 2006 06:14 AM from IP: 80.58.34.109

Skot, you are not alone in your hair cutting scheduling technique. I go the "stylist" and have it cut short, then, about a month and a half later, my wife starts complaining that my hair is getting too long, then, about a month after that I start to get irritated because the only thing that it will do is slowly transform from slicked-back nothingness to a gigantic, poofy head-bush over the course of the day, then I finally call my barber who is too busy to get me in for at least another two weeks.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Comment number: 006237   Posted by: KOTWF on January 12, 2006 07:09 AM from IP: 65.48.40.10

Oh sweetie, you do have interesting scars. It's just they're all emotional and therefore don't show. Much.

Comment number: 006238   Posted by: TheBrad on January 12, 2006 09:01 AM from IP: 69.153.96.2

I've been culling my split ends over the past several years with a dedicated regiment of semiannual haircuts and Florida humidity. The goal is a kind of Well-Used Broom look which I'm hoping will catch on, since I'm too broke for salons.

Comment number: 006239   Posted by: Melissa on January 12, 2006 06:13 PM from IP: 65.32.127.228

"'Perfect!' I screamed, desperate to leave."

That and "nervously half screamed" are some of my favorites.

Comment number: 006240   Posted by: Jon on January 12, 2006 10:15 PM from IP: 216.231.47.148

"'Perfect!' I screamed, desperate to leave."

That and "nervously half screamed" are some of my favorite lines.

(And I love that the google link above loads two results: your post and some other completely unrelated one about a Galapagos cruise.)

Comment number: 006241   Posted by: Jon on January 12, 2006 10:17 PM from IP: 216.231.47.148

how much do American men spend on haircuts ?

Comment number: 006242   Posted by: Chris on January 13, 2006 01:55 AM from IP: 202.168.101.124

Bu..wha? That Galapagos Islands site is just Skot's same "nervously half screamed" post, isn't it? It looks like they copied and pasted his whole site into their center frame. Wotsit all about?

Comment number: 006243   Posted by: Thel on January 13, 2006 08:45 AM from IP: 66.58.11.106

My barber is a queeny Nepalese ex-monk, masseur, and make-up artist in the US for political asylum. It's great. He tells me stories of gurkhas and some apparent fondling of the younger soldiers by officers.

Also, he gives me kind of a crazy kung-fu scalp massage thing.

And, no matter what I say to him, he doesn't really listen. He just blathers on and on about the gurkhas and the fondling.

Comment number: 006244   Posted by: kaf on January 13, 2006 10:04 AM from IP: 63.81.40.65

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