“There is something funny going on with your hair.” This is not what one wants to hear when getting a haircut, but it was what I heard the last time I went to get one.
I am not picky when it comes to getting my hair cut. I generally go to a place that is open and ask for a haircut. I like barber shops best because they know what it means when I say, “I want it shorter.” Ladies working at a beauty salon usually respond by asking several questions that I don’t know the answer to and then spend the rest of my haircut asking me questions that are really complaints about the current state of my hair. “Do you want me to make your sideburns even? What is going on with your neckline? Do you want me to round it off or leave it uneven like this? Why does your hair stick up like that?” Most of the answers relate to the last place I got my haircut and since I am a man I don’t really care . I only have to look at myself three times during the day: When I shave in the morning, when I drive to work and see myself in the rearview mirror, and then on the drive home. If my hair looks like two ferrets got in a fight on my head, then that is everybody else’s problem, they have to look at me.
My relationship with the person cutting my hair is very different than my wife’s relationship with her hair stylist. My wife returned from her last stylizing and told me that her hair cutting lady was moving to San Francisco. My first thought was, “How lucky. San Francisco is a great city,” but I have been married long enough to know that this was not great. This was a bad thing. My wife likes her hair cutting lady and doesn’t want to find a new one. It may have taken me 10 years of marriage to figure this out, but I know all the hair rules now.
Hair rules: 1. When your significant other gets her hair cut, tell her it looks nice. 2. Never ask how much it cost. 3. Don’t ever make hair suggestions for your significant other. 4. If your significant other asks if you like their hair longer or shorter, answer “Yes.” All other hair related questions should be answered using the Socratic Method.
Barbers are all about efficiency. “You want it short? Military short, or just regular short?” We don’t need to spend five minutes discussing the haircut, we just sit down and get it done. This is a fundamental difference between men and women. If I know what size pants I wear, why would I want to spend an hour trying on pants? If it is the right size and it is a good price, then I buy it.
My favorite barbershop of all-time was Dan’s Barbershop in Spokane. Haircuts were done with electric clippers and lasted about five minutes. Flat-tops took an extra two minutes, but the barbers there all knew the deal. We didn’t want to spend 15 minutes getting our haircut, we wanted it done, and then we wanted to leave. We were college kids who had lots of important things to do like watch He-Man at 3:30.
A friend at work sent me a link to a new kind of barbershop that has sprung up in Portland. The Modern Man Barber Shop looks like the kind of place I could spend more than 10 minutes in. First, there is a bar. Second, it has a Clint Eastwood High Plains Drifter quality to it, so if I wanted to wear some six shooters and belt I bought at Toys R Us into the shop I don’t think anyone would care. Third, did I mention they have a bar? Fourth, I could get a straight razor shave, which I am considering since I will be in Portland in the very near future. $24 for a shave might seem a bit pricey, especially since I can do it for free at home, but when in Portland, do what the Portlandians do and Keep It Weird.