Tag: San Francisco

I don’t need a Phrenologist, I just got a bad haircut

“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.

Dreaming of the Summer of Jon

Last night I dreamt I was in Vienna. Since I haven’t been in Vienna before I can’t really speak to how authentic my dream was. For some reason Vienna looks a lot like San Francisco in my dreams. There are older, fancier buildings and fewer people speaking English in my dream version of Vienna than the real San Francisco, but for some reason my subconscious is making a connection between Vienna and SF. Maybe deep, deep in my mind there is some little spark connecting my childhood fascination with Vienna sausages and Rice-a-Roni. (This reference will not make sense to most people, but my mind is trying to tell me something and I need to get to the bottom of it.)

So here is the dream: I arrive in Vienna by train. I hop on a little street car and meet a family of Americans. You can’t get away from those damn Americans even in Vienna, they are everywhere in my dreams. I talk to the family a little bit, pretend I know more about Vienna than I do. (I don’t tell them that I only thought about Vienna as the capital of little hot dogs in a can until a few years ago.) I take a picture of a large white building (it looks a lot like the TransAmerica Building in SF) with my iPhone. I get off the trolley at the next stop and head underground to get on a subway. Here is where the dream gets a bit confusing, I buy a ticket, but remember that I left my luggage somewhere. I head upstairs and start looking for my luggage where I left it in a big library/transit station. It is odd that I would have left the luggage there because I have not been in this building before. I stroll around looking for my luggage and when I say stroll, I mean I am lollygagging. This is where my dream brain gets itself into trouble. I would never set my luggage down and just walk away and if I did, I would be frantically running around like Tom Cruise. (Watch any Tom Cruise movie, at some point Tom must tell the director, “We need a shot of me running because I am really fast.”) Vienna may seem like a safe place in my dreams, but in reality there are Russian gangsters all over the place. So instead of dashing around looking for my stuff, I just walk around like I have all day. Eventually I end up talking to some bearded guy working at a North Face store (located inside the library/transit station) and telling him that I should probably cancel my credit cards. He is confused because I am speaking English and he is Viennese and speaks just a touch of the Mother Tongue. He finally understands what I need and then I wake up.

What an unsatisfying dream. First off, I don’t get to see much of Vienna. I would hope my brain could create a better Vienna than that, but I guess not. Second, I never get to cancel my credit cards. I would like to have the opportunity to close that loop so I don’t spend the rest of the day wondering if someone is out there spending my money. Third, why can’t North Face hire a more helpful employee? I understand that my dream lacks a little verisimilitude, but come on North Face, why can’t you hire an American to help me out in my dream?

I do believe that dreams hold importance, but I’m not so sure about this one. I have been thinking more about my trip now that it is less than 60 days away so I guess my brain is trying to tell me to be careful. Maybe my brain thinks it is unwise to wander around Europe for a month, but that is where my brain is wrong. It is very wise and it is time my brain got on board and understood that Vienna is a safe city even if it is filled with Russian gangsters.

I knew this must be out there. Cue Tom Cruise running.

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