You would have thought our governor announced free six-packs of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale for all on Friday. I, personally, would have appreciated that very much, since I’m down to my last few and they’re going fast.
No, the collective jubilation heard ‘round the Mitten was her declaration that we could all…after everything we’ve gone through over the past few months…after suffering through a terrible pandemic, mindless searches for toilet paper, avoiding human contact and appreciating the wonders of curbside pickup and Grubhub…..can finally get our hair cut!
For the stylists, barbers and salon owners who have endured months of financial disaster, I’m thrilled. For those who have simply suffered blows to their vanity, get over it. It’s just hair. If someone only appreciated you, lusted after you, respected you only because you were stylishly coiffed, snip them out of your life! Give ‘em the brush off! I’d chase ‘em with a blow dryer and muss up their locks while shouting, “your hair sucks! We’re through!”
Personally, I just don’t care. I own an impressive collection of ball caps that match the colors and styles of just about anything I choose to wear. Bad hair day? No problem. Pop on a top with the logo of my favorite team or car brand or place I’ve visited. I have an especially tacky one I acquired years ago while covering a story at the Ontario Tobacco Growers warehouse. It’s not only ugly, it offends anti-smoking types. I’m not a smoker, but I do like lighting up prissy puritans once in awhile.
When I worked as a TV reporter I was forced to pay close attention to my hair. It wasn’t always bad. The TV station where I worked in Tucson, Arizona paid for our haircuts. They had a deal with a salon located in beautiful old house and my assigned stylist was gorgeous. It was a nice change from our previous salon run by a crazy woman who often ran out to her car in the middle of a styling, apparently to huff a white powder. She wielded her Conair blower like a Glock when she returned and when we informed the station we would no longer sit in her chair like sitting ducks they thankfully moved us to the much nicer place where none of the stylists potentially faced arrest.
By the time I worked my way up to CNN, the network merely reimbursed us for our haircuts since the on-air folks were strewn around the world. At first I was lucky enough to find a young lady who was quite talented and that lasted for a year or two until she got married and quit. I looked around for someone new and was referred to a stylist who was quite experienced and received positive reviews. Things went well for a bit until she experienced “man problems.” For the entirety of my styling she’d go into a rage about men, her man, how men suck, how she’d like to kill all men. Given she was holding very sharp scissors and I happened to be a man I was not, in the least, relaxed. I finally just stopped using her and moved on.
That was better until the new stylist said she only wanted to work one or two hours a week and none of those hours coincided with any of the hours I could come in.
At that point I honestly didn’t care anymore. I visited my nearest Fantastic Sams. Didn’t care who I got. Waiting like everyone else. Got someone different almost every time. Got a fine haircut almost every time. No rage, no threats, no problem. Then the shop owner decided Fantastic Sams franchise fees or whatever were too expensive so she went out on her own. Best yet. Independent owner, talented stylists, 12 bucks plus tip for an excellent shearing. Sometimes they speak English, sometimes they don’t. Don’t care. They speak the common language of “follicle.” Been going there for a decade. I’ll be happy to return.
But meanwhile, my hair has been silently growing, thankfully covering the thinning bald spot on the back of my head. I’ll miss my mop when it’s cut. I may even grow it back. I just hope the same stylists return to my favorite place. I have nightmares I’ll get in the chair and looming down over me with sharpened scissors hovering over my ears is the man hater raging about how I walked out on her all those years ago. Snip Snip. Oh shit. No tip.
Went for a haircut today. What do you call it? A “styling?” During my TV years I called it that because the places I frequented for my tonsorial trims charged inflated prices for the privilege even though they performed the same service as the much lower priced haircut places. Basically, you come out of both with less hair and less money, with the only difference being how much less money.
I’ve been going to the same chain place for 15 years. It’s in a strip mall that lost its anchor store long ago leaving a few lonely active storefronts scattered along the walkway. There’s a coney restaurant, Eurasian restaurant, dentist, and my haircutting place. In between, an empty hulk where the supermarket once was.
Most of the haircutters at my place are Russian women. There’s one American guy but he talks too much. That’s what “stylists” do. They want to act like they’re your friend. A friend wouldn’t use a sharp instrument to remove part of my body…at any price.
The Russian women don’t screw around. They cut your hair and then it’s out-ski. Typical conversation:
Russian haircutter (RC): “It nice outside.”
Me: “It IS! Beautiful!”
RC: “Dat’s rrrrright!”
They don’t ask what you do, if you’ve had a nice day or how your family is. It’s just snip-snip-snip, cash out, tip and scram.
I found some old photos of when I was on TV and had my hair cut by expensive stylists and compared it with how I look today after being shorn by a chain chopper. No difference. Still have a face for radio.
I think if I ever went back to television I’d still go to the same place to get my hair cut, coughing up 12 bucks each time plus tip. If forced, I’ll just hyperbolize, if asked where I get my hair done, and say FABULOUS Sams. That would just be fantastic.