Thursday, November 24, 2016


It was that time.  I went to the ATM, and withdrew the appropriate amount of cash.  I walked into my barbershop and spoke to my barber.  "G'mornin!"  He mumbled something in return.

As I went to sit down to wait, I couldn't quite put my finger on it... but there was something very much out of place.

Ah.  That was it.

A young woman, in her early twenties, clad in a blue smock, was standing behind the third chair in the shop.  "Do you need help?  I...I can help you, if you'd like."

Um.  Sure.

As I have written before, the barbershop is a male place.  It is not specifically exclusionary. Women are welcome, but....

But few women come through the door.  If they do, it is mostly to bring their boys; it is not normally a hangout place where the genders are mixed.  I now get to benefit.... I get to jump the line because men don't go to the barber to have their hair cut by a woman.

I don't care about my hair particularly.  I am not vain about my hair.  Hair always grows back, right?

I sit.

"I am pretty new to the area, but I have been here a few times, and I have never seen you.  Are you a recent arrival, or just been out of town?"

"Oh, no, sir." (I grimace at the way she says 'sir').  "I have been coming in here since I was five years old.  I am now living in Raymond, well, actually I am going to barber college there."  She is trimming the hair on my forehead in an odd arc as she says it.

I am trying to relax into the chair, and she is not making it easy.

But then she gets into a rhythm of snip, snip, and I work to not pay attention to her for a bit, just focusing on looking around.  At the deer antlers on the wall.  At the conversations going on around me.  At the fidgeting kid in the next chair.

I come to attention only when, after twenty minutes of trimming (it has been twenty minutes?), she steps out from behind me, surveying her work.  And frowns.

The poor girl did everything but say "oops" out loud.

And goes back to snipping.  All the while, I am sitting, looking away from the mirror.  A few minutes later, she comes back out in front of me to survey the damage.  And says 'hm'. (Hm, apparently, is barberspeak for 'oops').

And she goes back to snipping.

Fifteen minutes later, I have now been in the chair for long enough for two people to come and go.  She starts to finish up, combing my hair from the wrong side, and finds it tougher than she thought. So she wets down my hair.  And combs it forcefully down, making it stick.

Now comes the big reveal.  Turn the chair...

"Do you like it?"

It's um, great.

"Do you like it?  Cause I can do something different, it you'd like."

No, ma'am.  It is great.  Thank you.

"I am sorry it took so long."

No problem, ma'am.

I simply could not get out of the chair fast enough.  Made it outside before running my fingers through the ruins of my remaining hair.  And then rolled down the window, and left my head outside the window, dog-like, to get the hair dried and blown out of the slick-down that I had just gotten.

 The hair is fine.  And it will grow back out.   The back of my hair, my wife tells me, was very nicely done.

I might just have to scope out the parking lot for Misty's car before I go back for my next trim.

No comments: