At The Barbers

I just got my haircut. I think for most people this is an experience. It’s an exciting time where you expect to come out of the shop looking like a new man or woman or child or..

As I was sitting awaiting my turn I was observing. Like any respectable person of society should do, I was trying to understand the way of the shop, trying to understand what it would look like when it was my turn, what others said about what they wanted, were they loud, or how did the barbers act. I had one picked out I wanted, and I got her. She was nice and kind.

I’ll step back a minute.

You see, my whole life [I am proud to admit] I have either had my hair cut by my father or I have cut it myself. I know my hair, inside and out. Before the other day, I had only had 3 other experiences in a hair-cutting-place.

Let me explain further.

1. In about grade 4 my father went on a half year sabbatical to the other side of the country, leaving my mother in charge of my brothers and I. It was time to get my hair cut, so I piled into the family vehicle and rolled into the hair studio. Unbeknownst to me, they didn’t wash your hair afterwards and get rid of all the hair that was cut out. Lucky for me, directly after the haircut I went to the arena to play some hockey. Don’t worry, it was itchy.

2. When I was about 24 a girlfriend asked me to accompany her to her company Christmas party and wanted me to look special, so she booked an appointment for me at the local luxury hair place. Obviously I was slightly scared, and didn’t know what to say. I came out with a nice haircut, they washed my hair twice, gave me a scalp massage, and actually taught me some tricks for cutting my own hair that completely changed the way I look at it still! But, because she didn’t know the shape of my head, I of course was overly critical and wasn’t 100% satisfied. However, I left feeling happy and elated, somewhat similar to a nice dentist experience. No new holes or less any body parts.

3. While traveling Europe I didn’t have my cutting supplies, so I walked across the street to what looked like an exciting, happening place with lots of pzazz for a nice radical haircut for myself. When I say radical, I mean nice and hip… so not so radical at all. Keep in mind this is in German, a language I’m not-so-fluent in. When I walked in, it felt like an assembly line with hair everywhere. I was greeted and asked what I wanted. She sat me down to wait my turn for the hair washing. I was waved over the the wash basins after about 10 minutes where only one person who was already washing hair was. She hardly looked up at me, and I had no idea if I was to sit down, or… so I asked the girl if I should sit, and she smiled and said yes. I waited for about 2 minutes before anybody else acknowledged me with eye contact, and shortly afterwards, without a word I might add, pulled my head back and began to wash it. The water was warm.

She then told me to go sit down in front of the hair cutters with a wave of her hand.

The fun part was trying to tell the cutter what taper at the back was, and that I’d like a little bit longer at the front. She could speak a bit of English, so it wasn’t all bad. There was a point where she made a few comments about the thickness of my hair. I don’t mind.

At the end, without any product and my hair and a fresh wash and thinning, I looked like Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber, but with more of a puff.

Thank goodness I carry scissors with me and hair product.

4. And now my latest trip to the Barber. As I had started saying, everything was going well. I got up on the big chair and the kind lady buckled me in with a napkin at the back of my neck. She asked me what I’d like, and I pointed to a photograph on the wall I had spied and liked the look of. She smiled and we understood each other. Then I told her about some of the special parts of my head she should be wary of. One thing I’ve learned is that if I don’t tell them, they don’t know. This is my hair, I’m not taking chances.

After she had gone around it, and worked it over, she asked me what I thought. I liked it. I really did. The back and sides were trimmed up a bit, and the top was left a little bit longer. She asked me if I wanted just a little bit take off the top, and I hummed and hawed and finally said, yes, just a little bit please. She started to peck away at it, then the boss  working on the client to the left of me came over, pushed her out of the way, and said: “Here this is what you have to do.” Grabbed the spray bottle, soaked my hair, then began to hack away at my hair furiously. After about a minute, he had completely destroyed the look I was going for and left my hair sad.

You can imagine me, sitting there, practically a barber shop virgin, not knowing what to do after he had taken the first big chop out of my hair. Do I run? Do I tell him stop? Obviously he had greatly offended the woman cutting my hair and invaded our safe space we had created around us, so needless to say she could hardly speak after this. I didn’t know what to say, and she tried best she could to finish off my hair with the proper trimming around the edges and send me off. I tried to joke that “I guess I got a little bit off the top then,” just after he had done this. What could she say?

Once again, luckily enough I have a pair of scissors with me to make the hair gods happy.

Tell me, should I be scared of my next appointment?

I think I’ll just buy clippers next time.

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