For the first time in more than a year or so, I went and got a haircut on Saturday. I had been buzzing my own head, but I recently decided to grow my hair out because I was sicking of looking like I was 9. Not to mention, I’m a working professional now, which means overpriced hair products fit in my budget.
Yeah, that’s right — I use $12 pomade. Get jealous.
Actually, being a cheapskate, I much enjoyed cutting my own hair the past few years. There’s been a direct correlation between my personal financial standing and the length of my hair; when money’s been tight, I’ve been more than happy to lop of luxuries like haircuts, shampoo, conditioner, hair product. And while I only know how to execute one style of haircut, I’ve been OK with sporting a buzz if only because it keeps me in control of the process. I’ve had too many haircuts go awry in my life to trust just anyone.
But that’s what I did on Saturday.
I sauntered over to this trendy little barbershop nearby with its punk-rock posters splayed on the walls, vintage barbershop chairs and stacks of obscure art magazines I’d never heard of. Sometimes, I like to throw myself in environments completely opposite my personality, probably for the same reason people get tattoos in other languages they don’t speak or necessarily care to. Sometimes, I pose really hard.
It was a 40-minute wait before I could sit down, but that gave me ample time to conjure a way of describing what I wanted.
I was too embarrassed to say, “Make me look like Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser.”
I settled on, “Don’t make me look like a tool.”
My barber was nice enough. She wore a multi-layered, multi-colored haircut which said I’m not afraid of society’s judgment, so I’ll shave my head in whichever areas I please. I wasn’t entirely surprised to learn she was hopelessly devoted to World of Warcraft, her kittens and a vintage yellow couch she got for $150 because she knows the best places in Portland to buy vintage furniture. She was moving to a new studio apartment now in Northeast and she wasn’t going to have a roommate so she was hoping to pick up more shifts at the barbershop (which wasn’t to say I should tip her well because she needed the money) and she had recently rented Hannah Montana: The Movie on Netflix because she was too embarrassed to get it in a store but she liked it and thought it was cute and didn’t think it was fair Miley Cyrus should be held to such a high standard because she’s 16 and sometimes 16-year-old girls take provocative pictures, they just don’t always end up in Vanity Fair.
I learned a lot about her, unwillingly. She’d put down two cups of coffee prior to my haircut, and puked conversation all over me. (Luckily, I was wearing one of those stupid capes.)
I didn’t really say much — for lack of opportunity — and I felt a bit cheated. I won’t claim to be interesting by any means. I mean, I blog. But isn’t the barbershop a place where you get to speak openly about the most intimate details of your life to absolute strangers without fear of judgment or persecution?
Once you’ve let a perfect stranger touch your head and your ears and systematically remove things from your body for aesthetic improvement, there’s an unsaid bond that’s formed. And what do you do with people you trust? You confide. You opine. You tell stories. Not with this one. I just listened.
Little thing with the edgy haircut did a nice job, to be fair. I got a lot of compliments at work yesterday and my girlfriend seems to like it. When all was said and done, I was pleased. I paid the $21 for the haircut and left a $9 tip. I didn’t have the heart to tell this stylist I wouldn’t be coming back.
Frankly, she didn’t give me a chance.