Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shoulda just cut it all off

Ramblings Post #95
Despite our best efforts, life is about minutiae. No matter the heights we achieve, we must still bathe, and eat, and shave - in some for or another - and clip our nails, and etc and so on. These things can't be avoided. And since "little things mean a lot", when I came to the realization I'd been neglecting something important, and then it turned on me, I knew it was time to get right with myself...and the guy who cuts my hair.

I'm not a barber snob.

For the past few years, more and more guys I know are forgoing the barbershop and cutting their own hair. Those are to some degree, barber snobs. I, on the other hand, had stuck to the tried and true system however, not because I was too lazy, but rather because I'd tried cutting my own hair before and truly screwed it up so I'd rather trust a professional.

That said, usually any professional (who can take instruction) will do.

Typical barbershop - Black America.

As a kid, a trip to the barber meant our mother dropped us off at, I think it was at least, Professional Barbershop #3. It was in what would now be called a little strip mall, with a dirt parking lot. It was the original "men's hut". They were professional professionals, even now I remember that they were older than college students, who cut hair all day. The shop was big, had old magazines and smelled like what I imagined at the time Africa smelled like. And they had two huge mirrors facing one another, which gave this infinity effect which at the time I thought was sooo cool.

In college, I let my hair get cut just about anywhere. The barber's, a friend's house, my house, by this chick who swore she knew how to cut. On internship in Chicago I drove to the Southside to get my haircut, and on internship in New Jersey going in the barbershop and waiting let them know I wasn't from there. I probably wasn't as self conscious as I should have been, appearance-wise, so it was probably wild and woolly then. Looking back, a little grooming and discipline might have made a world of difference.

Now I've proscribed to the comment plight of the black male (who still has hair), finding a barber who I like. A good barber for a black man is sacred. I've changed barbershops because "my" barber moved, put off cut because he wasn't available and waited when he said he was running late. A good barber, who knows his customers, almost doesn't have to be told, only reminded how you like your hair. And he doesn't cut it so it looks good just for today, he cuts it so your hair grows into the shape you want.

I would have picked one a while ago I think, but at the place to close to my job they never have a lot of customers so I'm wary of riding by one day and finding them gone. But I think it's time to pick one of them - and a suitable back up.

Because yesterday, when I walked into my latest usual spot, where I ended up after my last barber disappeared (long story) and because its close to the job, I let them pick out the guy who would cut my hair. I gave him explicit instructions. How did he do?

- I don't like them to give me a "line" in the front. The hair is headed back fast enough, no need to encourage it. He touched up my line.

- For my head, I need the sides cut closer than the top, it grows faster. Otherwise my head looks like a wedge, like Grady from Sanford and son. He didn't understand "close".

- And because the sides grow faster than the top, I like the sides cut high, closer to a buzz cut than a fade. He started fading it out around the ears.

I paid him...even tipped him, headed home and broke out the clippers.

You shouldn't have to cut your hair after you gotten your hair cut. That and he sprayed some gook on my hair without asking, then told me it was black company and we need to support. Not really digging his flavor. So it looks like it's gonna be the bald guy in the back from now on, or the sister who cut it once and it wasn't too bad.

Barkeep...tell me the baldy is coming back!

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