Saturday, January 25, 2014

Three Barbershops

For most of my life, I've suffered with the inability to find a good barbershop.  Growing up, there were two barbershops in town, the one where they cut my ear when I was two and the other barbershop, which was reputed to be a front for another business.  Now, I just went there for the haircuts, which were perfectly acceptable, though not worth writing home about.  However, he never cut me, so that was a big checkmark in his column.

Also, whenever you can go to a barber who has a Corvette, always has new stories about his crazy fishing adventures, wore more gold rings than anyone I've ever met and managed to make those half-height leather boots look cool, you really have to consider it the right choice.  Also, he kept a selection of adult magazines in the store.  This barbershop was perhaps the most male-specific environment I've been in and to be quite honest, one of the coolest places you go.  It even seemed cool at 10 AM on a Tuesday, also during football season, it was unseasonably busy at that time, so take from that what you like. 

But eventually, I moved away.  Which meant finding a new barber.  Since I have a certain fear of letting strangers take a sharp object near my head and face, this can be challenging.  Fortunately, I've gotten a lot steadier in my old age and since leave my original hometown, I've only had one haircut involving blood, which was the hair dressers, as she cut her finger with the scissors.  Thinking about this, I think the feat is more impressive than I initially thought, since you are working both hands and the scissors, so most any rational person would have a good sense of where all of the sharp edges and soft flesh would be. 

A little over four years ago, I moved to a new town.  A town with three barbershops, which I was thought was amazing.  At first, I just kept going to the Supercuts near my old job, because the best time to get a haircut was like 7:30 PM on a Wednesday.  However, I still longed to find a barbershop again, since that is the key to a good least that's what I tell myself.

The first place is about two blocks from my apartment and pays to be affiliated with the local university.  They were even an "Art of Shaving" institution for a while, as they tried to create that cool vibe.  Unfortunately, they failed miserably at that.  The haircuts were acceptable, but nothing to write home about or recommend to a friend.  And the vibe was always off, since the cool barbershop is not where you have conversations about beating your son at Call of Duty, but it is where you charge $10 more for a haircut than your local competitors, because you talk about the time you spent in New York.  Judging from the haircuts and atmosphere, I could see why you were forced to move out to the suburbs. 

At the far end of the main street, there is a barbershop, where I never saw a white person other than myself.  In fact, on the outside, they indicate they do flattops and fades and I learned more about modern rap music there than anywhere else I've been in the last five years.  However, it was always worth it, as this was the only place I ever felt I got a great haircut, a haircut you could set your watch to.  One of the guys could get you in and out in under 15 minutes with a great haircut and used a straight razor at times.  A virtuoso of hair.  The price was also great.  Aside from the vibe, which was not really me, it was all you could want in a barbershop. 

Sadly, they recently added a pitbull to the team.  Now, I've gotten a lot better about dogs, but I'm not at a stage where I can close my eyes for 15 minutes and have a pitbull running loose beneath me, while someone who is a stranger takes sharp objects near my head. 

This led me back to Supercuts, which is the Russian Roulette of haircare.  Sometimes, you get a decent haircut, sometimes you think...I could just shave my head.  But the other day, walking through the downtown, I saw a third barbershop.  I was vaguely aware of the institution, but usually just lumped it in with the Pitbull Palace.  However, I saw an old guy cutting hair and realized, I could give this a whirl. 

Today, desperately needing a haircut, I braved the elements, walking four whole blocks in the driving snow.  I didn't have to wait, as the woman who cuts hair there was available, who was also the only other person there under the retirement age.  The haircut itself was satisfactory.  It took a bit longer than I like a haircut to take and she might have been using a mace on my skull to comb my hair for cutting, but more likely it was the heaviest, meanest brush I've ever encountered.  Once finished, the haircut was a little tighter in the front than I like, since it makes me look older and harder for me to hide my highschool scars.  But I suspect I will take the fairly good haircut with no pitbulls over the great haircut with pitbulls, so I likely found a new barbershop.  Hooray me!

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