Someone, please tell me: Why is it so difficult to find a place for a man to get a decent haircut?
It’s not like I need a haircut all the time. I show up for this quarterly, like a corporate financial report. My father tells me that he is old enough to remember a time when men sat in the barber’s chair on the corner for a touch-up every week. I have a feeling that the experience was intended to be more social than depilatory.
I’ve read about remnants of the haircut as social experience lingering on in barber shops frequented by African-Americans in urban communities. And while I support public opportunities for socialization, perhaps it is my suburban sensibilities that cause me to prefer an arm’s length business transaction.
Notice to hair cutters: I’m not here to make a new friend; I don’t expect you to be my bartender. I don’t want to swap life stories, nor do I wish to discuss the presidential election, my marriage or even the weather. If you do ask me a question, I will endeavor to respond politely and I expect the same courtesy in return. Please can the rudeness and do not inquire about my weekend plans or what I’m having for dinner. In return, it will be my pleasure to include a generous tip to express appreciation for your time and expertise.
Some would claim that my attitude paints me as inhuman. At some level, I would have to agree. I’m still hoping that modern technology comes up with a reliable robo-barber. Tim Cook and Satya Nadella, are you listening?
These days, it seems that my alternatives are the national unisex haircutting chains or the local three-chair shop that we pass regularly along the highway. Yesterday, I tried the latter and was quite disappointed. I suppose that, from an “it’s all relative” viewpoint, I have no cause to complain. At least I didn’t emerge looking like a Marine on Parris Island, as I did after my previous haircut in Fresno. My chief complaint is that the hair cutter, who was not at all gentle, nicked me twice. I attempted to point this out by yelling “Ow!” but I don’t think she got the message.
I suppose I should be grateful that this hair cutter did not attempt to engage me in conversation. Perhaps this was due to the language barrier. As she seemed to understand the general type of hair cut I was requesting, I was not aware of this issue until she was done and I asked how much I owed. Although she repeated herself twice, I could not understand what she was saying. She finally resorted to the international language of money by holding up the corresponding number of fingers. Now, I am all in favor of multiculturalism, but I do believe that we require a common language in which we can all communicate. Perhaps this is easy for me to say, because English has become something of an international language and happens to be the language which I speak. Perhaps I need to “check my privilege.” Should the common language we choose turn out to be Spanish, Mandarin or something else, I will begin studying. In the meantime, however, I expect those with whom I am spending my money to speak enough English so that we can conduct business without resorting to sign language.
Until then, does anyone know a decent place for a guy to get a haircut?