What’s the sitch with barber communication?
“What would you like today?”
I guess a haircut. You’re a barber right? Make it shorter. And while I think I know how I want to look, your the professional? Make me look nice?
“Pretty short on the sides and back, maybe a #3, and then just a trim on top, leave it a little longer. Thanks!”
“So, how was your day?”
Oh Jesus, here we go with all these personal questions. I need to set a precedent. This will not be a chatty cut. I came for the peace and quiet that only a high-pitched clipper and a stranger scissoring close to my face can provide.
“Pretty good! Got off work early, so thought I’d get a trim.”
Shit. Left an opening there.
“Oh yeah? Where do you work?”
Damn, damn, damn, damn. Maybe just pay attention to the hair? I know you can multitask, but at least give me the impression you are concentrating on your work. Are you sure it should be cut that short? You know I’m watching you in this mirror. I’m trying not to look at myself because I don’t want to come off as narcissistic, but when I catch a glimpse of what you're doing out of my peripherals, it makes me anxious.
“Just down the street, in the neighborhood.”
“Any plans for tonight?”
He is relentless! And now I really do want to say something about how this cut is going. I have a cowlick, it ain’t easy to manage, even for an experienced barber, but this guy is butchering it. You aren’t going to be able to control it! Leave it alone! I know the impulse, it sticks straight up. No matter how many times you trim it a bit, it isn’t going to lay flat with the rest of the part. For your sanity, and mine, don’t try to tame this wild beast.
“Nothing in particular. Might get some food and watch the game. I should also try and catch up on sleep, that is, if I remember to.”
Holy shit, killer joke. Where do you come up with this stuff? They say the best comedy comes from hardship, and this current situation is certainly a good example.
Oh! Met my own gaze in the mirror, that felt weird.
“Do you mind going a little shorter on this front bit over here?”
Now he hates me. I’m the needy customer. Shit. If he was serving me food he’d definitely be spitting in it… I hope he doesn’t spit in my hair. Is that something barbers do when they don’t like a customer?
“Not a problem. And do you want me to trim those sideburns for you?”
You call these sideburns? These are sideburns in the same way the fine fuzz stuck between my toes are socks. Sure, trim the “sideburns,” or don’t, I’ll just shave them when I get to it in the next 7-10 days. Don’t flatter me.
“And is the back looking ok?”
I am always impressed by the double mirror technology, showing the back of someone’s head to them. It is one of the least familiar parts of my body, so its nice to check in on it once in a while. That said, I’ve never responded with anything except,
How particular would one have to be, how self-assured, to, at the double mirror trick grand finalé, express dissatisfaction and ask for a minor correction. The back always looks fine, and frankly, no one sees the back who I care about. I face the people I care about, because I’m using my mouth to speak with them, and my mouth is on the front. Also, even if the back was a little crooked, I’d never say, “Yanno, that right edge could use straightening.” At that point, you need to either be spending more on you haircuts, or you need to try out a bald look, to avoid the obsessive-compulsive trait that is clearly surfacing.
“Would you like any product in your hair today?”
Product? Is this a contest for who can be the most vague? I guess you win barber guy. No, you can keep your product in the bottle on the shelf, I’m good. Yes, I know I’m the needy guy who asked for a little more off the top, but I’m also the guy who ok’d the sideburns and back, so that should average out. I don’t need further primping. I only looked at myself in the mirror a couple times!! That should also count for something.
“I’m good, thank you!”
If I can just get this suffocating shower curtain off me, get out of this chair, and smile as I give him my card, then I officially earn the Dum Dums lollypop, which we all know is the real reason anyone gets their haircut. But God help them if I grab a mystery flavor, or butterscotch or some shit… hair burns well, and this place is covered in it…