After my haircut in February, and the decent results that came from only knowing the words corto (short) and largo (long), I wasn’t as worried this morning. Owning a bunch of baseball caps allows me to let my hair grow longer than it really should. Not that this bothered me much in the past, but it does bother me these days. I’m not the sort of person who can go into a barbershop and say, “just a trim.” The length of my hair every time I go is too long to see what was originally going on. Aaaanyway, I was up nice and early this morning, doing my electronic chores whilst watching ¡The Three Amigos! in the corner of my laptop screen. Coffee, a bit of work, finished up a project, client happy. Joy. Actually a few moments of genuine happiness, which felt kinda weird. Then I saw my hair in the mirror and: ¡ya basta!
My last few haircuts have been interesting. Last August, it was cut by an anti-semetic Italian in Toronto; in September, it was unexpectedly cut by a friend of a friend, sat outside a bar, drunk at midnight, with kitchen scissors; and in February, my first Mexican haircut, that was horribly like Chistopher Moltisanti’s hair when I left the salon, but was actually a good cut once I got home and smothered my hair in wax gunk.
Time to get another. A few weeks ago, I noticed a decent looking barbershop in my neighbourhood. Proper barber pole outside. There are only four chairs in this barbershop, but there were at least nine people working there. As soon as I walked in, one of the younger barbers jumped off the red padded waiting bench where his colleagues remained, watching Federer vs. Djokovic on a huge flat screen above the window. He ushered me to a chair, I sat down, he draped the thingy over me, tucked it in around my collar, and a young woman approached me with a trolley of soft drinks and asked if I wanted anything or a coffee. No, gracias. Then a young man came by, he was the age that makes you happy he didn’t have scissors in his hands. He was craddling a stack of well-thumbed magazines, slightly fanned so that i could see the names. Top of the pile was Playboy. Beneath that, Hustler. There was a Men’s Health in there somewhere, too. No, gracias. Another young woman asked if I wanted a manicure and/or pedicure. No, gracias. The barber tipped the chair back, washed my hair, and asked how I wanted it. I muttered corto and largo and pointed at bits of my head, then whipped out my iPod and showed him a photo of how it looked when my last haircut was just a day or two old. He started snipping away. Helpfully, he pointed my chair towards the TV. Well, I say helpfully, but in all likelihood it was because he wanted to watch the game. Without my specs on, I was watching a man in red and a man in white move around on an orange plain.
The guy next to me was having the whole works. One lady sat at his feet, angle-grinding hard skin off his heels, and another lady clipping and filing his fingernails, as a man trimmed his already-trim hair, and he was reading a magazine. It was a scene that would only have been improved with a semi-naked woman feeding him grapes and a cherubic boy fanning him with a big leaf. I was getting a nice haircut, though, and he was doing the thing with the straight razor around my ears and neck. Generally, that’s my favourite part of a haircut. Although, this fella managed to beat that by, at the end of the haircut, massaging my shoulders. It was something I totally wasn’t expecting. I almost giggled. When I put my specs back on, he’d Moltisanti-ed my hair. I almost giggled again. He asked if I wanted my beard done. I said no, but I imagine next time I need a haircut, I’m gonna let my beard grow before I go, so I can get it all done: cut, shave, nails, and a flick through Hustler. Just like in February, I paid and left, and waited ’til I was around the corner before putting my cap on to hide it until I could get home and do the best I could with it.