Sunday, March 09, 2008

Good Bad Haircut

I don't like getting haircuts. It's not that I don't like the physical act of getting my hair cut -- I actually find it pretty calming, as long as the barber isn't trying to make me talk about whatever inane subject they happen to care about -- it's the result of the haircut that I'm not a fan of. Basically, every time I get my haircut I feel as though I'm paying someone to make me look stupider.

My hair and I have an interesting relationship. For the most part, I let him do his thing, and he lets me do mine. I water and bathe him regularly, and he ... Well, I'm not sure what he does for me besides keep my head warm, but I'm usually not too worried about.

I like to have my hair short in the summer and shaggy and curly for the rest of the year. When it gets too shaggy it starts to tickle my neck, so I know it's time for a haircut. This is where things start to go wrong.

I guess it's because I don't know the hair lingo, because when I say something to the barber about how I want my hair to look, they promptly ignore me and give me whatever the fuck haircut they feel like. I say something like "Cut the back, but leave the top long," or "Just trim up around my neck and ears." Invariably, I come away with about an inch of hair on the top and half that in the back.

I guess barbers just want to give my my money's worth by making my hair short enough that I don't have to come in for another three months. But seriously, I wanted shaggy hair. It might not be the best hairstyle, but it's what I wanted, and it took me a while to grow it out that way. Now it's short and I look like a tool. Thanks, barber. Here's your fifteen bucks.

So, exasperated by all of this, I went to a barber yesterday. I plopped down in the seat, and when she asked me how I'd like my haircut, instead of going through the whole rigmarole -- telling her what I wanted, her not caring, me smiling into the mirror and saying, "It looks pretty good," when I actually am wondering where all my hair went, and then paying her -- I just said, "Eh, just make it shorter."

I think she caught on that I have no idea what kind of haircut would make me look good. So, instead of asking me the regular barber questions that I never know how to answer ("What clipper guard do you want me to use?" or "Do you want a block or taper in the back?"), she told me what she was going to do. She looked at my head, ran her hair through my mop, and made expert decisions instead of leaving it up to me. She told me that I should cut the back to just under an inch because that's when it starts to get wavy. She told me I should get it tapered in the back because it matches my hairline. She told me that I should cut my sideburns to half-way down my ear to not hide my jawline. I just sat back and said, "That sounds good."

So, when all was said and done, I walked away not with the haircut that I wanted, but what I do have does look pretty good for what it is. I'd have to say that it's one of the better bad haircuts that I've gotten.


  1. i don't like paying for haircuts, but i have found that to get a good one you really have to shell out the dough. i went to this posh place in downtown about a year ago to talk to someone about doing lighting design for their Fringe show and i ended up getting a $40 cut while i was there, and while it was a bit painful to part with $40 that way, it was a great cut. and then right after christmas, charley's brother cut my hair at his brand new salon over in Jersey. it was free, but he told me it would normally cost someone about $70. wow. but it was a great cut, too.

    now i need a haircut again ... and while i really just want to stroll down to the Chop Shop, i'd rather shell out $40 for a haircut instead of $10 to get my head trashed.

  2. Well, two things are going on here. One is that most MIDWEST barbers and hair stylists don't know how to deal with curly hair.( I guess there's not enough diversity here in the midwest) To get curly hair to be as shaggy or full as you want it, it can't be cut as short as straight hair. Then number two is a barber is a hair whacker with no sense of art. It sounds like the gal you just went to is a stylist...a hair artist who looks at lines and composition of face, neck and body before just issuing a hair cut. I got so sick of dealing with bad cuts that for over 15 years, I've cut my own hair. Gives me a sense of power.

  3. Men and hair crack me up. It was painful to part with $40 for a haircut?? I would LOVE to spend that on my hair. Being the owner of long, THICK, wavy/curly hair, I an totally prepared to spend $80-$90 before tip on a style that will make my head manageable.


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