Rob Taylor: Nothing Gets in the Way of My Hair Appointment
March 24, 2008
I was part of the Great Male Migration in the 80s ” ditching barbershops in favor of hair salons. It was personal for me, liberating. And if anyone had it coming, it was my ex-barber.
He was a one-trick pony, attacking men’s hair with tunnel vision and crude instruments, like hair was the enemy and needed to be eradicated.
He didn’t stock the waiting area with men’s hairstyle books. Why bother? Everyone walked out of his shop with the exact same haircut.
But he wasn’t pure evil. He had three things going for him: He was cheap, fast and available (no appointment necessary). Even so, his faults outweighed his virtues and he reeked of Old Spice. The anchor tattoo on his forearm didn’t bother me.
The last straw ” the thing that pushed me out the door ” was the thrill he got from using that long, sucking hair hose contraption. I think that he kiped it from a car wash (the 50-cent vacuum cleaner). During my final visit, he left “hose hickies” atop my scalp. Luckily, I wasn’t married at the time or I would have had some serious splanin’ to do.
I always wondered if he owned the butcher shop next door. Surely, hanging slabs of meat could have used a man with his talents. I never had the courage to ask.
It was he, and he alone, who drove me to hair salons. Locally, I’ve had good luck with stylist Tracy at Shear Design.
“The usual?” she asks before cutting, just in case I get a wild hair.
That’s what I like about her: She asks, gives me choices. Tracy has been working her magic on Grand County’s men for years. If I hit the salon every three weeks or so, she keeps me from turning into a human Chia Pet. It’s $15 well spent. I tip her $5 out of sincere gratitude, mindful of my barbarous past.
I have no salon war stories. It’s all good. In my book, salons are crucial to civilization ” nearly as important as food, water and shelter. Salons are my ounce of prevention, keeping me from looking uglier than called for. Still, once in a blue moon, life’s curveballs force me to reschedule.
Others are not so flexible.
A few weeks ago, my Red Dirt Hill insiders ” Patty Dolan (who wears a “bob”) and her dog Rascal (who has naturally curly hair) ” fed me a surprising AP salon story.
In Soldotna, Alaska, 73-year-old Della Miller crashed her car through the local salon’s front window, causing more than $15,000 in damages. No one was injured, despite the fact that one patron was “knocked 6 feet across the room.” The salon did not press charges. Della kept her hair appointment.
After digesting the news, I was burning with questions. Does Joe Friday work for the AP now? He did a bang-up job of providing “just the facts.” But what about the 800-pound gorilla? Paul Harvey and everyone else want the “Rest of the Story.”
Was Della playing “Death Race 2000,” racking up points for nailing pedestrians? And what about this catapulted customer? Was it personal? Was she trying to steal Della’s appointment? Just how many episodes of “Starsky and Hutch” has Della seen? So many questions.
I wonder if investigators found evidence of Old Spice. Perhaps she was exposed to the sickly, sweet aroma that lingers in barbershops, and she just snapped. That would explain it: Either the stylist took care of Della’s hair emergency at precisely 3 p.m. that day or she feared another appointment Jack the Clipper and his hickey hose. That’s got to be it.
Like many of the walking (or driving) wounded, Della is damaged goods. The cure? How about a barbershop survivors’ help group? Facilitating volunteers are needed, specifically:
Therapists, preferably not bald ones;
Unarmed, un-cologned barbers (tattoos OK);
Voodoo dolls of the barbers’ likeness for group members;
Designated drivers, to prevent victims like Della from getting behind the wheel again.
Got an amusing scoop? “Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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