twenty minutes of tiny snippets.


the barbershop had a black shelf full of magazines and children's books. most magazines were for men, stuff like popular mechanics, men's journal, and men's health. on the wall were pictures of people like george clooney and val kilmer. they always have the mix 96.1 playing on their portable radio. today, it was the two asian women. gabe, my usual barber, wasn't there. one of the women once asked me where i was going to school at the time. i told her seattle, and she told me she went to the uw. i don't know what she studied there.

today, i got the older asian woman. she doesn't say anything, and she cuts hair well, which is why i like her. when there's people waiting, though, she does a rush job, and i can feel her anxiety. when she finished, she asked me, "that okay?" i said, "could you make it a little shorter on top?" that's when she busted out the clippers and started going at it like mad. i really hate that moment when they ask, "that okay?" because obviously i just want to say, "yeah, it's fine," and be on my way, but i don't really want to come back for a long time, so instead i say, "a little shorter," even though i risk insulting the work she's done.

i've had barbers in seattle tell me that my hair is the hardest to cut. it's super thick, coarse asian hair, though, so what did they expect? once, i went to rudy's in the broadway market, and the "stylist" made it sound like i had been getting bad haircuts my entire life. he then recommended that i grow my hair out and come back, so that he could fix it. when i found out he charged $30 for a simple haircut, though, i opted to continue getting bad haircuts elsewhere. i started going to another place on broadway, aces, i think it was called, and the big, boisterous woman who cut my hair was pretty good. eventually, though, she left to cut hair some place else for more pay, and another woman took over. a few weeks before graduation, i told this new woman, "just a little off the top," and she practically shaved my head. so, again i had to take my mop of a head elsewhere.

i don't really enjoy getting my haircut, mainly because it costs money, money i usually don't have. maybe one day i will invest in a flowbee, like mr. mcquerry did. it seems to work well. when i stopped caring about my hair, i tried to get my cousin to cut it. she took tiny snippets, though, and after twenty minutes of tiny snippets, she had barely made a dent in my head. "alright, forget it," i said, "i'll just pay for a stupid haircut." i think the other reason i hate getting haircuts is not knowing what will happen. there's nothing worse than a really bad haircut. and the moment you have to hand over $8, $10, $12, $30 for something truly awful is the worst moment of all.

i once heard on the news about a guy who locked himself in the barber's bathroom because of a bad haircut he got. maybe he even held people hostage, i can't remember. he was pretty pissed. i wish i could've seen the before and after shots of that man. how bad do you have to be at your profession to make a grown man cry and shut himself off from the world?

1 comment:

ultrafknbd said...

I "learned" to cut my own hair many moons ago (be prepared to shave it all off) because, in no particular order: I'm a control freak, I'm a cheap bastard, and I'm a cheap control freaking bastard.

Besides, I liked the pampering. Couldn't handle it. Too much joy.

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Good luck up north!