Saturday, January 31, 2009


I went to get a haircut this week. I have been attempting to find a barber for some time now. I used to have a regular at one of these “cuts” places. A very nice lady who, as it turns out, had a serious problem imbibing mind altering mood changing substances. Given my own propensity toward the consumption of such, and my thirteen plus years seeking respite from said malady, this did not bode well for the charisma I desire to elicit with my hair.

I will admit to a vanity where it comes to my hair. I have always received compliments on my majestic mane, and it seemed to be the one compliment that did not bring disquiet to my mind. I suffer from an affliction where it comes to my being on the receiving end of any accolade. For some reason, the accomplishments in my life feel empty and disturbing when voiced from without me. My best friend tells me it is my ego, and I usually tell him to embrace the south end of a northbound next-Great-American-iconic-author.

But why protest, one might say, after reading the gibbering and jabbering on this page and others. This guy has no reason to grumble about good thoughts and aphorism’s directed his way. Well it is my head, and the traffic in there is bad enough without anyone else trying to pass on the right, or any other such interchange faux pas. I like it and have no intention of changing. Besides, it looks cool when you close your eyes and wave your hand in the air while dismissing a flattering remark as “just doing what I’m supposed to.” That comes from the instruction manual I bought off the net entitled “How to successfully give an interview on the Jay Leno Show.” Humility is a bitch…especially when it is conjured and loaded with insincerity.

Yet again, I digress. I was getting a haircut and drifted into the world of male bovine excrement. Remorse is a much easier emotion. Anyhoo, (yes that is a word, a made up word, but still a word) I remember discovering that the young lady doing my hair began screwing it up, and ignored it at first in the hopes of a romantic assignation which, when it did happen, proved to be anything but the earth-moving experience I envisioned. When it did become a problem I decided to change hairdressers. The object of my adoration had a car wreck and ultimately went to jail, leaving me to discover my next object of obsession.

I floated around, aimlessly, trying this place, or that continually feeling unfulfilled. After several years, I discovered that the maintenance of my hair, and the subsequent difficulties possible, proved to be cumbersome and I walked into a barber college and told the student barber to take it all off. Burr cut like My Dear Sainted Mother would force me to get every year right after school so that it would be “cooler” on me for the summer. Reality was that my real dad would take me to the barber and he got tired of picking me up because it always entailed taking me out to eat…and talking to me.

Well I discovered that while it did, in fact, feel cooler in the summer, it also exacerbated the process. I have a job that requires me to appear neat and groomed. The haircut, at first glance, worked and it went well with the kids as they all seem to prefer the short look. Unfortunately, it required more attention. Previously, I would comb it and use hairspray to keep it in place. (I told you I was vain about my hair) Now, it seemed to grow faster and I am not dexterous enough to get a pair of clippers to do it myself. It needs to be cut more often because after about two weeks I look like the white guy in the terrorist kidnap movies (former Green Beret-turned mercenary) with the bad haircut, wearing John Lennon sunglasses that programs bombs for the main guy terrorist while translating everything into English for the hostages and authorities. Given that I was a truck driver in the army, and the sum total of my foreign language speaking acumen is the knowledge of how to find bars and girls in Spanish and German, I figured out that I needed to find a regular barber.

I tried the barber college and left satisfied about once every third or fourth time. Letting men cut my hair never gave me a gratifying sensation. I am . if anything, a creature of habit. While risking being tagged with the oft used title “sexist,” I have always preferred my hair to be cut by women. It almost seems that they are a better judge on what makes a man look good. Men always have to be told how to cut your hair. Except gay men hairdressers, who appear to have similar talents where it comes to making men looking attractive as the women. (After that remark I will feel just fine if I make it a week without being sued by GLAAD, or that cute little guy over at Super Duper Cutts name Javier)

I found a little shop operated by a group of Hispanic ladies, and it has become my tonsorial sanctuary. I enter and they smile at me. I sit in the chair and my coiffeuse, Alba, asks me how I am doing. As she cuts my hair they speak to each other in soft, melodious, tones using words which I do not comprehend. They greet each other when one walks in to start a shift, and wish me well when I leave. The haircut is always perfect, and it costs less then the Barber College. My coiffeuse is always there, and if there is such a thing as Nirvana for the well groomed, I would qualify for entrance.

I empathize with our new President where it comes to personal grooming. Upon packing and leaving for Washington, he reported that he would miss his barber. The Secret Service has told him that a barber would be brought in to him. I think this is a violation of his civil rights. I have come to feel safe in the ritual of going and getting my hair cut. It is that part of the week when I can think about absolutely nothing and just relax. I let the world go away and sit in the chair, listening to the soft sounds, and close my eyes and feel safe. I think that rituals allow us to maintain poise in our lives. I believe that a man should have rituals in his life to preserve that part of him that just wants to BE instead of being somebody. I think it is a requirement for a thinking man to have some time where he does not necessarily have to think. I think that I will go get another haircut. Peace.