Saturday afternoon was jam packed with the kind of fun and excitement you only see in movies. Not only did I get to do some thrilling work replacing the wax ring on the toilet in our powder room, it was also [start echo-ey voice] Haircut Day [end echo-ey voice]!
I’d been putting off getting my own hairs cut for about a month, and was in dire need of work. Especially because, well, I’m old now, and my hair is slowly thinning out. Don’t be afraid; it’s nothing too terrifying or something I dwell on. But, I’m stuck with just enough natural wave and just enough loss that when it gets too long and sits the right (wrong) way, there are…gaps…in my scalp covering that remind me of a sock with holes in it (look, mommy, I can see that man’s toes!).
So why do I wait so long? The problem here is that I’m cheap, picky, and spoiled.
I refuse to spend more than $20 on a haircut for me. I don’t need highlights or frosted tips (which sounds like a cereal to me), a style, or any of that kind of nonsense. I just need a decent #2 fade with some scissor work across the top. It’s a 10 minute job. The Puddinette spends…well, more than that, but only because I make her. She’s always trying to convince me she should get the $10 special at the local Hack-n-Clips place and then grab a box of color on the way home. I call BS on that. She does enough keeping the kids and myself on the straight and narrow and not living in our own filth that she deserves to take some quality time to get her head did by a trained “master” or whatever, in the kind of place where they’ll offer you a drink while you’re processing.
Just because I don’t deem my own head worthy of that kind of pampering, though, doesn’t mean I’m easy either. Typically, the scissor cut I get with my #2 is never short enough for my liking the first time around. I’d say that easily 90% of the time, I ask to have a little more taken off the top. Why? Well, because getting a haircut is the kind of thing I always put off. The shorter the top is cut, the more time I have to procrastinate.
Ok, yes, I pre-plan to put it off later. Don’t judge me.
Appointments are a must too. I refuse to go to a place that only does walk-ins. Not only am I So Important that I don’t have time to wait somewhere between 10 and infinity minutes for my turn in the chair, I have extremely bad luck with that kind of thing. I used to go to an honest-to-God barber, with a striped pole and everything, but they didn’t do appointments and only worked about half the possible days in any given calendar year. I often joked that it always took me two trips to the place for a ‘cut because invariably they’d be closed for International Carp Appreciation Day or something equally senseless the first time I dropped by looking to have my mop reduced. Eventually, I realized that the joke was on me and decided that if they wanted me as a customer, they should be working around my schedule, not vice-versa.
Eventually, I got lucky and found the perfect place. It was one of those sports-themed franchises with TVs at every station permanently set to ESPN. Better than that, though, was my girl/stylist/hair specialist(?). I only had to tell her one time that I wanted the top cut extra short, and she never forgot. It was always right the first time. And she didn’t make forced conversation just to be talking. Sure, we often talked, but it was never the kind of generic crap that so often finds its way into awkward small talk. I know I should work on it, but the fact is that being asked “how was your weekend”, “got big summer plans”, or “how ’bout that weather” makes me want to claw my eyeballs out and serve them on toothpicks with dip.
Unfortunately, though, because either I’m cursed or she was, our happy hair relationship was doomed. She ended up with all kinds of unfortunate arm/shoulder/neck issues due to repetitive stress. Turns out that cutting my noggin extra short wasn’t good for her. Hopefully she’ll be better someday soon and finds a job that doesn’t lead to ridiculous pain.
Unfortunately, without her I’ve been flailing about trying to find an adequate replacement. Because the boys needed haircuts on Saturday too, I decided to just get mine done where we took them. The girl who was unlucky enough to draw my name had the oldest and/or cheapest set of clippers I’ve ever seen, and proceeded to use some kind of torturous sawing motion to trim my head down.
It felt very much like she was digging a hole to China through my skull.
When she was finished I had to ask her to cut some extra off the top, even though I gave her the warning beforehand. The whole thing seems kind of uneven to me now, and oh yeah, I had to change my shirt the minute I got home because she didn’t get my neck brushed even remotely right, which meant I was itching more than a frat kid after his first trip to Tijuana.
Plus, she asked if we had big weekend plans. Clearly there will not be a return visit.
Mental note to service professions: if a guy comes into your establishment with four children, it is safe to assume that his weekend plans won’t be “big”. Most likely, his plans will include nothing more exciting than sitting alone in the dark for a few hours with a fifth of Jim Beam, just appreciating the quiet.
So, four to six weeks from now, looks like I’ll still be in the market for a hair….cutter. Anyone want to make $20 bucks?
Screw it. I’m shaving it off*.
*But not really. Not yet. The Puddinette won’t let me.