I used to be one of those guys. One of those guys that would justify going to a chain-style barbershop, and why it wasn’t so bad.
“Bu-b-but they have an app I can go on! It lets me reserve my appointment right here! I can see how busy they are before I go in! I only pay $10 on Thursdays with my student discount!”
Eventually I broke down and had a quasi-philosophical conversation with myself about the subject. ‘Reagan, you care so much about your hair and how it looks, why do you skimp out on how it gets cut?’ I figured a $10 cut is going to look the same as a $20 cut. ‘There’s still mom-and-pop barbers out there for a reason. Something must be keeping them in business. Give it a try.’ Alright, voices in my head. I’m going out tonight anyway, I’ll listen to you this time.
Fast forward a few days, and cue a recommendation via a coworker to try the local Russian barber down the street. Hmm…Russians? Haircuts? The brain compartments and departments start churning… Have I ever met a Russian with a good haircut? Is he going to eat potatoes and slam vodka shots during the cut to keep his hands steady? Should I remind him of the 1980 Olympic Hockey Final? All I could think of was this guy with a pair of rusty scissors in his hands:
This particular coworker is hilariously sarcastic and I can’t take him serious sometimes. Hell, before our shifts, we mimic Globogym’s Purple Cobra knee slap-knee slap-hiss routine to get us going. This particular coworker isn’t afraid to ask someone he just met what is and isn’t off-limits in the bedroom. This particular coworker (and I) partake in comedic renditions of southern accents to create our own NASCAR and general restaurant commentary. The kid is a character. It took some convincing by him, but eventually he reassures me that the guy is legit and even does a neck shave complete with hot towels and warm shaving cream. Hot towels, I would soon learn, are a form of unsurpassed luxury in the male grooming world.
The next day, without an appointment made via handy-dandy mobile application (SHOCKER), I walked into the shop. 3 customers, 2 barbers, and what I assume was a barber’s child. I look at the sign-in sheet, and almost every single “barber preference” was “Danny”. Danny-Danny-Danny-blank-Danny-Danny-Blank-Danny — you get the point. Danny is a badass. Danny is the Russian dude my coworker was talking about. I’m greeted with a semi-thick accented “Haello sir” followed by a softer un-accented “Hello” in the background from the other barber. Want to know who cut my hair? Sure as shit wasn’t Danny, he was being waited on by the other customer. Kathy, you’re up…let’s see what you’ve got.
No starches or clear liquors in sight so far…shut up, Reagan.
Now, you’ve got to understand, I walked in this joint with some wavy surfer-esque hair that was halfway down my neck. I was proud of the mane I had bestowed upon my head, however, it was becoming too much (quick fun fact about Georgia in the summer: it’s fucking hot). I charged Kathy with the task of “high fade, cut down the top to about an inch.” You know those barber memes swarming around the internet where the barber goes, “Say no more, fam”? Yeah, it was kind of like that, minus the cheesy saying. Kathy knew EXACTLY how I wanted my hair done. Did Kathy have telepathy? ESP? Drugs? Didn’t matter, she knew what to do.
Side story: Not going to lie, Kathy. You astounded me when you began talking on your bluetooth headset to…whoever the hell you were talking to…in the middle of cutting my hair. You astounded me to an even higher level when you hung up on them and apologized to me about it. “They should know I’m at work right now.” You go, Kathy.
This fine woman cut and trimmed and cut some more. I have NEVER had a haircut take this long before, but damn it felt soooo good. She polished my hairs to a slicked-back perfection when all was said and done. And yes, I did get that neck shave and warm towel. Oh my lanta, I realized what I had been missing out on!
I began to realize that getting hair trimmed down isn’t just a necessary part of grooming. Like so many other things in life, it’s an experience. This particular experience is one that I’m willing to pay a bit more for. I walked out of that place looking SLICK. Not only did I look sharper, but I felt sharper, too. Kathy made me feel like there weren’t actually 2 people in line waiting for me to be done. She made me feel like she gave a shit! It shows, people.
Support local business and hit up the barber shop if you haven’t already. The people cutting your hair seem more human, and you won’t be treated like “just another person getting a haircut.” I’m a hopelessly frugal bastard, but I’m willing to shell out a little more for a good haircut experience now. Don’t forget the tip! Just the tip 😉