Day 198: Barber or Salon

Where the hell am I supposed to get my hair cut? If I go to a barber, he ends up giving me the high and tight 35th Airborne division with a razor and a comb he pulled from a mysterious blue liquid that I can only assume is 50 year old Aqua Velva.  The only other people in the Barbershop all know each other and look at me like I’ve accidentally stumbled into the back office at Bada Bing. No one says anything while their friend in the smock starts spraying, cutting, shaving and breathing his 70 year old cigarette breath in my face. Are you guys even here to get your hair cut, or are you all waiting impatiently so you can get back to your plans of hijacking a Lufthansa flight full of imported cologne?

My other option is the salon which is only a half step more masculine than an Eileen Fischer outlet store.  I’ve never seen another man in there. When I tell them I just want my haircut, they cock their head like a dog watching synchronized swimming. “You don’t want it colored, waxed, and scented? What type of music would you like your hair to listen to while we shorten it?” Just make me look like I do now, but cleaner, but not so clean that I look like I just got through prison intake. I usually swallow my pride and say, “I just want it short and sorta messy.” They smile, knowing they forced me to admit that I want my hair a certain way. Then it’s usually half an hour of me closing my eyes and praying that I don’t come out looking like a jarhead while they attempt small talk which I respond to sarcastically and then apologize. They never know what to charge me so they just say some ridiculously large amount and I pay it.

You’re thinking there’s another option, right? The cool barber. I would rather my mom cut my hair than be seen in one of those Axe commercial sets. I feel like the minute you walk in they force you to read Esquire cover to cover, then face west and pray to George Clooney.  It’s just hair, guys, not a lifestyle. You can’t charge me $100 just because you’re under 40 and use a shampoo that smells like Irish Stout and cleavage. You end up giving me the 35th Airborne anyway, you just make me feel better about having it. And NO, YOU CANNOT SHAVE MY FACE. I know this used to be the thing back during WWII, but that was only because the layman couldn’t be trusted with a straight razor. Modern times have given us our own personal razors thereby  eliminating the need to pay a straight man for a homoerotic experience. The urge to moan as another man shaves your face is simply too strong to overcome (for me).

Here’s what I want and it actually exists in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’s a place called Vespa on 15th st. You walk in, they give you some espresso, or a scotch if you desire. ZERO effort at machismo. They’re honest with you. They say, “Listen, your hair pretty much sucks. It’s thin and sparse, so there’s really only 4 haircuts I can do that are going to look any good at all.” Just make me look like I don’t care even though I do. Apparently, that’s a number #3. Vespa, it’s time to open a franchise out here in the Jerz.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

2 comments On Day 198: Barber or Salon

  • You need a traveling hairstylist that comes to your house so your wife can explain exactly what you won't say. I do this. But, alas I am in Portland. And just found your blog and having four children, I think it's hilarious.

  • Don't they have Fantastic Sam's or Great Clips in Jersey?

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