Tuesday, 6 October 2009

TODO: Some sort of pun on "hair"

I went for a haircut last night - a stressful experience for someone who up until recently got his hair cut at the very reasonably priced barbershop-of-the-parents.

Having picked a place based on it being on my way home from work (a glowing recommendation, I'm sure anyone would agree) and on having no queue (in retrospect, possibly a bad sign), I scored the odd-hairdresser-out. Where his four fellow barbers were mid-twenties and black-clad, with modern spiked hair, he was white-shirted, red-faced and looked to be nearing retirement age. I thought I'd be getting the experienced option, but in fact, I might have ended up with a gentleman trying out a second career. If this were the case, picking a career that required steady hands might have been a mistake, and though I escaped without injury, more than once I felt the smooth glide of blade on ear.

"What do you want?" is a difficult question. What I really want is to have a thinner face, or at least a face which can sport a short haircut without looking like someone has carelessly left a doormat improbably balanced on top of a flesh hot-air balloon. This, though, is not something barbers can provide, in my experience so far. Hence, I normally mumble something about fringes and then let them get one with it.

Get on with it, however, this one did not. He kept re-evaluating the length and asking for my opinion: "This long?", "How about this long?". I just said yes every time, though I wanted to say "I have no earthly idea what would look good - please just make it a bit shorter and not look like total crap. That's all I want". I didn't, because that might have been construed as rude, and I was at something of a disadvantage, having my arms pinned at my sides, while he had several pairs of scissors and a straight razor.

In the end he stopped asking me, and just combed my hair back and forth, occasionally cutting at random strands, while remarking "..is very long..." and "...is very strange..." under his breath. At some arbitrary point he declared himself done, and I escaped with a new do which perfectly matched my internal request of not being total crap. Satisfied with the result if not totally with the experience, I'm unsure as to whether to venture within again, in case I'm not so lucky next time round.

Seriously, though - do people actually know what to ask for in barbers? I have no idea how to describe what I want it to look like, except for "like it is now, except a bit shorter all over". Does anyone ever actually take in pictures, or point at the ones on the wall?

nicely-trimmed blogathon score: 6


Anonymous said...

I haven't been into a barber's for years, as I've used clippers on my own hair since sixth form. But, when I did, I really didn't know what to tell them when they asked. Usually I would say a fairly low number for the top, and a smaller number for the back and the sides. In the days when I didn't like having my hair as short as possible without being a skinhead, I usually pointed at one of the black-and-white '70s headshots that all barbershops seem to have that didn't seem too weird or outdated or crap. My hair never ended up looking like the photo and always seemed to come out okay, and it apparently gave the barber something to aim for without him having to check with me if what he was doing was okay every five minutes.

James said...

Mine's pretty basic - 5 all over, I actually prefer it a bit longer but this way it can grow into it and I don't need my hair cut too often. Also means it generally only takes 10-15 mins.

Now you've gone once you can start going back repeatedly and getting the same thing until they know what you want and there's no need for discussion.

Andy J. Wotherspoon said...

My most recent hair cut was quite a wonderful experience, I didn't even have to tell the barber what I wanted, he just knew and got on with it without another word. It did take a little longer than I'd expected, but he wanted to make a good job of it as he wasn't overly experienced. When he was finished I was very much satisfied as it was exactly as I had envisioned and didn't cost me anything at all.

Other than that my previous engagements with barbers have been a bit odd. The one my Dad went to usually took the piss out of me (in a freindly kinda way), which was probably because I went in every 6-12 months and had no idea what I wanted doing. Other more trendy versions have involved point at something in a magazine, being told that's not possible with your hair type and then given something which was mostly bland and uninspired by a trainee then paying for it (which was crap) and getting 50% off and having a proper stylist do it, but not really sure what I wanted doing so ended up with something bland and uninspiring again.

One day I'll go into a trendy place and say "Just make me look awesome" then sit back and relax.