Monday, September 15, 2014

Insert beauty-parlor-name-type "Hair" pun.

As regulars to this blog know, I hate getting my hair cut. My gentle, flowing locks are so roughly manhandled that---

Actually, I hate going in bald and coming out balder. My barber's main crime, as I noted last year, is not that he's bad at cutting hair, it's that he's no good at growing it.

Not a sign of miracles.
A man's barber is a totally different animal than other haircutters, a fact that I discussed with my barber last time I saw him. He'd asked me what I was up to and I mentioned that I had to take the humongous puppy for a grooming session.

"That'll cost you more than this," he said.

"If they charge me by the yard," I said.

He noted that haircutters who do dogs can make a very nice living, mentioning a woman of his acquaintance who groomed dogs and was booked solid all summer long. Downside: dealing with other people's frightened, nasty, poorly trained, and in a couple of cases even abused dogs. He had a story about a sheepdog that would make any dog lover sad.

"Well," I said, "you can still get in on the big money," noting that my wife spent a good deal more on her haircuts that I. The fact that she has a lot more hair is irrelevant. Even if she sported a short-n-sassy do, it would still be five times the price. Also, the loyalty inspired by women's hairstylists is as fierce and sometimes as baseless as the loyalty inspired in men by sports teams. You never see a sign in a barbershop window saying Pete Is Here!

"You could go into women's styling," I said. "Lots of beauty parlors around."

"Oh, no," he said. "Never again."

Turns out he'd spent several years on the distaff side of the tonsorial game. Despite being an older and heterosexual male he could do it all, the dying and curling and frosting and highlighting and perming and primping and God knows what else goes on in those places. He'd had enough. "They bring in the magazine and say make it like that, but I can't make it like that. I can only do the hair, lady; I can't do nothing about the face."

This is a guy I've known to shave the backs of other men (not mine; not that hairy) and he'd rather do that than handle women in a salon.

I gained a new respect for him, and for the stylists who do work in salons. And for dog groomers. Hair, she's a tough town.

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