Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Barbery Tales

Yesterday I wrote about some experiences in barbershops. And after I posted it--of course--I thought of a few other barbery things of equally dubious merit.  Actually, tonsorial is the vocab word we want: adjective--of or pertaining to a barber or barbering: the tonsorial shop.

At impecunious times in my adult life I've tried to economize in various ways.  In the 60s and 70s I just let my hair grow, rarely cutting it at all--a real money-saver.  And shagginess was cool then.  I was shaggy, therefore cool.  Simple.

Later, the wife of a friend cut it a couple of times.  But I felt kind of weird about that (I think he did, too), so I stopped.  There seemed something oddly adulterous about it.

And when I retired from public school teaching in 1997, I decided to adjust to Pension Living by saving a few bucks at Best Cuts.  That was not a good idea.  Although the price was right, the cost was not.  First of all, I never got the same cutter twice (a problem).  Second, I noticed that after my tenure in the Best Cuts chair, my hair lacked a certain ... symmetry.  The hair on the left side of my head seemed not to be communicating with the right side.  I looked ... out of balance.  Maybe even disturbed.  We can all tolerate another person's odd hair as long as we can detect in it some sort of intent.  But I looked just plain deranged--as if I'd been living in a remote commune and cutting my own hair by moonlight with a Bowie knife, sans mirror.

And here's a snippet of actual (remembered) conversation with a Best Cuts cutter:

DAN [after describing what he'd like to occur on top of his head]: And could you trim the beard a little, too?

BC [pause]: How do you do that?

DAN: Never mind the beard.

I bought an electric trimmer and did the best I could for a couple of months.  Then--alarmed at what the mirror was telling me--I decided I'd go back to a real barber.  Who--I swear--took one look at me and asked me how many months I'd been going to Best Cuts.

I've actually had very few hairstyles in my life.  In boyhood--as I mentioned yesterday--it was basically a buzz-cut.  Later, maybe when I was in sixth grade, Old Grover ventured into Creative Land and buzzed only the 90% in the back.  In the front, he allowed a little ridge of hair to rise, right to left, like a bit of grass the mower missed.  This he then solidified and accentuated with some butch wax.  I kept that look for a few years.

In junior high, flattops became popular.  I had a good friend, Paul Misch, who had a great flattop.  His hair just stayed up there, naturally.  Mine, however, required thick sticks of pink butch-wax to keep it moderately attentive for a few hours.  But once I ran around in gym class or on the playground at lunch, my copious perspiration (see earlier blog!) combined with butch wax to produce an entirely new compound, whose principal trait was ugliness.

Finally, as I became ever more cool in high school, I started combing my hair over, using/stealing Vitalis from my dad to give it ... what?  I'm not sure what Vitalis was supposed to do.  But what it did do was make my hair look wet and to bequeath an odd odor that must have alarmed all nearby.

After my long-hair phase (of some fifteen years or so), my style has not changed at all.  Just the color.  Brown allowed some streaks of white to arrive in my thirties (very distinguished, I thought); the situation now is the opposite--white streaked with brown (not so distinguished).

I leave with my seventh grade class picture--1956-57.  I am in the front row, second from the left.  Fresh from Oklahoma, I'm in partial cowboy garb.  Note several things.  My sagging argyle socks, my rolled-at-the-cuff jeans, my buzzed hair.  And, best of all, the left hand of the teacher, resting on my chair.  He seems to be giving someone (me? my barber?) the finger.

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