For me, taking time to get a haircut ranks down there along with buying socks and underwear as among my least favorite uses of time. The arrival of long hair styles for men during the sixties was a tremendous relief from the every 2-weeks, “high and close” military cut of my boyhood. My father, being among the millions of WWII veterans, specified the “high and close” style he learned from the service.
The advent of long haired men’s styles spelled the end of the traditional barber shops where guys with names like Charlie and Bill made their livings at $1.25 per head. For those of us who embraced the longer styles, Charlie and Bill no longer knew what to do and we had to find other haircutters. Early on this meant a trip to a ladies hair salon and varying experiences with a wide variety of girls and ladies who always wanted to “do different things” with our hair. They made their livings at $10-$15 per head; but that was O.K. since you weren’t getting your hair cut as often…usually once per quarter—3 or 4 times per year, instead of the 26 times per year of the “high and close” days.
Now, getting your hair cut was usually no more enjoyable at the ladies salons. Their patter was never the spirited “man cave” gossip it was at Charlie and Bill’s place, but now and then you got a pretty young thing as your hair cutter. Sometimes the cut was good, sometimes not; but, the ever-present proximity of their…well, sometimes the cut was kind of fun and always worth cleaning yourself up for the visit.
This August, for the first time I can recall, I failed to clean myself for the visit. In fact, it was an unplanned stop. I was hot and sweaty from the morning’s fix ‘em up project and returning from the home repair emporium with the necessary parts to finish the job. On my way by the haircutter joint, I saw there were no cars parked in front. Ah-ha, a chance for a walk-in, sit down, get it done kind of quick stopover. And so it was.
Well, my skuzzy appearance notwithstanding, it was a very nice haircut. And no waiting, either. Charlie and Bill never stood a chance, did they?