A Tale As Old As Time: Getting A Haircut And Lying To Your Barber About How Great It Looks
It’s a tough pill to swallow realizing that your life isn’t on par with Justin Biebers. I’ll admit that over the past few months I was trying to emulate his style choices. I had a mustache, unkempt blond locks, and I was smoking cigarettes and just trying to look as sleazy as humanly possible. But as summer faded away and autumn crept in, I realized that normal, 9-5ers like myself probably shouldn’t have a stated goal of trying to look like an 80s coke dealer in Miami.
He can get away with looking like he’s got a bird’s nest resting on top of his head because he’s rich and famous. I however, have a desk job, and that sort of look simply does not abide when you’re on the wrong side of 25 and trying to move up in the world.
I sat nervously in a barber chair last Friday night and watched as a year and some odd months worth of hard work fell to the floor. It hurt a little bit to watch because I knew that by the time the hair stylist finished doing what she was trained to do, I’d look like every other asshole walking the streets of Chicago.
I had endured months of harsh criticism from close friends, family members, and coworkers about the appearance of my hair and shrugged all of it off with the quickness, knowing deep down that if I could just get to the two year threshold of hair growth with no barber or hair stylist touching it my hair would look better than most women that I know.
There were times during this period where I had some really bad hair days. But the bad day hair days were few and far between after I got out of that awkward stage where the hair wasn’t really long and it wasn’t really short anymore.
I had flow. It would have made many a lacrosse player blush had they seen me walking down a windy street, and goddamnit I was proud of it.
It got to a point where it became more nuisance than anything, though. At night as I would try to go to sleep and I’d constantly be brushing it back behind my ears. I was forced to wear hats almost everywhere unless I wanted to put it up in a bun because I simply could not stand those stray hairs getting in my eyes. I had achieved flow status, but with a few weddings coming up this fall I had no choice but to go in and get it chopped.
For what’s it’s worth I loved my haircut. It’s got Christian Laettner written all over it, and if I can’t look like Bieber, one of the greatest college basketball villains of all time will do just fine. But it could have gotten awkward there had she turned me around in that swivel chair and showed me some Sports Clips ass hatchet job. This happens to people all of the time.
When you go into a barber shop or hair salon and you don’t have a rapport with anyone there, the first thing you’ll get asked is simple - “What do you want?” I walked in with a picture on my phone of Christian Laettner during his time at Duke, but answers vary per person. Maybe you want a high and tight. Perhaps you ask for a trim on the neck and around the ears and that’s it.
So you’re in the chair, watching your hair get cut and twenty or thirty minutes later they turn you around and give you a mirror to look at the cut they just gave you. The hair stylist has taken precious time out of their day to cut it, and then they ask that question. That dreaded question.
“Well...how’s it look?”
This is a question we’ve all grappled with. You can’t just be like “Wow. You really fucked my hair up” even if you wanted to and it’s ridiculous but that’s simply the way it is.
You’re a paying customer, and in other business arenas if something was wrong we’d absolutely speak up. If you paid for a tune up on your car and the mechanic asked you what you thought of his handy work but the check engine light was still on when you turned the keys in the ignition, you’d say something.
If a doctor gave you a prescription for your allergies that you had to pay out of pocket for and that prescription didn’t work you’d absolutely call his office up and say so.
But when it comes to haircuts, that question - “How’s it look?” - is a difficult one to answer.
You’re in the middle of a salon that is probably crowded. You’ve made small talk with the barber for a half hour or so and you’ve both been cordial. And now you have no choice, no matter how good or how bad the cut is, to answer in the affirmative.
“Looks great. I love it,” you say with a forced smile on your face. Your barber could have given you the bowl cut from Dumb and Dumber that Jim Carrey rocks and you’d still give the guy a ten dollar tip and be on your way out the door. I’d like to say that we should rise up and give these people a piece of our mind, but we all know that’s never going to happen.
We’ll all just keep enduring haircuts that we’re not really feeling until the end of time because it’s deemed impolite to say otherwise. Death, taxes, and telling your barber that your haircut is fine when it’s really not. The three certainties in life.