This morning I had my hair cut by the deeply cherished Cindy in whose capable hands I have entrusted my tonsorial follicles for about 15 or more years. She’s very good at what she does and she knows my cranial contours and what looks best on me. And she has become a cherished friend – well, almost family, in my esteem.
I eschewed the conventional barbershop and began attending a unisex parlor a number of years ago. I like the ambiance and I like the fact there are women in the room, and I like having my hair tended to by a woman and the conversations that ensue.
I know some men are more comfortable in the old stripey-pole barbershops and they feel they are in their domain when Floyd, or whoever, can bore them senseless with the most recent hockey game’s highlights. I always felt a bit out-of-my-element in such places because I don’t know from hockey and I don’t care from hockey so I never had anything to add to the conversation other than silently thinking: “I wish the fuck you’d just shut up and cut my damn hair so I can get out of here!”
So, when unisex came about I, quite secure in my heterosexuality (not that there is anything wrong with those who run the bases differently – hey, look, a sports metaphor) was happy to be in a pleasant smelling girly (for the most part) place. It’s just one of those things. I mean, I know there are men who are uncomfortable buying lingerie for their lady love(s). Not me. I think it’s more fun than a picnic.
Anyway, my hair cutting experiences go back a long way. As do many of ours who are hirsute. When I was a young boy and my dad was an administrator at the Vancouver Vocational Institute, I and my brothers had our hair cut there. It was inexpensive and we always got the instructor to cut ours. Nice man. And it one of those odd coincidences of life I told my second wife about getting my childhood hair cut there by the instructor. The instructor (who woulda thunk?) turned out to be her favorite uncle. I thought that was just a bit cool. And years later, when she and I got (for a very brief duration) married, my old barber was at the wedding.
Anyway, there came a point in my childhood when I stopped going there because my dad became the night-school boss, so it was no longer convenient for us. So, I began going to regular old barbershops. Those of a certain age will remember them. They smelled of Bay Rum. Guys would sit waiting, smoking up a storm, and browsing the Police Gazette, a mag that contained very little information on crime prevention but boasted a lot of photos of scantily-clad ladies. Oh, and there was also True Magazine, chock-a-block with tales about huntin’, fishin’, and also warfare, with articles punctuated by illustrations also showing pictures of scantily-clad ladies.
When I was very young I had to take my place on a plank atop the barber chair. But then I grew older and taller and one magical day I got to sit in the real chair. I was becoming a man. It was almost as exciting as when I got my driver’s licence or lost my virginity. Well, actually nowhere near as exciting as the latter, but it was a biggie nonetheless.
Not much more than to say that today I got my hair cut. Thank you, Cindy. You are a gem.