It's been at least ten years since I last set foot in a real barbershop. In all that time I haven't just let my hair grow; I have gotten my hair cut, just not professionally. And no, I don't try to cut it myself. Mary is the designated barber in this relationship. She is definitely not a professional stylist, but as you can see from the picture, I'm not exactly "stylin."
Once upon a time I actually had longish hair, never shoulder length or ponytail possible, but long enough to be reasonably hip for the time. We're talking late 60's here and into the 70's. Then while still fairly young, in my 30's, I started turning gray.
That was not unexpected since both my parents were gray forever. I was never particularly vain about my hair color. I figure if you were meant to be gray, go with it.
As time went on, though, I got more and more annoyed with my hair, constantly having to comb it and wash it and cut it. Still, going to the barber was always an enjoyable experience back then. The shop I frequented had three barbers and a loyal clientel that made for a sometimes boisterous atmosphere filled with manly banter and the sometimes mildly off-color joke. The conversation always made for a lively half hour of testosterone laden commentary on the issues of the day. I guess it was worth the ten bucks I paid for the entertainment as well as the haircut. But as I got older, I became even less concerned with the way my hair looked, so those visits to the barbershop became more of a luxury than a neccesity. So I recruited Mary to become my live-in barber, since I decided that short is best, and anyone could run a clipper over my head and mow down the excess growth found there.
She took to the new chore with relish. I have on occassion questioned the wisdom of allowing her near my neck with a sharp object, but so far I haven't lost enough blood to worry about. The banter does leave a bit to be desired however. Now the conversation goes along the lines of, "why do old men grow so much hair in their ears? That's so gross. And your beard is so shaggy, why don't you trim it more often.
Your eyebrows are just creepy the way they get so long. You really have to do something about those nose hairs." All this from the woman who professes to love me.
I suppose saving the ten bucks (it must be closer to twenty by now) is worth the abuse I have to tolerate. Plus there is no tip involved. And occasionally I get to smack her on the ass when she gets too rambunctious. When was the last time you got to do that to your barber? And when was the last time your barber kissed you on the head when your haircut was done? I may have to reconsider that tip.