Last night, after watching Vampire Show by Alan Ball, some of us got to talking about haircuts. Like “which candy is best?” and “[now-beloved cynical marketing campaign from childhood TV]”, I find this to invariably be a good conversation topic. Pretty much everyone has developed their own dearly-held system of hair maintenance, and they are almost always anxious to explain it in detail. Plus most people will have some self-deprecating anecdotes to share regarding ill-advised haircuts of yore.
But I wasn’t just looking to make small talk; I really have been looking for a new place to go. The lady who cuts my hair seems to have recently instituted a fuel surcharge, and that, along with the ever-more-absurd photo of George W. Bush that decorates her work area (and the increasingly uncomfortable discussions about Iraq that go with it), has got me looking for a new head maintenance technician.
It turns out, though, that I exist in an entirely different hair-cutting continuum than the rest of the world. I forget how it came up, but I somehow made it clear that I like to get a shampoo, or at least a rinse, at the end of the haircut. If I don’t, tiny bits of hair fall down my shirt and make me itch. When I finished explaining this, everyone looked at me like I’d just casually expressed my personal system for visiting prostitutes.
Apparently this post-haircut-shampoo behavior is shocking: they all place childlike faith in that stupid paper smock, and laugh at the idea of tiny, asbestos-like hair particles causing anyone sort of discomfort. Also, it seems that they get their hair washed immediately upon arriving for their appointments — and by an entirely different person than performs the cutting! Also: they make appointments!
This is all very strange to me. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I have had my hair cut several times now, and at a variety of different establishments. What Sommer, Emily, Kriston and Charles described is not in keeping with what I’ve observed at any of them. The female hair maintenance experience I can easily dismiss as irrelevant to my own. But… et tu, Kriston and Charles?
I have no choice but to reluctantly conclude that everyone is crazy but me. They’ve no doubt been unavoidably warped by the debauched, coastal salon culture that they were unlucky enough to be born into. I think that, without realizing it, I’ve been getting my hair cut in America — the real America. Places that dare to use the word “barber”, and which honor our troops and their commander in chief — the sorts of places where they keep dirty magazines on top of the coat rack, by God!
I will abandon this foolish attempt to find a new hair-cutter. I didn’t realize the chasm that yawned before me. Now I just count myself lucky. And non-itchy.
Incidentally, I hear that post-haircut shampooers are the key voting bloc for this election.