I went in for a classic barber haircut about two weeks ago at Pappy’s Barber Shop on El Cajon Blvd.
This was a single antique barber chair located in the back of a tattoo parlor. The barber was a 24-year-old guy who’d gone to barber school (he is not Pappy; he is one of Pappy’s minions). He wore a classic barber smock, and he gave me a haircut, shaved the back of my neck with a straight razor, and massaged my shoulders with two of these handheld barber massage machines. They look like this.
This is now a trend, according to an article I read somewhere that I can’t find a link to now. Classic barbershops are cropping up all over the country. It was the kind of experience you usually see in gangster movies.
They do hot-towel shaves, too, which I’ll try one day for a special occasion.
The barber seemed surprised when I asked him to trim my ears and eyebrows. “We don’t usually do that but since you asked…. ” he said. I was surprised at his surprise. but he was 24 years old, and I suspect all his clientele is under 30, mostly under 25, and so he lacks experience with the out-of-control eyebrows and ear hair a guy gets after he’s 45. And that’s not even talking about the nostril hair. Let’s not talk about that.
I liked the classic barber experience, and it was inexpensive, only $17. But it was a bit too much of a production to make a regular thing out of it.
Plus I did a little haircut experiment. Ten years ago, I decided my hair was sparse enough that the only way to avoid looking ridiculous was to start getting it cut really short, with a #2 clipper all over, about 1/8″ long all over my head. That’s the only haircut I have had since, except for twice when I went totally crazy. Once I went for the #1 clipper, which is even shorter than the #2.
And a few months ago, I was really out of control and said make it as short as you can without actually shaving my head. And they gave me a trim with something called a #0 clipper.
When I went to Pappy’s, it had been a few months since I had a haircut, and I wanted to do something different. So after brief consultation with the Hair Styling Professional, he gave me the #3 trim up-top, and a #2 and #1 along the sides.
And it’s been a couple of weeks and I don’t like it.
For one thing, I don’t really have a good conception about just how bald I am in the back. It seems to be neurologically impossible to form a mental picture of the entirety of your own head. From the front-on view, which is the only way I can visualize it, my hair looks merely thin. But I suspect an outside observer would say I am mostly bald. And the #3 clipper on top doesn’t look good from any angle other than the front. Or so Julie tells me, and after inspecting my scalp while standing between two mirrors, I believe her.
Normally, I’d wait a couple of more weeks to get my next haircut. The new haircut isn’t that bad. But a week from today I’m off to an all-hands corporate meeting, during which photos will be taken. And I suspect these photos will replace our existing profile pictures on our various websites. I’ll want to look my best for those photos, if only because I’ll be looking at them several times every workday for a very long time. So it’s off to get another haircut later today, and this time I’ll just go back to Hair Cut Pros, the Vietnamese place I’ve been using the past couple of years.