Posted in Life

Barbershop irony

“I’m going to get my haircut.”

“What time is your appointment?”

Someone who doesn’t frequent barber shops might ask that question. But that’s not how it works. You walk in, have a seat, take note of the guys already sitting there, and head for an empty chair when it’s your turn. You might wait four minutes or forty minutes. It just depends on how many barbers are working that day and how many are waiting ahead of you. You watch a little ESPN  on the TV, maybe page through an old magazine, check email on your phone or read whatever you brought with you. It’s all part of the experience.

One of the ironies of the barbershop is that no matter how little or how much hair you have a haircut costs the same for every one. From my dark brown-haired youth to my present silver gray, I’ve always had a full head of hair. But my haircut is $15 just like the guy ahead of me who’s only got a little bit of hair above his neckline stretching from ear to ear. I believe seniors get a $1 discount and a flattop costs a few bucks more, but those are the only variations.

All three chairs were filled up when I arrived yesterday and there were two guys waiting ahead of me. It looked to me like two of the barbers were almost done, so I was pretty sure I would get the third. I’ve been coming here for a while and have gotten haircuts from all three in the past. Plus, the guy in the third chair didn’t have a whole lot of hair.

For some reason, that third chair never opened up. Barber number three was experienced, but taking his time, and it looked like they were having  an involved conversation. The other two guys finished before him so I got the “next” from one of them. The last I glanced over, the third barber was precisely trimming individual isolated hairs sticking up from the top of that customer’s head.

Maybe it’s actually easier to cut a full head of hair like mine, because you don’t have to be precise. There’s plenty of margin for error. Not so when you’re down to your last few follicles.

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