When I moved, I had to find a new barber. At my first visit, I told him, “I have jug ears. They stick out like Dumbo’s. So leave my hair long right to the top of my ears so that it isn’t obvious.”
“OK,” he said. The clippers went zip, zip, zip. When I looked in the mirror, I saw I was sheared closely high up the side of my head.
On my next trip I said, “You cut my hair a little shorter than I like it. Be sure to leave my hair over the top of my ears.”
“OK,” he said. Zip, zip, zip. I think he knew how to cut hair only one way.
My wife suggested I go to her beauty parlor.
“I can’t do that,” I said. “I’m not going to a women’s beauty parlor.”
“Lots of men go there,” she said. “Try it.”
So I did. I felt as out of place as a penguin in the tropics. The (uh- oh, what do I call her? Beautician? No. Barberette? That sounds silly. Maybe hairdresser?) Anyhow, the hairdresser was very pretty and that helped. And I had to admit that she cut my hair exactly as I liked it.
But the place didn’t feel right. I had to make an appointment; I couldn’t just show up and chat with the other old fellows while waiting my turn. And the magazines! Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Glamour. What was a guy supposed to read if he came early or had to wait?
I started taking in my used copies of Sports Illustrated so other men would find something to read. I didn’t have the nerve to take in the swimsuit issue, but it would have been there in my old barber shop for sure. Once I found a catalog on the table from Victoria’s Secret and that was better.
I don’t know if men still hang out in barbershops. In a shop I used to go to in Oklahoma, the barber would have to throw the men out, because customers would see five or six men inside and think the wait would be too long. None of them was there for a haircut! I think old men like me mostly hang out in coffee shops nowadays.
One day I was in my old barber shop and told the barber a joke. “If you have your appendix out, it is called an appendectomy,” I said. “If you have your tonsils out, they call it a tonsillectomy. So what do you call it if you have a growth removed from your head?”
He didn’t know so I told him, “A haircut. You should have known that.”
A few minutes later he said, “I like that joke and I’d like to tell it to other customers. Let me run it by you once to make sure I have it right.”
I agreed so he proceeded: “If you have your appendix out, it’s an appendectomy. Right? Then I say, ‘If you have your tonsils out, it’s a tonsillectomy. So what do you call it if I cut your hair?’ ”
“No,” I said. “You’re giving it away. You can’t say that.”
“Why not? When I cut your hair that’s what it is.”
“Never mind,” I said. “Just don’t tell it.”
My new hairdresser is a lot smarter than my old barber. She gets my jokes.
I guess I’ll stick with the beauty salon, although the staff won’t have much luck in beautifying me. At least I don’t come out after a cut with my jug ears flapping in the wind anymore.