I swear I'm going to get out the horse clippers and start cutting my own hair; what little there is left. For the first time in my life I went into one of those nationwide salons for a haircut and they wanted 15 bucks for something you're gonna cover with a ball cap anyway! When I balked at the price I was advised that some men are routinely paying up to $200 to dine on organic cuisine, receive a scalp treatment, a back facial and a haircut all at the same time at metrosexual barber shops. Not me, I don't know what a metrosexual is and I never spend more for a haircut than I can earn in a day.
From my first haircut until I left town Curly Fullmer cut my locks. (So named because “Curly” was bald as a cue ball.) Curly was our family barber, as highly respected as our family Doctor, only smarter and more reliable. He even made house calls! None of my dear departed relatives went to heaven without one last trim from Curly.
Curly's one-room shop was attached to his house and his hours were whenever he was home. You didn't have to make an appointment, you just dropped by after school or after work. His shop smelled like Butch Wax and it wasn't filled with smelly shampoos or expensive “hair products.” He never tried to sell you hair fertilizer to up your bill which came to a total of fifty cents. The only drawback was that Curly only gave one style of haircut, the kind new Army recruits get their first day on the job.
It seems that one-chair barber shops like Curly's are disappearing faster than Republicans in New York City. It's a sad commentary on today's society that in the Yellow Pages I can find more places to cut a dog's hair than I can my own.
In my day men went to the barber shop and women went to the beauty parlor. Rich women went every week to read girlie magazines, sit under a hood the size of a 55 gallon oil drum to gossip and complain about their husbands. It was a tradition.
Curly would drop his clippers if he saw what has happened to the haircutting business today. The same person might cut a man's hair and in the same chair and with the same clippers turn right around and cut a woman's! Preposterous! I take one look at today's unisex barber shops and long for the days when men were men and women were no place to be seen... at least in the barber shop. To top it all off I understand that these modern day hair stylists expect a big tip when they're done. I guarantee that the only tip Curly ever got was to never bet on a slow horse.
In the clip joint I recently went to there was not a single magazine a real man would be interested in reading. In Curly's shop we found ancient copies of Sports Illustrated or, for the more intellectually inclined, Popular Mechanics. Curly's was the first place I ever saw a naked woman... between the covers of a National Geographic! After that shocking revelation my big brother and I timed our visits so we'd have a longer wait in order to catch up on our geography. I also learned from Curly that the mop-topped Beetles were sent to America by the devil to put him out of business.
At the salon the first thing the stylist said was, “How do you like your hair?” I never thought about it before but I guess I like it just fine, thanks for asking! What do they mean how do I like it? Curly never asked me that. He also never asked how long I wanted my sideburns or if I wanted my nose hairs trimmed. Frankly, I never knew I had any sideburns and my nose is the only place I can grow any hair so, please, leave it alone! If I wanted a pedicure I'd bite my own nails, thank you very much. And please don't hold up the mirror for me to approve. What if I don't like it, are you going to put some of it back?
The hair stylist also asked if I wanted a tint job or any highlights. The only highlight I ever got at Curly's was the time he suddenly got attacked by some bad tuna and had to vacate the shop in a hurry. One of the old guys waiting in the chairs finished cutting my hair. I must say it was easily the best haircut I ever got at Curly's clip joint!