Of Barbershops, Faux-Hawks and Germs

The other day we went with Jeff to the barbershop to hang out while he got a hair cut. (I know, you’re realizing how boring your life looks in comparison to mine, right?) As I sat there, attempting to read a magazine article about helping  your child avoid toxic friendships, I began to notice things happen around me.

The girls like going to this barber shop because they have a little area where kids can play. (Jeff likes it because he can get a haircut for $13 dollars.) There’s a table and chairs, a bookshelf with dolls, cars and stuffed animals and a couple of coloring books and stubs of crayons in a box. As the girls were happily “cutting” the hair of dolls they found there, I became aware of how uncomfortable it made me to see how really dirty all the toys were. (I try hard not to freak about things like that. Really. I do.) But when Kate brought over two stuffed dogs that were looking like they had been held by every child in Lancaster County, I began to feel that crawling feeling. (You know what I mean.)

Then I noticed one of the barbers trying to talk a seventeen year old fellow into getting a faux-hawk. The boy, however, after giving it some thought, mentioned that his mom would much prefer it if he didn’t. The barber asked, “Who’s payin’ for this haircut? You or your mom?” I didn’t hear the answer, but I did notice the young fellow leaving the establishment without a faux-hawk.

Toward the end of our stay, a dad came in with a boy, who looked to be about 7 or 8. As they came in, the boy said, “Dude!” To be honest, I get a real kick out of hearing young boys use this word. It’s not, as you might assume, a one-syllable word. This, when used by the male of our species, requires at least two syllables. And the second syllable rises in a way that’s hard for me to describe. Anyway, this was not the “Dude!” you would hear when a boy enters, say a Lego store, or goes to a rifle range. This was distinctly a disgruntled, “Dude!” My guess is that it was much more of an “I can’t believe I’m stuck spending the next 30 minutes of my life in this place with two girls!” — kind of “dude!” I felt for the kid. But he’ll get over it. I’m pretty sure.

After about 30 to 40 minutes Jeff had earned his turn in the chair. There were four or five people cutting hair, but only two of them were men. Jeff has had better success with the male barbers in this particular shop. So, it seems, have most of the patrons who were in the place, because there was about a half-hour wait to have one of the men cut your hair — but not so long a wait for the female barbers. I do have to say, only once do I recall going to a place to get a haircut and finding, to my surprise, that a guy was going to be cutting my hair. Honestly, I was uneasy about the situation. If I remember correctly, he was a fellow that looked like he’d have been more at home on a football field than at the local HairCuttery helping women find the new do they’re looking for. It’s been so long now that I really have no idea whether he did a good job or a lousy one. What I do remember is how difficult I found it to trust my hair to someone of the opposite gender. Therefore, I bear no hard feelings toward men for preferring to have a man cut their hair.

Before long we were on our way out. Each girl  had a rather large lollipop in her mouth. Did I mention that’s the other reason they like tagging along to Daddy’s haircuts? And me? Well, I go because it seems a shame to miss out on a family outing, tame as it is, on a Saturday. I also find it an interesting place to sit and observe.

I never did finish the article which, undoubtedly, would have revealed the secret of dealing with my kids’ less than healthy friendships. I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge — without Good Housekeeping‘s assistance — when I come to it.


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