It was that time of the month; time to get a horrible $12 haircut from Sport Clips. Maybe it’s never a good haircut but at least it’s cheap and involves hair getting cut. I walked from my car to the front door, much in the way I would imagine a person walking from their jail cell to the electric chair would, just knowing it’s going to be bad. The first thing I saw was a sign in the window that said, "We’re Always Hiring Interesting Stylists." This struck me as odd because when I go for a haircut my first thought isn’t usually "I sure hope the conversation is stimulating," it’s more like, "Does this barely educated person wielding mildly hygienic scissors know what the fuck they’re doing?" In fact, I have zero interest in talking with my stylist; I just want to stare silently at the TV while pretending I’m interested in sports. I mean, is Alec Baldwin in the back cutting hair? He’s pretty interesting.

I began thinking about how big of a jerk bald guy has to be to get a massage while people are waiting for shitty haircuts. I walked in and signed my name on the sign in sheet. There was one guy with a buzz cut in the waiting room who obviously didn’t need a haircut. The only other people there were two hairdressers and a bald guy getting a haircut. I don’t mean bald on top with hair on the sides, this guy was totally Mr. Clean bald. I took a seat in the uncomfortable bleacher chair. I immediately wondered whose idea it was to install these chairs. Nobody’s ever been to a baseball game and said, "Yeah, these bleachers are really comfortable, I think I’ll get a few for my house." Perhaps the worst part was waiting to find out which "stylist" I’d get. It’s akin to playing Russian Roulette with more bullets than empty chambers; there’s roughly one good stylist and five others you can assume have never cut hair a day in their life. If you wouldn’t trim your own bangs, it’s safe to assume you shouldn’t be sculpting a full head of hair (or even what’s left of it).

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Sport Clips stylists
Getting a bad haircut from a woman doesn’t feel so personal as long as it’s not your mom or girlfriend.
While I apathetically flipped through a July 2007 Sports Illustrated, I noticed the hairdresser and the bald guy get up and go into some dark back room. I don’t know what goes on in a backroom at Sport Clips, but I’m pretty sure nothing good or legal ever took place in a dimly lit back room of a place covered in human hair. They were back there for about ten minutes before returning to the haircutting area. The bald guy sat down and the hairdresser took out an electric massaging tool. That’s right, this guy started getting a massage in a filthy Sport Clips. Meanwhile, the buzz cut guy started getting his hair cut while I sat in the waiting room messing with my phone and reluctantly watching The College World Series, having already flipped through the entire back catalog of Sports Illustrated.

I began thinking about how big of a jerk bald guy had to be to get a massage while people were waiting for shitty haircuts, speed and price clearly the only two redeeming factors. I also thought about how pathetic your life has to be to get a massage at a Sport Clips. Does this guy just come to Sport Clips for the ambiance? I guess he enjoys the mechanical massage from a chubby woman with a damp rag over his face while listening to the fifth rerun of that day’s SportsCenter. I began to feel like Larry David in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, only I wasn’t yelling at anyone yet. For a minute, I considered the possibility that I was on Howie Mandel’s hidden camera show Howie Do It. I thought, "Is Howie disguised as a large black man? He is bald like Howie, so…." Then I remember they rightfully canceled that show.

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The bald guy finally finished getting his massage and proceeded to the register. At this point, my ass had been enduring outfield bleacher level comfort for about 30 minutes in the waiting room. I thought I was finally close to getting a haircut, then the two hairdressers couldn’t figure out how to work the cash register. You would think "operating the meager revenue machine" would be a requirement instead of "feigning an interesting personality." One of the hairdressers called somebody on the phone and said something like, "It’s not letting me enter in all the MVP stuff he got, like the hot towel, the shampoo, the massage, the beard trimming, and the backroom coke-fueled orgy." Not in the mood for another 30 minutes of waiting for them to fix the register and apply the hot towel-massage-fest to buzz cut guy, I got up and left.

The biggest problem, which I didn’t even get the opportunity to experience on this trip, is that the hairdressers obviously have no idea what they’re doing. I think they should be required to use air quotes when referring to themselves as "stylists." I miss the days of getting a quick, decent haircut by a stranger during a long awkward silence. Now people are watching TV; getting pampered, massaged, and shampooed; talking about sports; and eating pizza; all while getting a butcher cut from an "interesting" "stylist."

I’ve gotten my hair cut at Sport Clips for the past couple of years and every single time I leave there with a horrible mop, promising myself I’ll never go back. In a month’s time, I’m like Jack Shepard over the course of LOST: I go from "WE’RE NEVER GOING BACK!!" to "We were never supposed to leave, we have to go back…WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!!"  Well this time, Sport Clips, no matter how many coupons you send or how long my hair gets, I’m never going back.*

*I’m going back tomorrow.

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