>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 41 – July 20, 2003

Now Playing: “Invisible Ink” by Aimee Mann

-I think hairdressers have needlessly complicated their business to justify having a school for what they do. They always ask me how I want my hair cut, as though there's more than one option. Take a little off the top and trim the edges, I guess. I don't even really care how they cut it, as long as my hair looks mantastic when they're done (that's right, I said mantastic. Deal with it). Have yuo ever gone to the barber shop and been asked how you'd like your hair cut and said, in response, anything besides “shorter”?

-When you think about it (and I strongly suggest that you don't), the whole barber shop concept is slowly being phased out. It's getting harder and harder to find a Good Old-Fashioned Italian Barber Shop with a candystriped pole out front and a good Old-Fashioned Italian barber who's been cutting hair for thirty five years and still remembers the good old days when things were done right and certain colored people weren't allowed on the golf course.

-Instead of Good Old-Fashioned Barber Shops, what we see are full-service “hair salons” where, instead of barbers, they hire “estheticians”. What's the difference between a barber and an esthetician, you ask? Two words: Bigger bosoms. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time trusting a girl I can swear I met at the strip club with a razorblade that close to my throat. Especially since I still owe her for that lap dance.

-You ever get one of those hairdressers who tries to make small talk by pretending to give a rat's ass about you? She'll be cutting your hair and start asking you all these personal, probing and insulting questions like “What's your name?” and “What do you do for a living?” I usually answer her with “I'm a comedian. What do YOU do for a living?” and she never gets it, which I guess illustrates why she elected to become a hairdresser in the first place. Just shut up and cut my hair, Goddamn you. It's harder for me to picture you naked when you're asking stupid questions. I keep thinking of my mom, and that's not good for anybody.

-Quote of the Moment: It doesn't matter if a salon advertises itself as unisex, it's still geared towards women. You'll look through the books of hairstyles and there'll be 200 pages of gorgeous women and then three pictures of guys at the back, each with a hairstyle that nobody would ever actually ask for, like a mohawk or dreadlocks. I was offered a magazine to read while they cut my hair. “Would you like a Cosmo, or something more for guys, like Marie Claire?” I think she was kidding, but it was hard to tell from the tone of her voice. I've never opened a Marie Claire, but I don't think it's very manly. Well, unless it's published by the same Marie Claire I went out with in high school, right before she got the operation, but that's a repressed memory for another day.

-I hate when they give salons cute names. You know what I'm talking about. Names like “The Hair Necessities” and “The Cutting Edge”. It's almost as though these DELICIOUS puns are supposed to make you laugh so hard that you'll choke on your own phlegm and forget all about how you just paid $80 (+ tip) to sit and read a copy of Marie Claire.

-I swear I was 17 years old before I found out you were supposed to tip a hairdresser. I mean, I had heard all those horror stories about people who didn't tip their pizza delivery boys and the next time they ordered a pizza the pizza boy spit in it or put a severed finger in there or something. Or how if you don't tip the hotel housekeeper the next day she'll steal money from your wallet and watch all sorts of pay-per-view porn on your tv so you'll have some explaining to do at the front desk. But with hairdressers it's a little harder to imagine what they could do. The only thing I can come up with is that some cheezed off barber will get fed up with a cheapskate one day and just lop off his ear, Van Gogh style. It's kind of like if you don't tip your cab driver, so he backs over you with his car and then tosses your body in a river. It's just not subtle.

-Do you remember when you were little and you had to go to the dentist so the night before you brushed and flossed about 8 times so that youcould trick the dentist into thinking that you had proper oral hygiene habits and then he wouldn't give you a lecture? Well, that's how I am with hairdressers. Before I go, I always take a shower and blowdry and brush and comb and gel and wax my hair so that the hairdresser won't laugh at me. By the time I'm ready to go to the salon my hair looks so good it's a shame to let anybody touch it at all. Welcome to my brain.

-I know a guy who won't let a hairdresser touch his hair if he doesn't like how her hair looks. This is inconceivable to me. I mean, she didn't cut her hair herself, so it's really not a very good gauge of her talents one way or the other. It's like going to a tattoo parlor and then backing out at the last minute because you don't like the tattoo the artist has. On his back.

-And, finally, I wanted to address my seemingly psychotic fixation with getting my hair cut. You see, when I was growing up I wasn't allowed to get a professional haircut because it was too expensive, so my mom did it for me instead. Now, my mom is a woman of many talents, of which cutting hair is not one of them. So I would come to school with these terrible hairdos and kids would laugh and make fun (“That's not a hairdo, that's a hairdon't!”) and throw ketchup packets at me. So I learned to cut my own hair, and that's how I did things until I was about 18, when damn it I was old enough to make my own decisions and I'd pay someone to cut my hair whether my mom liked it or not. ANYWAY, the point is I've kind of been traumatized because of this and as such am incapable of rational thought on the subject. To those who tell me the problem is all in my head, that it's 100% mental, I say: So am I.