I'd like my car to be shiny and dent-free, but I can't be bothered. It would be nice if my desk were tidy and not a major vector for infectious diseases, but that smacks of effort. Similarly, I am at odds with this collection of hairs on the top of my head.
Two conditions must be met for me to get my hair professionally groomed:
1) I have to have muttered the phrase "Goddamn, I need a haircut" at least 20 times since my last haircut.
2) I must stumble across a barbershop/salon/scissor-factory that has no waiting line while muttering that phrase.
Then, and only then, will I suffer through the vanity maintenance ritual that is commonly known as a haircut. It's not that I hate haircuts, it's that I just don't give enough of a crap.
I've kept my hair the same way, give or take an inch, all my life. Early on in my relationship with wife, she made some subtle attempts to get me to change my hair style. I recall this actual conversation from our more lovey-dovey days:
Wife: Have you considered doing something different with your hair?
Me: Like what?
Wife: ANYTHING! ANYTHING BUT THIS!
Not being much of a mind-reader, I never quite understood what she was getting at. But getting a haircut is a whole different affair for her. She goes to upscale salons with names like (and, honest to god, I am not making this up) Architects and Heroes or Cowboys and Angels.
Oh, man, where do I start? I guess with indignation.
What the hell?!? Architects and Heroes would be a pretentious name for a firm that actually employed both architects and heroes, let alone just cosmetologists. I'm confused about why even one salon went with the Fill-in-Career and Fill-in-Mythic-Role madlib-style naming algorithm, and now it's some sort of trend?! Frankly, I don't even know how my wife managed to walk in there. Do you say to yourself, "My hair is structurally unsound and requires someone savvy with both blueprints and city permit legislation" or do you instead go with, "An evil super-villain has given me grey roots, IS THERE A HERO IN THE HOUSE??" ? Tough call.
(The mocking of Cowboys and Angels is left as an exercise for the reader.)
When my wife finally exits these places, she leaves with a bag full of "product". Even the bags themselves look like they're worth more than my entire head, let alone one of my haircuts. They're usually handwoven out of unicorn eyelashes and they smell like rainbows.
But I digress.
So, I'm wandering around San Francisco yesterday, trying to kill two hours while my car gets worked on, and I'm muttering to myself about needing a haircut, when I stumble across a mostly-empty salon. I think it was called Prisoners and Malcontents. Before I know it, I'm sitting in the special haircut chair, wearing my haircut poncho, and I'm being asked the question I can never answer: "How would you like your hair cut?". I gave my usual succinct answer.
"Well, uh...I guess nice. Yeah, nice. Maybe a bit shorter. Hmmmm. How about I tell you what I hate? I hate the hair over my ears. I trim that myself! (beaming, like an awkward five year-old proudly displaying artwork consisting of glue, glitter, and spilled apple juice) Also the hair in back is a mess. All higgle-piggledy! On top it's definitely too bushy. Oh, just make something my wife will like. Ok?"
Confident I had expertly explained what I needed, I sat back in silence, awaiting her masterpiece. No matter what was going to happen in the next 20 minutes or so, I was not going to kibitz. That would be like sending food back in a restaurant. I heard that the cooks spit in it if you do. Similarly, I keep my mouth shut in a salon. I definitely do not want my hairdresser spitting on my head.
For the next 30 minutes, the hairdresser took painstaking efforts to cut my hair to my exact specifications. She mercilessly trimmed the crap out of my sides and back. Those sections are now tapered down, ending in microscopically short hairs. Then, she just sort of waved the scissors at the top and front. Without exaggeration, I can honestly say that she cut about 3 or 4 millimeters off of the top.
Then, she used some sort of hair-yanking device. They LOOKED like thinning shears, presumably to address my bushiness, but she used them to just PULL the hairs out of my head. I sat there, gritting my teeth, while she wielded the yanking shears for a good 10 or 15 minutes.
My only distraction from the pain was when I looked down and was astonished to see that she had the hairiest toes I had ever seen on any human being. They were hobbit-hairy. I was only slightly relieved when I realized that those were MY hairs that had fallen onto her toes. Ewww! I can tell you that if I had a job that allowed pieces of other human beings to shower down on me, I would not wear open-toed shoes. But that's just me.
After all the debushifying (where was she in 2004??), she then rebushified my hair by fluffing it up with a blow-dryer and then hair-spraying it in place. I surveyed her work in the mirror. It was super short on the sides and in the back, and then tapered up into a big mop of neatly poofed hair on top. If you had given me a pony tail, and a couple of mod sidekicks, I would have looked like the guy in the middle here:
I hated it, but didn't really give enough of a crap to do anything about it. I said thanks, tipped her, and went home.
My wife was seemingly pleased to see that my hair at least looked a little different than when I had left. "Oh, it's nice!" she said a little too quickly. She persisted in saying that it was a fine hair cut despite my concern about the poofiness on top. It was only later that evening, once the house was filled with our friends for poker night, that she conceded that my hair was "a little 80's".
I tore off my legwarmers and we haven't spoken since.