19 April 2013


Welcome back. We had a problem here. No one knew where Paul went or what happened to him. If you called, his voicemail greeting wasted no words: I’m trying something different. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be back.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say his regulars panicked, but after having Paul cut your hair for years, they were a tad uneasy about offering their heads to a new barber.

Finding a Barber

When my wife Vicki’s father thought his hair couldn’t wait any longer to learn of Paul’s fate, he took a poll at the Saturday coffee hour and was prepared to try the recommended place. Vicki went along as a translator-interpreter after hearing the barbershop was a hair salon.

A local barbershop’s pole.
(Thanks to Vicki for the photo.)

On arrival, they saw no barber pole. Stepping inside the establishment, they took one look and decided to go elsewhere. Vicki exchanged pleasantries with the reception stylist; something to the effect that they were looking for a more traditional (i.e., 1950s era) barbershop. Her father just smiled.

Vicki’s trusty Smartphone identified other hair places. Those they visited, however, including those labeled “barber,” were far more, well, modern than Paul’s and mostly staffed by women. This, of course, is not a sexist sentiment or statement; it’s simply recognizing the new world of men’s hair cutters. OK, so it’s not so new.

My Haircuts

I’m sorry that I cannot portray in detail the salons they visited or, for that matter, any salon. Like Vicki’s father, I have never been within the confines of anything advertised as a hair salon, hair designer, hair studio, hair gallery, hair cuttery or something with clip, especially not clip joint.

In fact, at the risk of calling attention to my few remaining hairs, I will confess that I haven’t been inside any manner of barbershop in approximately 48 years. The last occasion was only because I won an award and thought I would need a real haircut.
Warren’s self-haircutting tools.

I started cutting my own hair in earnest when I was an undergraduate in college. I wasn’t trying to save money--haircuts were about a buck. I was getting the haircut I wanted and saving time.

Although I am still able to complete the task in no more than 30 minutes, from spreading newspaper to dressing after the shower, the actual cutting has become more challenging. It’s not my loss of dexterity with mirror, scissors and razor; it’s my loss of hair.

When I was young with a full head of flowing locks, a slip with the scissor was imperceptible or, at worst, covered by new growth in no time. Now that I’m old and down to the remnants, a scissor slip can be utterly revealing.

Wrap Up

Getting back to Vicki and her father, they eventually tossed in the old barber cloth and drove back to the first establishment. 

When her father responded to the stylist’s query of how he would like his hair by saying, “Short,” Vicki was called upon to translate. Being licensed and quite expert, the stylist went carefully to work and cut his hair short. Everyone was pleased. If Paul returns, we’re not sure what her father will do.

Thanks for stopping by.

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