JONESIE: Where real men go to get their hair cut | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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JONESIE: Where real men go to get their hair cut

 


OPINION


Eighteen months was long enough. It had to be done. I had to finally cut my hair.

It was one length, down past my shoulders. I hadn’t had it cut since COVID. That was my excuse, anyway. Truth is, I’ve been in a lifelong battle with My Hair, though perhaps not the way others do.

My Follicular War is about finding the simplest way to manage my mane with the least amount of effort possible. I like things simple. I have 15 identical T-shirts I wear every single day, just so I don’t have to think about my clothes. Hair’s not so easy. It clogs drains, or rains tiny shards upon the bathroom. I’ve tried it all. Shaved it myself. Grew it long, cut it, grew it long again. Anything I could do to avoid thinking about it, which of course, means you eventually have to think about it. A lot. Too much.

I found myself alone, downtown one Monday morning and decided to bite the bullet and just do it. I had no idea how hard it would be.

I whipped out my phone and Googled… what? What am I even looking for? A ‘hair salon’? A ’hair stylist’? A ‘hairdresser’? That’s where women go for this, right? I don’t even know what these things mean. The last thing I want is some kind of high-maintenance ‘do that takes longer than eight seconds to prepare every morning. So I Googled ‘barber shops’ near me. I walked to three of them because they were all closed. Seems like all of Kelowna shuts down on Mondays. What’s up with that?

The fourth one was open and I immediately felt like I was in the right place. This is where Men Get Hair Cut Good. It looked old school and awesome. I might get a nice clean shave, while I’m at it, I thought.

The last time I was in a proper barber shop was in 1996. Had a proper pole and everything. This old guy looked he was 100 years old. He cut my hair, every strand, with an electric razor across a comb; his hands were too arthritic for scissors. He also only charged $10, so who could complain?

This wasn’t that place. Lots of dark wood, antique features, leather aprons, set up for hot shaves. The barbers were all young men with tattoos, trading barbs and stories, not afraid of cussing among the clientele, not an ounce of estrogen in the room. I loved it.

I go to the guy who, apparently, drew the last straw to take me as a walk-in. I do what I’ve always done and showed him a picture of a medium-length coiffure.

“I dunno, something like that?”

He glanced and it and gave no reaction. He sat me in the chair and went to work.

“That’s confidence,” I thought. “This man is a professional. He doesn’t need to ask me questions, he’s got this. This is how it’s done.”

I relaxed into the chair. Instead of pointing me toward a mirror, he turned me instead to face the rest of the room, where I could devour the rest of this awesome man-space. The other five guys were working hard, joking with their regulars. I watched the bliss of a man with a hot towel on his face, then get a careful, patient shave with a straight-blade razor, sharpened by a belt. I watched them do skin-fades like masters, all while this dude clipped at the back of my hair.

After a half hour, he pointed me to the mirror again and asked me how I liked the length. But I could see my hair was still all one length, just shorter.

“The length of what?” I asked.

“Of the hair,” he said.

“You mean the back part? I mean, I guess so?”

He looked at me funny but said nothing else, just turned me back towards the middle of the room. The guy getting the shave left. A new customer that came in after me, was done. Everyone got turned once and I was still sitting there. Twenty minutes later, he whips me back around to the mirror and asked me about the length again. But I paid attention this time and knew he still had only cut the back.

“The length?” I said.

“Yeah… the length.”

I can see in the mirror, it’s a straight-up bob. I said: “Well, yeah, the back looks about right, but... do you want to see the picture again?”

He was wearing a mask so I couldn’t accurately read his facial expressions.

“I don’t see why you’re being so ignorant about this. I am asking you about the length and you’re not giving me an answer.”

“Look man,” I said. “I’m not trying to be ignorant. I haven’t been in a barbershop since before you were born. I don’t speak your language. You’re asking me about the length, I said it’s fine… but it looks nothing like this picture.”

“Well, you’re not going to look like that guy.”

“I know I’m not going to look like that guy,” I said. “But I kinda thought the hair might.”

Now, he’s pissed and still holding a folding blade of scissors around my neck. I’m confused and pissed off myself but I say nothing and neither does he. He flips me back around to the front.

Then it dawns on me. All the barbers are wearing hats with no hair below the hatline. Everyone I saw was getting super-short haircuts. The other barbers didn’t even HAVE scissors.

I... am in the wrong place for this.

Buddy just went right back to work, cutting the ends a third time, while I watch another set of customers come in and leave. I don’t even care anymore, I just want out of here.

An hour and a half later after I walked in, he whips me around to the mirror again.

“How’s the length now?” he asks. It’s a short bob just below my ears. I could have snipped it off myself with a ponytail and kitchen shears. I realize why he only glanced at the photo each time; he’s never used scissors before either and no intention of even trying what I showed him.

“Perfect,” I lied.

I said nothing else, paid the man, gave him a 20% tip, and left as quickly as possible.

My wife picked me up a short time later. I got in the car and looked at her and could see her disappointment.

“It’s my hair, what are you upset about?”

She put on her blinker, pulled into traffic, stern-faced.

“That’s the haircut I wanted to get,” she said.

— Marshall Jones is the Managing Editor of iNFOnews.ca


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