some people, when seeking out human contact, get a haircut.

it’s primal, even monkeys do it. the manual stimulation of the scalp actually releases brain chemicals giving pleasurable and calming sensations.

seeing as i was looking a little shaggy, i decided to get a hiarcut today. in my youth, i had good experiences with barbers – they knew my name, and i could go to the barber and know that i would get the same man to cut my hair every time. they even knew that, when i walked in, i was waiting on him, and not the next available.

in the good old days, i used to get my hair cut, a good conversation, asked about my family and friends, caught up with the barber’s family, and a generally relaxing experience. even the customers waiting in the lobby would chat and catch up – seeing as we tended to go to the barber at the same time each week or so and meet the same folks every now and then.

personal relationships with customers, male customers anyhow, are not as easy to come by these days. it took years to find and cultivate a good relationship with a good barber. these days it’s damned near impossible.

anyhow, i strolled into the starbucks of barbers, great clips, and stated my name and phone number. despite the fact that they have my name, credit card, and other vital information in their national database, they still have to ask me how i want my hair cut. this is probably due to the fact thet i never see the same person twice in there. it’s like they rotate the beauty college dropouts every few weeks for a fresh batch. or else they drop off due to poor working conditions and inhaling too many toxic fumes. how do i want it cut, they ask?

just like it is now, but shorter.

i’m not a coffee drinker, but i know a few hardcore addicts, and from what i gather, the coffee at starbucks can’t hold a candle to a cup-a-joe’s or jittery java, or some other hole in the wall where they roast, grind, and spit in the coffee personally. in a mass-produced, production line coffeehaus, employing college students for minimum wage plus tips, they can’t compete at the product level with the owner operated, low budget beatnik cafe, who employs the caffiene hounds, punks, rude boys, and goths that any respectable employer turns down.

and so it is with great clips

so they only charge ten bucks for a haircut, but what shoddy merchandise! and how do they train their stylists – because god forbid you think they’re just barbers anymore, they have to have a degree. some kind of license to practise upon the human head with chemicals and implements of torture.

i ask for a simple haircut, short on the sides and back, only a little longer on top, because, frankly, i suspect it’s getting a little thin up there. it’s sort of a u.s. marines, retired, look. i have to know the number of the clipper guard they use on the sides, or else i look like a fool.

you know those fleshy things sticking out the side of my head, miss? yes. my ears. please try not to lop them off while you’re grinding the clipper into my head.

and when i ask for the top a little flatter, so as not to look like a conehead, she has to call over another, more experienced, minimum wage plus tips colleague to do ‘this flat top thing’

so i don’t bother to ask her to straighten out my sideburns, because last time i did that, the girl tried to shave them off instead of trimming them. so now i look like some psychopath, with a bad, uneven johnny unitas haircut and joe namath sideburns.

and she expects a tip?

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