Monday, October 25, 2004

Deluxe Barber Shop

My 11 am appointment cancelled today, so I decided to get a hair cut. Lately I've been going to the Deluxe Barber Shop, rather than my long time stylist. Why? Well, I can be in and out of the Deluxe Barber Shop in about 15 minutes, and the cost is about one third that of my stylist.

The shop is not open on Mondays, I've discovered, despite what the sign on the door says. If you come right at noon, or around 4:30, there will be a wait. But between 10 to 11 am, they'll sit you right down.

Places like the Deluxe Barber Shop were never very interesting to me, and I probably wouldn't have ever tried them if it weren't for a hair emergency one day: a big potential client scheduled a meeting, and I had a mop of hair that I was sure would kill the deal. It would have killed my self confidence at the very least. So I walked in, sat down, and before long I had the hang of the place. Dan knew just how to cut my hair -- he didn't even ask me how I wanted it. You sit, and he just starts cutting.

Dan is the older old guy who has been running the shop for the past 40 years. He knows everyone in town, and can gossip about whats going on in city hall and in local development. Barry is the younger old guy. If you walk in to the shop and neither Dan nor Barry is busy, and if you do NOT ask for Barry, you'll get Dan. That's the pecking order. I don't know that one of them is better than the other.

At the Deluxe Barber Shop, you will not find women. I take that back, because once I saw a women there who had brought in her 12 year old son to get a buzz cut. But still, to see a woman there is unusual, and unofficially, they seem to need a male escourt; even a 12 year old will do.

There are deer mounts on the wall in the Deluxe Barber Shop, and some old Playboy magazines in the rack next to old hunting mags. A big old woodcased television sits on the floor, but I've never seen it turned on. They sell those bright red, oval shaped "pocket combs" for 99 cents. A row of chairs lines the east side of the shop, and that's where the regulars come and sit and talk to Dan (and sometimes Barry). Regulars can hang out there and need not necessarily have their hair cut. I haven't figured out all of the regulars yet, but from the chatter in the shop, I take it that some kind of old-guy right wing political group has made the Deluxe Barber Shop their base of operations.

Today, Dan was complaining about the last guy whose hair he cut. "Do you smell that?" he asked, sniffing the air? There was something there, but I couldn't guess what. "That last guy must smoke 'bout a dozen cigars a day. I never smelled it so strong in 40 years of cutting hair." The conversation quickly turned to a proposed local ban on smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

After my haircut, we went to the till. I gave him a 20 and he pulled out a stack of ones. "Geezus!" He said, waving the bills from the till in the air. "Smell these!" I sniffed, and sure enough, there was an unmistakable, very strong smell of cigar. "These were from that smokey bastard," he said, setting the pile of ones to the side.

Today's lesson: Not sure. Cigars stink?

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