Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Weekend Update 2: What Doesn't Stay in Vegas
Confession: Before Saturday, it had been at least a month and a half (maybe longer) since my last haircut. I've been trying to save money by not getting it cut as frequently. In the winter, I can get away with longer hair, as the summer humidity is not around to wreak havoc on it and make me look like a circus clown with a bad attitude.
But Saturday, I decided that I was tired of the epic battle to gel the mass into place each morning, only to have people at work tell me that I look "older" a few weeks before my birthday.
It was time for a trip to the barber shop. Click Read More to continue.
Since I've been going to this same barbershop for at least the last 6 years, I know that certain days and certain hours are to be avoided. For instance, you want to steer clear of it right before any holidays where photos are taken. This is because the place will be overrun with daddies and children. Or worse, mommies and children. It's worse with mommies because they like to over-dramatize their kid's fear of scissors and electric trimmers by talking through the entire hair cutting process, telling them how handsome they are while telling the barber not to cut it too short and bribing them with a trip to McDonalds after.
Daddies, on the other hand, like to plop the kid on the chair and sit quietly while reading outdated issues of Maxim magazine.
There are certain hours of the day where it gets crowded, so it's best to get there before 11:30 if you don't want to wait.
When I walked towards the barbershop on Saturday, it was 2:30, so I braced for impact, fully expecting that I'd have to turn around and come back another time. After all, things were not going my way so far. (see yesterday's post for full details)
I like to play this little game as I get closer to the barbershop. As the chairs by the window come into view, I brace to see how many are empty. One...two...three empty chairs today! But then I panic, wondering if the ever popular Eddie is not in, and his flock of loyal followers have decided to tough it out, rather than have one of the other, less experienced (and damn slow) barbers take a whack at it.
But I was in luck, as I walked in, saw Eddie, then took a seat. I usually try to make eye contact so that he knows when I came in. Instead, I took a seat and searched for a car magazine amongst the messy piles.
Fact: Women in hair salons like to gossip. Men in barbershops like to brag. Blowhards, as I like to call them, seem to thrive off this when waiting to get a haircut. It's a ritual, one I've observed many times. And the more outlandish the boasts, the better.
One of the guys brought up Las Vegas, and Eddie said, "No, I'm never going there." I wanted to chime in and say, "Is it because it's so fake and plastic that not even the tap water is real?" But I did not say this. As the conversation turned to strip bars and gambling, I was relieved that I kept my mouth shut.
The blowhard was sitting casually with his legs crossed, his arm draped over the back of the chair next to him. "When I went, a thousand dollars a night I spent. A thousand dollars a night!"
"Wow," said Eddie, reaching for the scissors.
"My friend, he makes like one-fifty a year, you know, has his own business, brings like 15 thousand dollars to spend, to waste...to destroy!" he said, arms flailing wildly in the air. He emphasized the word "destroy" like some kind of dictator making a speech about his enemies.
God, what a stupid loser, I thought. And your friend, too.
"What about tittie bars? Do they have tittie bars?" asked Eddie. This was the blowhard's cue to ratchet it up, claiming that you can get "anything there" in the magical world that is Las Vegas.
I flipped casually through the pages of Car and Driver's August 2007 issue. "And what about STDs?," I wanted to ask, "Do they have crabs, too?"
I was so distracted by this that I didn't even notice that the guy who came in after me was now sitting in Eddie's chair. It's my fault for not walking in and yelling, "Yo, Eddie! What's UUUUP!?!" so that he'd remember my place in line.
Finally, it was my turn. I couldn't wait to have Eddie ask why my hair was so much longer this time. I was ready with my own blowhard-esque story: "Oh, Eddie," I'd say, trying to sound exhausted, "I'm busy buying an apartment in Manhattan. Yeah, gonna make a duplex. It'll be worth over a million dollars when it's done." I would emphasize the word "million" so as to make the other guys jealous. Isn't that what the whole game is about? Making the other guys feel like shit? This, I believed, would trump any tittie-bar-Vegas story, since most of the guys that come into this barbershop like to brag about possessions: cars, homes, jewelry, property, etc.
But it was not to be. Eddie was so involved in the vaunted tittie bars of Vegas that he barely asked me how I wanted my hair cut, instead turning on the clippers and asking, "number two?" right before getting to work.
"Yeah," I mumbled, while trying to give the blowhard the evil-eye through the mirror.
In the end, I was just satisfied to look human again, as locks of dried out hair tumbled down the black nylon cape draped around my neck. No matter how long I have to wait, or however many freaks I have to contend with, at least Eddie's consistent. That's why I'll come all the way from Manhattan just for a haircut. (note: not a paid endorsement)
Feeling confident, I paid Eddie, walked out, and headed for Starbucks. Things were looking up again. What could possibly go wrong?
To be continued...