July 4, 2008


Groomed for the barber.


  1. Sheila Ryan on July 4th, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Is that like cleaning up for the cleaning people?

    Actually, Deron, I do this, too (though I do it for a Stylist, not a humble barber). Two impulses motivate me, I believe: First, I don’t want someone who’s obliged to have moderately intimate contact with me to be repelled. Sure, I know I’m going to be shampooed, but I don’t want to show up with dirty, greasy hair! Second, I have a sense that the better I look when I arrive, the better I’ll look when I leave. In other words, if I show up looking as though I don’t care how I look, it’s got to exert some effect. Sure, sure, I know my stylist (and your barber) are professionals, but they’re human as well, and we humans respond better to what is at the very least presentable than we do to what is disheveled and sloppy.

  2. Sheila Ryan on July 4th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Talk of “grooming for the barber” reminds me: finally saw Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd film the other night. Really fine. By and large I dislike musicals, and if you dislike musicals, too, you may like the film version of Sweeney Todd.

  3. Mike D. on July 4th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I’m with you there, Sheila. Every time I go, I find myself in the shower a few hours beforehand, glumly lathering and rinsing. “I shouldn’t have to do this.”

    And yet, that’s the ritual of the haircut. I shampoo my hair, so that the shampoo girl can do it again later. Then as I pay, the girl at the counter (they’re all girls) asks, “Would you like to extend gratuity to the stylist and/or shampooist?” Well, gee, when you put it like that. The stylist, of course, but I always give the shampoo girl a couple bucks for washing my (clean) hair; I’ve given up trying to figure out the system, and am relying on karma at this point.

  4. Sheila Ryan on July 4th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I wonder (in my case) whether some deluded egalitarian resistance to the master/servant relationship comes into play. I have always felt hideously uncomfortable in the presence of anyone I’m paying — paying! — to do work in or on my home. If the someone is cleaning or anything else I’m capable of doing, I’ll try to pitch in. If it’s something I can’t do myself, I’ll fix coffee, run out to buy cold drinks, fix lunch . . . . Feeling like a fool the whole while, of course.

    But no, come to think, there’s none of that at the salon. There, I’m less uptight. I’m confident that what I’m paying for is the skill of the stylist and the pure pleasure of having my hair washed. I just want everyone involved to think I’m fabulous and devote themselves to magnifying my fabulosity.