The $45 Haircut

My son got a haircut yesterday. It wasn’t a difficult GQ-styled ‘do, but rather “Zip-zip-zip-snip…okay you’re done!” He added a tip into the cost and forked over 2 Jacksons and a Lincoln…$45! Just as gas has risen like an Elon Musk rocket, barbershops have raised their prices.

When my barber, Ms. Darla, moved out of state, I was at a loss. I was always willing to pay Darla a good sum because she knew me and knew my hair. When I lost a wager a couple of years ago because a boy on my basketball team had accomplished what I said he couldn’t, and the promise was that I’d have my head shaved, Ms. Darla was the one who came to our team banquet and buzzed me. Without a doubt, I wasn’t going to entrust the job of shaving off my hair to a high school freshman boy. I’d still be bleeding!

A barber or hair stylist needs to be someone I can relate to, laugh with, tell stories to and hear stores from. There needs to be that relationship. Like Floyd on The Andy Griffith Show. Floyd usually did a little bit of snipping and cutting, but mostly he jaw-jacked with his customers.

My Uncle Millard was a real-life Floyd back in Paintsville, Kentucky. His barber shop was across the street from the Johnson County Courthouse. It seemed like there were always men sitting on the benches or the three-foot wall on the edge of the courthouse lawn. My uncle would join them and talk the latest local news and politics. Once in a while he’d even give someone a haircut, but he almost always “Floyd-ed” the person he was trimming with conversation and opinions.

In my growing up years I always had Mr. Morris at Morris Barber Shop in Ironton, Ohio, cut my hair. He knew what my parents expected, and even if I suggested a new cut where the hair length would, in my opinion, make me look cool and appealing to the young ladies, he would give me the parental mandate haircut that gave me that conservative, Baptist, “normal” appearance that would not cause the church deacons to raise their eyebrows over. Mr. Morris cut the hair of Irontonians for several generations. He knew the latest Ironton High School athletics news, as well as how the Reds did the previous night against the hated Pirates. A haircut in his place was like an audible version of the local newspaper, but with commentary added.

Thus, I cringed when my son said he paid $45 for a haircut from an anonymous woman with a razor. Knowing how rapid the turnover is in the company-owned hair salons these days, he will never have the same person invading his scalp. It will always be someone who doesn’t know him or his hair. The only consistent element that will be the same each time…is the price! It makes me want to let my hair grow out and put it in a braid. What would the deacons say to that?

Except my daughter now cuts it for free, and she knows my head and what’s inside my head!

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