Cutting Hair Is About More Than Cutting Hair


Three weeks ago, I went to the barbers to get my hair trimmed and lined, the peach-fuzz look. I didn’t realize the mall had three barber shops so I ended up in one I hadn’t used before. No problem. It’s easy to cut my hair.  I sat in the chair and waited for the magic to happen. I didn’t want conversation, I didn’t want to share my personal life, all I wanted was shortened hair, edges lined up.

He asked me my name and where I lived. I gave him my name and said I lived nearby. I hate when they do that. They never ask the male customers their names or where they live. Cause, it would seem ridiculous. But apparently for females, it’s the standard way to show polite interest.

The barber then told me about how his girlfriend once had a BOY haircut.

Did he think this would make me feel more at ease? Well it didn’t. What it did was highlight the fact that a haircut was not just a haircut. Does that make a difference? Yes it does. if he thought that about hair, he probably also had similar ideas about a woman’s place in the world, my place in the world. Not surprisingly, the conversation that followed  (with other barbers) was about some singer being gay.  *sigh*

All I wanted was a friggin hair cut. Anyhoo, he did what men do when they cut a woman’s hair instead of a man’s – he did not clean up my face or my neck (shave off the tiny hairs). When I got home, I cleaned up as best I could with my own  razor.

Two weeks later, I went back and looked until I found the shop that I had used several times before. I recognized one of the barbers, I’ll call him Jeff.  He didn’t have to ask my name because he remembered that we had already done that spiel before. He knew how short I liked my hair and made no negative comments. Jeff even cleaned the back of my neck with a razor. When I got home though, I still had to shave my face near the hair-line. Jeff is coming along just fine, though. With a few more reminders, he may eventually get it.

Two weeks later, I went back to see my best barber, Jeff. Lots of people were also waiting for Jeff. I was in a hurry, so I took  a different barber. He was very friendly.  He asked me for my name and where I lived. WTF. I couldn’t help it, I gave him the wrong name. After he finished with my usual questions, he talked about where he lived, the courses he took in school and told me that he also did ministry work. He was a very nice gentleman, but, as I said before, male barbers don’t ask men those questions or  force them to listen to intimate conversations about their lives. All I wanted was a friggin haircut.

I’ve been going to barbers for years. I’ll probably go for many more. I’ve learned to accept certain things and still get most of what I came for without having to resort to gazillions of training sessions, or pissing-macho-men-off sessions. But I can’t complain too much really, about American barbers. In England, I had a barber totally ignore me, then when he saw that I didn’t understand his hint, he physically pushed me out of the shop door while yelling, ‘I don’t cut women’s hair. Get out of my shop.’

Cutting hair is about more than cutting hair!