Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cut Or Cut Not, There Is No Trim

Pet me. Go ahead. Pat my head. It's OK. Run your fingers through my mink-like hair. You'll discover its unnatural satin softness, like copper-colored vermicelli growing from my scalp.

It is light and fine like wind from an angel's ass.

Problem is, my luxuriously full mane has a wicked mind of its own. It obeys no one. It cannot be tamed by goop, glop or spritz. It mocks mousse. Gel holds no sway.

Much like feathers from a seagull, it grows straight out from the side of my head. No effort by man or beast can make it lay down, up or back.

Finding a barber who can hold his own against my personal cowlick corral is a never ending quest. Sure, over time, there have been standouts. There was the Supercuts girl who gouged flesh from my neck with the electric clippers. Drew blood, she did. Good haircut though, and it ended up being free. Then, there was the deaf redheaded boy. He had real talent, but couldn't carry a conversation.

My mother's busty buddy, who would lean into me with her low-cut blouses, while buzzing me, was always entertaining. The two gay barbers in Glendora were good. The haircut-and-massage combo is Salem was always a treat. Currently, the local effeminate Thai boy in tight T-shirts can mostly-manage my mop.

However, one sole barber, throughout my history of hair care, was able to bring my hair to heel. He was the master. I met him only once. I call him Yoda.

It was another hot winter afternoon in Southern California. It was 1992. I had a rare day off, no school, no work. It was a perfect day for a hair cut. I had been consistently cranky about the piss-poor performance I had been receiving from the local hair-care professionals. I was regularly coming away with haircuts that looked like they had bee performed by a herd of hungry goats.

I decided, therefore, to try a shop that I had discovered on the outskirts of town. It looked like it had been established about 50 years earlier, and not much had been done to keep up with the times.

Opening the door was like stepping back in time. I actually expected to see Sheriff Andy getting a straight-razor shave from Floyd. Disappointingly, there were no Playboys in the magazine rack. However, there were three surgically-smocked barbers, each with well-gelled buzz cuts busily buzzing around contented customers.

There was no one waiting, and I began to take a seat on the comfy-looking couch, when busy barber number one suggested that I go ahead and take the empty fourth barber's chair at the end of the row. He said calmly, through pleasantly pursed lips, that Mickey would be right with me.

I sat and waited for a few minutes, enjoying the calming hum of clippers and scissors above low-voiced noncommittal sports-oriented male conversation. I didn't know who Mickey was, but I was hoping he wasn't going to be an ear patter... You know, those barbers who pat your ears rather than pull them, who gently clip around the shadow of your lobes rather than yank them out of the way and buzz behind them. There's nothing worse than an ear patter...

My reverie was broken by the swoosh and swing of the saloon style doors opening from the back room. What emerged was a man-like lump of wrinkled and spotted flesh, wrapped in a white smock and capped with a pair of those thick black shades worn only by the blind. His ears grew horizontally from his head. What tufts of white hair he had left were not trimmed or shellacked in any way, rather they dotted the landscape of his pate like scrub brush. This was, apparently, Mickey.

Mickey didn't speak. He didn't even really acknowledge my existence. He certainly didn't ask what I wanted done. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that he ever actually looked at me.

I was quickly bibbed. There was no need to crank the chair up, as Mickey would need a stool to reach me. As Mickey looked down at the floor, mumbling to himself incoherently, he picked up a giant pair of glistening silver scissors, nearly the length of his forearm. Then, in a swirling cloud of silver and smock, Mickey attacked my hair. There was no careful measuring. There was no contemplation. He didn't just yank on my ears, he smacked them down. My cowlicks ran for cover.

There were scissors and clippers, and maybe a comb. He whirled like a dervish, but never spoke a word. The force was with him. It was most certainly his ally. He reached out with his feelings, because he most certainly never used his eyes.

Mickey (Yoda) never drew blood. The haircut was perfect. He never went back to touch up. He didn't hand me a mirror to check the back. He didn't need to, and we both knew it.

I paid. I tipped a couple of dollars. I mean, what do you tip a Jedi master? I went back to the shop a couple of times, but I never saw Mickey again. I certainly, without question, never had a haircut that good ever again.


  1. Yes, Doyle was good, as was his female partner, whatever her name was. However, it was their third-chair lacky that insisted on giving me those Hawaiian massages... Good haircut though.

  2. Anonymous8:45 AM

    What in god's name is a Hawaiian massage?

  3. They rub you down with Poi...


Be compelling.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.