Sunday, August 05, 2001

A man needs a place with barbers and beer

        When I need my hair trimmed, why do I have to go to a place where they “do” hair instead of “cut” it?

        I go to places with names like Essentials or Trendz. Or, the current one, Paragon.

        Paragon has two floors and a waterfall in the waiting area. Yeah, that's important to a good haircut. I feel like I'm in a tiki bar in Coconut Grove.

        That's OK, though. That's not what gets me. This is what gets me:

        I'm always the only guy there. If Paragon were a desert island, hey, swell. Pass the papaya mousse, bro. But it's not. It's women, “getting their hair done.”

        Whenever I walk in, conversations stop, then change. It's as if I've invaded a sacred space. Picture a woman, wanting to play 5-on-5 with the men at lunchtime at the YMCA. It's like that.

        You can bash me for gender stereotyping and snicker at my insecurity if you want. I can take it. I'm a man.

        But here's a question. No, wait, it's more like a plea: How come there aren't any places a guy can go for a $25 haircut where it's mostly guys?

        Oh, and one other question: How come, when I go to the, uh, salon, I have only two choices of magazines: Redbook and Oprah?

        Guns and Ammo would be good. I hate guns. I hate ammo. But at least I could hold G&A up and pretend I'm reading it. I refuse to pretend I'm reading Oprah. I don't need self-help, OK? I'm fine. It's you I'm worried about.

        Plus, it's really egomaniacal to name a magazine after yourself and put your own mug on the cover every month.

        I don't read Redbook because, well, what guy reads Redbook?

        If there's a TV at Essentials or Paragon, it's never on ESPN. It's on All My Children or, worse, Martha Stewart (who also has a magazine named for her).

        If there's a radio, it's playing Neil Diamond.

        Don't tell me about barber shops. I know barber shops. I know for eight bucks, I could get a haircut. I could probably read Guns and Ammo, too.

        But in the hair-cutting business, you almost always get what you pay for. Most $8 haircuts could have been done by a lawn-service guy.

        If someone is up for making a bunch of money, he (or she, I don't care) should open a barber shop with beer on tap, Maxim, Sports Illustrated and Field and Stream on the coffee table in the wood-paneled waiting room, a dart board, a pool table, a putting green and a place to buy cigars.

        You wouldn't have to call up and ask for an “appointment.” Talk about pathetic. Once, when my wife called Essentials or Paragon or some place and said “my husband needs to make a hair appointment,” I had to run outside and start chopping wood and checking under the hood.

        At my place, you could just dial them and say, “I need Tiffany to trim me up.”

        Guys like to look good. Guys are more vain than women.

        It is a big deal to us, this looking good. But we don't want to make a big deal out of it. We want to act as if it's just something we gotta do. Know what I'm sayin'?

        Sitting on a plush, bright yellow couch, next to a waterfall, surrounded by Redbook and women with hair appointments who have suddenly stopped talking is no way to get a haircut.

        It's enough to make me go Michael Jordan. I've got a razor that can do that. It's a manly Schick.

       Contact Paul Daugherty by phone: 768-8454; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:


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