Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Haircut 100

Do most men resent having to get their hair cut?  It's a knife edge experience for me.  On exiting the hairdressers I'm either elated and surprised that its gone so well, trying not to check my reflection in shop windows as I go, or angry and frustrated that I wasn't able to articulate myself sufficiently so that the guy with the scissors could understand me.  On those days I don't much care to see my barnet in a window as it's either going to be too short and I'm looking like I have some sort of wasting disease or I've got some crazy new 'do' that's too young for me which has left me looking like something out of Nathan Barley.

My first problem is describing what I want - embarrassing for someone who wants to write for a living you might think and you'd be right.  'Shorter at the back and the sides, a bit choppy on top, you know?' used to be my usual hopeful refrain before I noticed that every man around me at the time had more or less the same thing, with amounts and type of 'product' being the only real difference.  My other tactic was to find a picture of someone I thought had a cool haircut and take it with me.  This never works.  Brad Pitt, along with his other aesthetic qualities, has good hair and good hairdressers.  Brad's hair is like Brad himself - tough and thick.  It can be coerced into just about any shape and it WILL ALWAYS LOOK GOOD.  Usually because, on a handsome man, any old chop will.

Most of my mates have got to a haircut that suits them and stuck with it.  The classic is of course the skinhead or crew cut.  But what is a crew cut?  We have here a problem of definition.  The dictionary describes it as 'a very short haircut for men and boys'.  With this sort of vagueness its no wonder that its hard getting your hair cut the way you want.  Anyway, you know the cut I mean if you're a bloke.  Your hair might grow out curly or you've given up trying styles that don't work so you just get the barber to do a grade 4 clipper cut.  Or you bypass the whole barber bit, you've got clippers and you do it yourself.  If you're balding, this is definitely the haircut you should have.  Other blokes I know do the choppy thing that I described above even though it feels about 10 years old now.    Away from these two styles you're into fashion territory and that is a step too far for me.

I got to the hairdressers 15 minutes early thinking I would look through a few mags and find something that suited me.  You're right, we're back in 'show the man a picture' territory.  GQ was nearest to hand and I trawled through endless adverts feeling more and more desperate, only distracted briefly from my quest by Anne Hathaway looking like a sexy Morticia Adams in boudoir attire.  In the ads there are a lot of geeky looking slicked parting type things and worse still, there's a lot of 80's styles that are apparently beloved by Ralph Lauren, D&G and all that crowd.  I looked like a geek when I was 17 (some would say I still do), I don't live in Hoxton and I'm not gay so they were all out.  Giving up, I told Giovanni my dilemma.  'I never know what I want', I said 'Can't you just cut something that suits me?'  I was his first client of the day and he looked like it was a bit early to be creative.  'Let me have a look...' he said, initially buying time before getting to work.  He did his best.  My hair looks a bit like it did when my Mum used to take me, asking the barber for 'just a trim'.  No 'product', natural, not too daft but in truth a bit boring.  Not exactly cool but something I can live with.  And yes I did do the shop window thing on the way home.

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