|By David Crawshaw (en:WP) [GFDL|
First, I have to go in an pretend like I don't mind waiting as the barber cuts someone else's hair. I have to leaf through a magazine that I pretend to find interesting, although with the existence of the smart phone I am offered a brief reprieve. Instead I pretend to myself that I find the lives of perfect strangers on Twitter perfectly interesting because I can't check my Facebook every four seconds because people don't post enough there.
When I am in the chair, I would be thankful for these random weirdos, for instead I have to pretend to take an active interest in anything the barber says, answer anything he asks as if we're old friends while he feigns the same pathetic interest in my equally pathetic story. Meanwhile, he's throwing me around like a rag-doll as if I signed some contract by the act of placing my ass cheeks on his throne which allows him to perform a certain level of grievous bodily harm upon my person. Were this Jerry Springer or the spin off that Jerry Springer's bouncer got, it would be enough to instigate a mass brawl in the studio.
Through all of this, I have to grin and bare it as he chops and hacks off my beautiful hair, paying no attention to what he's actually doing because he's too busy pretending to be interested in what I'm saying. He has to because I can see his every facial expression in the mirror. Is that what the mirror is there for? To make sure that I know whether I'm receiving enough attention or not? Or is it purely so that he can show me exactly how much he's taking off at the beginning?
And what's the point in showing me what it's like at the end? It's not like I'm going to see "Oh no, that's too short. Can you put some of it back? Especially there where my hairline is prematurely receding". If it's too long, I'm certainly not going to say "Can you take another eighth of an inch off all over?" knowing full well that he might as well be starting over at that stage but that I've run out of conversation. It's getting to the point where, when I realize my hair is getting long I will start to write down possible topics of conversation with the barber, leading in with my strongest subject or story since the last hair cut and working my way through, hoping that it doesn't take too long to get through it.
When the ordeal is over, and he asks what I think, it's then time to pretend that this is exactly what I asked for. "Yes, when I said to take a little bit off all over but leave a bit of length to it, I actually meant for you to give me what amounts to a buzz cut with a scissors." And what America has given me to get through the beginning of this distressful situation, a smart phone, it takes away right at the end in the form of a tip. The hair cut costs $16 and you would usually tip 20%, meaning that I am handing over $20 and tell him to keep the change AND HE HAS TO FUCKING PRETEND LIKE HE WASN'T EXPECTING IT even though they've clearly set their prices for it to work out that way.
And then I have to walk out of the shop and 1.) pretend like I don't have an itchy neck from all of the hair that somehow managed to get under my collar, and 2.) pretend like I'm not going to rip one monstrous, fourteen-second fart on the walk to the car. Fuckin' haircuts.