I’m a loyal guy.
For many years, I’ve been going to the same mechanic, using the same grass treatment company, eating at the same Pho restaurant, living with the same wife (okay, maybe that’s not such a great example), but you get the idea.
Once I find someone or something I like, I tend to stick with it for a long time.
This brings me to my barber. For well over a decade, I’ve had my hair cut by a guy named Joe, who works at a place downtown. To be frank, he’s not the best skilled, but he’s extremely friendly, and I know everyone who works there. I have my “Norm!” moment every time I walk into the place. Did I mention that I’m loyal?
A few years ago I moved to the suburbs. No longer could I simply walk to the barbershop, instead it became necessary to brace the traffic by driving, and paying for parking once I get there. But I still went to Joe for the monthly trim. Hey, if it ain’t broken…
Sadly, this past year Joe’s skills took a noticeable downturn. Perhaps his advancing age was finally catching up, or maybe his eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Your guess is as good as mine. It finally got to the point where I could no longer ignore the comic look staring back at me in the mirror in the morning (nor the uncontrollable giggling from the wife every time we crossed paths).
Reluctantly, I set out to find a new barber (I’m so sorry Joe).
I was nervous. Very nervous.
It cannot be stressed enough, just how important it is for a modern man to find the right barber. Not unlike finding a new steady girlfriend. You want one who understands you, also your relationship with your hair. Not only does he or she need to have the skills for the perfect coif that make me look ten years younger, but also possess the gift of pleasant banter while doing so.
I went through several “trials”, going from one strip mall to another. From a young middle eastern lady, to an old fashioned Italian stylist, I tried them all (hmmm, they didn’t come out right).
Still, none of them quite clicked. There was always something missing.
Finally, seeing how frustrated I was getting, my better half suggested that I narrow my search to gay barbers, of the male persuasion. Something about only guys truly know how to cut other guys’ hair, and who can be more in tune with other guys than a gay barber?
Sounds like a line she picked up from “Sex In the City”, but I digress. I was also desperate.
It did make my search easier. I would simply walk into a new place, look around for a male barber, and turned my gaydar to 100%. Took a few tries, but finally, I found a place (in a strip mall of course), where a young, tall, and handsome lad was working. I jumped at the chance. As it turned out, he was just out of barber school, and had recently won some national hairstyle championship.
Zack was his name.
Zack proceeded to give me a wonderful cut, just the way I wanted it, but with even more pizazz than any heterosexual man could ever imagine. Even the way he shampooed my hair was a thing of beauty. I was so happy that upon giving him a large tip, I mentioned how long it had taken me to find a guy like him (I skipped the gay part for some reason). He graciously replied “thanks man, my girlfriend tells me the same thing”.
Apparently my trusty gaydar had malfunctioned.
Hmm…maybe he’s still in denial, just a young man after all. Unfazed, I went back to the same place the following month. However, Zack was on vacation. In his place was another young guy named David. David had bleached blonde hair in contrast to Zack’s jet black. My gaydar was beeping on high for some reason, but I didn’t trust it. Once broken…
Nevertheless, I sat down and waited for my turn. As David put the finishing touches on the lady before me, I overheard him say, “oh honey, that’s just wrong”, followed by a fit of laughter from both parties.
Hmmm, getting warmer. But still, skeptical I was.
My turn finally. As David starting trimming the sides, I mentioned to him that I have a daughter, he replied “Oh that’s lovely, too bad I can never have a kid”.
You don’t say!
“Any particular reason?” I pressed.
“Well, for one, I’m gay” David answered.
Barely concealing my smile, the rest of the conversation was a haze as I celebrated the success of my quest for same sex hair care (quietly in my head of course).
Upon getting home, I rushed to tell my wife the good news. Look honey, I did it!
As she laid her eyes on my hair, there was a pause, followed by “but this look doesn’t suit you at all!”.
What? I looked in the mirror. Wife was right. In all that excitement, I neglected to pay attention to the one aspect that mattered the most: the quality of the haircut.
Oh Zack, how could I ever have doubted you?
So ends my quest for a gay barber. Zack it is. And I’m damn proud of it!
Oh, and if you need a spare gaydar, I got a semi-working one. Use it at your own risk.