Fifteen years ago, I was looking for a new barber and a friend recommended a guy by the name of Joe Cool. Really. Joe was this Mexican dude with a huge-ass pompadour and who knew how to cut hair like an old fart. Which is a good thing. Old farts cut the best hair. Anyway, Joe cut a great head of hair but he worked at this frou-frou hair salon for women. Everyone else in the building – customer or employee – was a woman. I felt entirely out of place.
Joe cut my hair twice before going mad and moving to Seattle. One of the girls who worked there offered to cut my hair after letting me know he’d split the state. She was hot so I said yes. Turned out she and I went to school together and I wound up going to her for haircuts for a year or so, at which point she wound up getting a job at one of The Forbidden Salons and I found myself needing a new barber again.
So I found this place in the Claremont Village, decked out in ugly-as-hell 70’s-yellow with dark brown wood paneling. Inside were two old farts sitting in their barber chairs, reading the news and not talking to each other. Perfect. I sat down, got a haircut, paid the guy, tipped the guy, and was out the door and the entire thing took less than 15 minutes and I didn’t have to hear about his goddamn kids. The guy who cut my hair was this old dude named…Dick? Maybe? He sang along with Sinatra, Bennett, and Mathis as he cut my hair and he knew the words to every song. Rumor was, they even ran an illegal sports book out of the back. The best haircuts in the world come from barber shops with old men and illegal sports books being run out of the back. Everyone knows this.
So I’d found my new old fart barber. 15 years later, however, things have seriously gone to hell. The place was redecorated to look “retro” a while back, women now work there (which, yes, is totally fine, but the place now smells like perms instead of Burma Shave…I can’t hang. Some things are sacred dammit), the sports book is long gone, and Dick has seriously lost his mind.
I went in to get a haircut three days before this last Christmas and he was standing there with a half-crazed look on his face, his hair dyed burgundy, and I swear to God, he had a mullet starting in the back. For a long time now, I’ve gone in there and told him what it was I wanted and he’d proceed to give me whatever haircut he felt like giving me. Mildly annoying, but not such a huge deal since the guy can really cut hair. This last time I walked out of that place with fucking wings sprouting off either side of my head, and that was after I’d asked him to fix it, which is the first time I’d ever had to do that. I kind of looked like Larry Tate. The day after Christmas, I broke out the shears and shaved my entire head down to a No. 1.
Clearly, I was in need of a new old fart barber.
About a week later, I drove by this place called the Mayberry Barber Shop. A little contrived, I thought, but whatever, I was now starting to look like Jason Voorhees (because I can’t cut hair for shit). I walked in and there were two old farts, sitting in their barber chairs, reading the news and not talking to each other. Best haircut ever.
The guy even cleaned up my neck fur with hot shaving cream and a straight razor, just like they do in Heaven. There’s no sports book in the back but fuck it, I’ve found my new old fart barber.