Monday, November 10, 2014

Hair and Horse heads

One of my problems with cruising is getting a good haircut. Some towns we visit just do not have a barbershop worth visiting or they don't have one at all. Most places have a beauty salon but nothing for men. There were a few places I've been to where I thought Floyd would be cutting Sheriff Andy Taylor's hair when I popped in. There were also places where I wanted to bolt for the door mid cut. Smock and all.

Cash only. Bring your Doe
When I look for a clip joint I have to find one within walking distance or by bus. This limits my choices as most most American businesses have moved out to the burbs in most towns. I will find a shop on Google maps or Yelp and then do a walk by, commonly known as a stakeout. I'll peek inside to see whats what and decide whether to go in or not.  If all the chairs are full it's a good sign but a long wait. Waiting is good because you can watch the action. If you don't like what you see you fake a phone call and walk out. Easy. When you walk by and you see an old guy asleep in the barbers chair with Judge Judy on the tube well, just keep walking.

My last hair cut I walked into a quiet shop with a kid and his Dad getting some work done by a small Asian woman. I looked around and it was only the one barber. She was using scissors and a comb and was cutting the kids hair in surges. She would back away from the kid, tilt her head, attack with the scissors, then repeat. I sent a text out to the family saying I may need a phone call so I can bail on this place. I would take the call outside and then make my escape. The woman must have sensed I was getting nervous and said, "You next OK?". Ugh. I was toast. Before I knew it the kid was done and I was getting the ninja cut. Back and forth she went. A lunge and a cut. Lunge and cut. I thought she did a good job despite her technique and I tipped her well. When I got home I noticed one side was shorter than the other. Crap. Her lunge from the left wasn't as good as the one from the right I guess. Son of a bitch.

That one wasn't so bad. The last time I was in Vero looking to get the fuzzball trimmed I popped into a place near the beach. Every chair was full and three ladies were doing the cutting. The ladies were pretty happy and joking around a lot. I watched this guy getting trimmed up and when she was done the dude just frowned as he looked into the mirror. Uh Oh. Bad sign. He left without a smile and she was patting the chair for someone to sit. "You next", she said to the three guys ahead of me but they all deferred to the youngest of the three barbers. Shit! Bad sign number two! Our eyes met and she said "Come on handsome. I'm ready for you." I fake smiled and nervously moved to the chair and she proceeded to talk my ear off about everything travel related while I watched her hands and those scissors. She stabbed my ear a little and now I had a tissue stuck to it. She giggled. I figured she was almost half done butchering me when another woman came in and yelled "lunch!". The razor then came out and after a quick trim I was out of the chair and she was asking for twenty two dollars. I reluctantly paid after catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror while the ladies all sat down for lunch with only the young one cutting hair. Worst haircut ever. I now call them the Witches of Vero. They flirted and laughed like they were high on champagne and totally in love with the guy in the chair, but they were secretly plotting to make you look hideous before you left. Deb cringed when she saw me. It was one of the worst haircuts I ever experienced. The next barber I went to asked who cut my hair. "Geez buddy don't go back there!" The witches were too hungry to finish the job and in some ways I'm thankful for that.

Even when we were  dirt dwellers I had issues with hair cuttery. I had this theory years ago about getting your hair cut. If you were a married guy in your 40's with children you should look for the sexiest young hair stylist you could find as there would never again be a time when a sweet young thing would run her fingers through your hair. Made sense back then. I found myself a Morgan Fairchild look alike that worked at the Hair Zoo. She did an OK job, but I didn't care too much. Getting my head massaged in shampoo while she hovered above me was good enough. I was in haircut heaven. One Saturday I strolled in to find Morgan had quit. What? Another girl took her place. She was not Morgan Fairchild. She wasn't even Morgan Averagechild. My haircut was bad. I was depressed. I had another month to find someone to cut my hair.

Amazingly I ran into Miss Morgan at the grocery store and she told me she cut hair in her house now. Oh really. I called for an appointment. Excited I was. Thinking of those magical fingers I couldn't wait to get there. When I arrived, three kids were eating breakfast in their pajamas and staring at me while a black lab wanted to get real friendly with my leg. Labs are fairly large dogs by the way. I was lead to the half bath off the kitchen where the toilet was replaced with a barbers chair. Nice. The door was closed and it was literally like being in a closet together. She cut my hair in between answering the phone, the kids banging on the door and the lab walking in and sniffing my crotch while she stepped out. An hour and a half later I was done. No shampoo. She said to wash before I get here. Damn. She did a good job but my ass cheeks fell asleep and my pants were wet with dog snot. This lasted a few more visits and then the dog started humping my leg again so I bailed despite Morgan freaking awesome Fairchild.

Before we were cruising, listening to Buffett tunes and dreaming about sailing away to paradise, we discussed haircuts and what we would do. Deb said she was going to let it go gray and she would cut her own hair. Me, I said I would let it grow and maybe pull it into a ponytail. Maybe get some tatt's to go along with it. Maybe grow the beard out too. Deb followed through and cuts her own hair. Looks good. I let my hair grow until I realized it still likes to grow out and not down. My head is big and round and the extra hair makes it look even bigger. Sputnik. I can't just let it go. I'd look like a frizzed out Q-Tip. Besides which every old cruiser in Florida looks alike. You can't even describe a fellow sailor now. "He's the dude with the gray pony tail and beard". It's like being a scientist and describing a fellow worker as the guy in the lab coat with the glasses.

There was a barber shop I walked into once. The one hair cutting dude was finishing someone and the other was asleep in the chair. Both kids had tattoos all over. Metal played over the sound system and Reservoir Dogs was on the tube. There was a large poster of The Rat Pack playing pool. Hair was all over the floor. The sleeping dude never stirred so the dude who just finished cutting looked at me and spun the chair for me to sit. "What number?" he said. Number? What the fuck is he talking about? I looked at him like a kid who didn't know the answer to a math problem. "Uh, I uh, regular haircut?" I sat down and the tattooed arms swung around and he grabbed my head and jerked it to one side and ran the dog clippers over my head while it rained salt and pepper hair all over the floor. Two minutes later I was spun around to the mirror. Dude raised a hand mirror to show me the back but I was too stunned to say anything. I just nodded, paid the fifteen bucks and slowly walked to the car. I put a baseball cap on my head, which was now a loose fit, and drove home. The white walls the kid gave me reminded me of an old '59 Buick Electra cruising through Motown. My kids couldn't stop rubbing my head and the guys at work kept saying sorry.

 I know what you are thinking I'm being a bit dramatic about all this. I'm over 55 and really shouldn't care anymore. I know. I'm getting better. There were times I couldn't even walk into a place unless my buddies recommended it, and now it only takes me a few passes by to chance it. It's a problem I know and if I could place any blame it would be on my Dad, Sergio and a creepy horses head.

As a young lad in the early 60's growing up to rock n roll, my Dad would make sure my hair remained short and no longer than the Beach boys. If it started looking slightly British invasion he would take me to Sergio for a trim. Sergio was a barber my Dad somehow came to know and the thing I remember about him was his not so perfect english. Not sure of his accent but he was a nice guy until he got those scissors in his hand. One day he hooked up some vibrating machine to his hand and ran it across my head. My friggin eyeballs felt like they were randomly rolling around in my head and I started getting dizzy. Sergio got a good laugh out of that even though my young brain probably suffered some damage. No wonder I had trouble with math.

When I got to Sergio's he would greet me by saying what a nice young man I was and he was going to make me handsome for the ladies. I never paid much attention to what the hell Sergio was saying because I was staring at the decapitated horses head that was mounted to a barbers chair.

I sat on one of the many customer chairs and instead of looking at the latest Life magazine with Jackie Kennedy on the cover, my eyes were fixed on the dark horse head. The old wooden horse with it's yellowing and chipped white teeth were grinning at me with that bit in its mouth and it's marble eyes wild and accusing. "Sergio is gonna clip those ears right off your head kid! Hee hee hee hee hee..."

Apparently Sergio thought kids would like a decapitated horses head with peeling paint and a mouth filled with oversized teeth, bulging eyes, flared nostrils and a mane matted with the salt of children's tears. When it was my turn for a cut Sergio kept those scissors flying while I kept my eye on the equine pagan idol. When he was done and my hair went from John, Paul, George and Ringo to David and Ricky Nelson I was removed from the dead horse and left standing there for my Dad and Sergio to observe and comment. I'm pretty sure neither one said "What a handsome little guy. He will do good with the ladies eh? No, they probably said "Maybe a little more off the top but he looks good." "Sure. Kind of Charlie Brown looking with that big mellon."

Sergio presented me with a sucker/lollipop for enduring the evil steed without whimpering. I walked out with my Dad, casting one last glance at the horse head who made kids cry and popped the lousy lemon sucker in my mouth. Sergio had only lemon or lime suckers on those lousy looped sticks. Screw Sergio and that damn horse I thought. I survived another one.

The air was a little cooler on the head going home than it was heading out but I didn't care. I was in a Malibu convertible with my Dad and we looked good. Sometimes haircuts aren't so bad. We went cruising for chics.

Just kidding Mom.

Chevy Malibu