Outside of your first haircut any other would not stick around as memories for most people, but that is not the case for me. Getting my haircut as a kid was worth remembering because my grandpa was the one that cut my hair. This was a good thing for my parents because my hair grows absurdly fast and they saved a lot of money this way, but it was a great thing for me because I got to spend time with him.
When it was time for a haircut I would head over to my grandparents, we would grab a bar stool from the family room, set it up in the middle of the kitchen and drape a sheet over my shoulders. Grandpa would banish grandma to the living room so she couldn’t critique him mid haircut and he would get to work. Using ancient scissors that pulled instead of cut and clippers that I am sure he had from his time cutting hair in the Navy, he clipped and buzzed away.
While he was cutting my hair we would get caught up on what was going on at school, my little league baseball team, the latest book one of us was reading and whatever else came to mind. When he was done Grandma got to come back in to tell him that he missed a spot or it was uneven on one side or the other, then he would pack away the clippers, I would grab the broom to sweep up and then we would sit at the dining room table and have a cup of coffee.
This went on for years, Grandpa cut my hair until his shoulders got so bad that he could no longer lift his arms up high enough to do it. It was only then that I would go to hair salons or haircut chains whenever I needed a trim, but it wasn’t the same. The conversation was never as good and there were no memories to be made in those places.
About five years ago a friend of mine graduated from Barber School and I went to see him for a haircut. I have been going to him ever since. While he has bounced around from shop to shop they have all been similar in that they had those old school barber shop chairs, used straight razors for the finishing touches and had cold beer for while you waited. They had something else in common as well, good conversation. The men sitting around, as well as their barbers, all engaged in conversations about sports and work and it is reminiscent of sitting in the kitchen with Papa Dale.
While some people may see a haircut as just an errand to run or a box to check on the to do list of life, to me a haircut brings me back to that bar stool in the kitchen with Papa Dale and the memory of bad scissors and great conversations.