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Ronan's Head
Ronan's head. A haircut can wait!

I have been designated a hippie by the local men’s grooming institution, the Park Slope Barbershop, which has been around since 1906. So damn it, they recognize hippies.

Okay, the word “hippie” wasn’t actually used in conversation. If you look at my photo, which for unknown technical reasons is stuck at the bottom of the blog’s main page, you can see that I’m a wild, hairy man, who should be charged extra for the barber to take a weed whacker to that mess. At least that’s how I felt when I left the Park Slope Barbershop.

It was a nice place; they offered me beer, and when I refused, an answer of “No” to the cheerful question, “You don’t like beer?” resulted in an offer of scotch. Which would have been nice, if it wasn’t 10:30 in the morning. So everyone – all older men – had a beer except me. The haircut commenced, and only after a nice, professional job was finished, the barber said, “Normally we charge $20, but your hair is so long and it took so much time, your haircut is $25.” With tip, $30. Because you can’t refuse the barber price after the fact; what will they do, glue the hair back on?

My hair is so long? Took so much time? God, I’m a hippie!

I’ve never really considered myself a hippie. I’m an unabashed liberal, sure, but a hippie? I thought that was a stretch. I have gotten rid of my last tie-dye from college, and while my hair is unruly sometimes, I didn’t think I looked anything like Jesus, especially that day.

Dads and their boy babies have bonded over the first haircut for centuries.[1] I was looking forward to Ronan’s first haircut but now I wonder where it will be, because while I’m sure someone will write in to defend the Park Slope Barbershop, I’m not going back there.

Sure, my women readers are scoffing, because of the gender inequality in hair care. Women are charged much more for haircuts, and society impresses upon them the need to have haircuts on a more frequent basis. So many readers are crying a river of tears for my $30 haircut. So I’ll make them feel worse.

I’m accustomed to paying $8 for a haircut.

Like so many services I had before moving to Brooklyn, I’ve been going to the same barber near Stuyvesant Town for over a decade. That place, to be helpful, is not only a barbershop, but also a watch repair and battery replacement service center. It’s also a repository for a large porn collection, and less appealing, a large pee collection in their bathroom that was last cleaned when Bush 41 was President. The owners are either Kazakh or Azerbaijani, but don’t call them Russian. They have sharp blades and they will get really angry if you think they are Russian.

But, damn, they still charge 1991 prices, having raised their haircut price to $10 this year. And for $10, they do a great job, as good at the $25 haircut at the Park Slope Barbershop. Sure, as I leave the shop, I look like Drax from Moonraker.[2] I don’t know the shop’s name but my brother and I call the owner the “Bond Guy” after his signature haircut. Despite having the latest in European dictator styling, it washes out to a perfectly acceptable haircut that gets compliments. If my wife didn’t think it was such a horrible place, I could take Ronan there for his first haircut.

Not that we really have to worry about this anytime soon. Ronan came out of the womb with a full head of hair, dark brown like his Mom. Now it’s more sandy red like mine. The style is the same since birth; he has the baby version of the comb-over. Some places he’s kinda bald. Other areas, he has long hair that I (not Terry) wraps behind his ears, mostly to keep the frizzies from tickling my nose as he rests on my chest. If we’re really cruel, we pull his pants up to his armpits and comb his hair over and he looks like a two-foot-tall old man. With a great big toothless smile.

What’s surprising to me, and almost no one else who has visited Park Slope and seen the army of parents, (at least 25% of Americans are born and raised in Park Slope, according to my informal count of strollers on Seventh Avenue) is that there is a whole niche market of toddler hair care. They have racing cars and My Little Pony barber chairs, toys, video games, food, and more to ease your child through the trauma of their first haircut. Personally, I feel gypped. Even at 38 I want my haircut while I sit in a toy tank.

All of this seems like overkill to me. I had a horrible first haircut and somehow I survived the experience. Growing up, Sergio in Buffalo cut my hair. He also cured my dandruff by purposely burning my scalp with a heat lamp. I was only four or five but he would bake my scalp with the hottest hair dryer I have ever seen. I still remember the glowing red heating element and the pain of the searing heat as it incinerated my dry scalp. Still, despite that part, Sergio was a fun barber to visit and I went to him for years. Somehow I overcame the horror of the hair dryer.

Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who had a bad memory of the barber as a kid. These hair stylists – almost none of the baby barbers admit to being a barber – are there to soothe the parents as much as make the kid comfortable for their first haircut.

Perhaps I’ll take Ronan to the Bond Guy and we’ll get haircuts together. We can get a little goatee and go as Drax twins for Halloween.

[1] I have no source to prove this. Just take my word for it. It’s not really important to the story.

[2] When I get home, I look in the mirror and bellow, “Once again, Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my attempts to devise an amusing death for you!” in my most sinister voice.


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Comments (2)


Before you dismiss altogether the usefulness of the overstimulating hair cut place just have a brief chat with any young parent who has, say, tried to cut their toddler's hair at home.


I'm not saying the specialty barber shops are wrong, I'm just saying I like paying $10 for a haircut. I'm not planning on cuttng Ronan's hair at home.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 9, 2007 11:37 PM.

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