The Life of An Introvert: Getting a Haircut

“It’s those little things like that…that piss me off.” -Rodney Carrington, “Little Things”

It’s little, everyday things in life that pose unique challenges to an introvert like me. Going to a dentist appointment. (Dentist: “So, done any traveling lately?” Me: “Enrggh, igh gvhntth noddh.”) Eating lunch at work. (You’re eating lunch at your desk again? You should eat with us!) Ordering coffee at Starbucks. And — you guessed it — getting a haircut.

The haircut itself is great, and I think most men would agree with this. It’s more of a ritual than a routine. The pre-cut shampoo. The clipper action on the sides (unless you have flowing locks like yours truly). Scissor-slicing on the top. The neck trim. And if you get the fully authentic experience, a neck wet shave.

One piece of the ritual puzzle remains: the obligatory small talk.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

I’ll share just one story of such torment, so this article may remain a manageable length.

My wife and I moved from St. Louis to Nashville a couple months ago, which means, among many other things, I needed to find a new barber.

I always hate finding a new place to get my hair cut. I’ve lived in eight states in twelve years (and I’ve lived in two of those states twice), which means I’ve had to switch barbers eight more times than I’d prefer. When I find something that works, I tend to stick with it. Why fix something that ain’t broke?

After killing far too many brain cells finding the perfect barber on the World Wide Interwebs, I finally found a place that looked promising. I’ll change the name to protect the innocent, so let’s call it Flippity Floppity Haircuts.

Flippity Floppity Haircuts is a very cool place. It’s in the hipster part of town, which I’d normally avoid but for this purpose is preferable. Every patron gets a free cigar and complimentary glass of high-end whiskey. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked? Don’t mind if I do! Every barber station has its own oak-paneled room, complete with a plush leather seat and LED TV. I gotta say, watching SportsCenter is a fantastic addition to the already cherished ritual.

I sink down into the wine-red leather seat, and the ritual begineth. And by ritual, I mean the barber decides I am his new hetero-lifemate and must learn every facet of my being.

You from ‘round here?


So where you from?

Originally from the Louisville, Kentucky area, but I haven’t lived there in a while.


I was in the military.

Oh, really? My third-cousin’s grandmother-in-law’s step-son’s foster child’s half-sister’s uncle thrice-removed was in the Coast Guard Reserve for about 57 days.

Oh that’s neat.

I know, right? He told me all about those fancy white uniforms…[twenty-five minutes later]…and that’s why my dog absolutely refuses to eat spinach, even when it’s smothered in butter.


This is a classic example of how the rules of social norms were written by extroverts. Why is it necessary to engage in meaningless small talk with complete strangers we don’t truly care to know? Why do we have to pretend we give a good damn about each other? There’s a fine, but clear, line between respect and bullshit, and this where the line is crossed.

Sure, I want my barber to be polite and treat me with respect, not only as a customer, but as a human bean.

To be clear, the barber at Flippity Floppity Haircuts was extraordinarily professional, and did a fantastic job — but the fact of the matter is, we don’t need to pretend we care about each other on a deeper level. You have one job.

Disagree with what I have to say? Leave a comment and tell me why.

Alex is a Xavier University alumnus, Army veteran, statistician, and tennis pro. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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