A Good Haircut

My first barber experience took place about three weeks ago. I am excited to have my second very soon, but that wasn’t the case when I first sat down in that barber chair with that scissors-wielding redneck titan Chris.

I have spent most of my life going to Supercuts for a simple haircut with varying degrees of satisfaction. Mostly, I was happy with what I came out with — though I was not always able to guess what I would come out with. But my haircut was pretty simple.

Then, in New Orleans about three years ago, a friend of mine suggested his stylist as an Aveda salon with an upscale feel. I wondered, “How much is this going to cost?” And then, “What am I going to look like when this is over?” But Drew did an exceptional job, and when he left to join the boutique salon Carpe Diem Salon in the neighborhood of Lakeview in New Orleans, I followed him. We had a three-year-long client-customer relationship, and every three-to-four weeks I sat down and said, “I kind of want x and y and z, but do what you think will look good, too, because I’m not really sure about how I’ll look.” We had 30-minute chats full of laughter, and my stylist visit ended up being a kind of therapy, complete with shampoo and hand massage.

So when I recently settled down here in South Carolina, and after two months of no hair cut (I have very thick hair that grows very quickly), I couldn’t deny any more that I needed to find my new place of beauty business. I researched for a long time, not finding any places that looked promising by review as far as stylists. I searched for barbers, and then researched a little to see what the difference between a stylist and a barber is.

A good haircut is a necessary part of a person’s personal aesthetic.

Mostly, the differences are superficial. The barber is less inclined to push a product of some kind. They just want to cut your hair. And they tend toward simpler trends, but as I discovered, that doesn’t mean that a good barber will disregard what you want for your hair. Chris expertly clipped away and produced for my hair exactly the new kind of style I had wanted to try out, while joking with his son who had gotten him the wrong flavor of Monster energy drink at the gas station. He asked me about my move and why I had come to South Carolina, and if I had any plans to attend Steeple Chase there in Aiken (which I didn’t then, but now I’m curious about) and how good a time it would be. When he turned me around to look at the mirror, I was impressed and pleased and new I would be coming back to him for the foreseeable future.

A good haircut is a necessary part of a person’s personal aesthetic. It is as philosophical a decision as the choice to hang wonderful art over your mantelpiece or see a brilliant performance of Beethoven by an exceptional symphony orchestra. You are the recipient of the pleasure of looking the way you wish to look, of having the kind of theme about your person that you wish to display. It is as important as the choice of clothes you will wear or the body you are trying to achieve and maintain in your physical training. As this is the case, and unless you can skillfully cut your own hair, you must invest a little time and energy, and maybe a little money, in finding a good stylist or barber who will add something to your personal aesthetic, who will do a pleasing job because you’re only going to spend a little bit of time with them each month. A great haircut can be an unexpected highlight in any kind of week.

[Photo credits: Nathan Fertig and Matilda Vigerova via Unsplash.]

Originally published at teleologically.wordpress.com on March 12, 2016.