Saturday, January 05, 2013

Haircut and a shave, 2 cents

I had three haircuts last year; it's not that I don't care about my hair, but because I don't have to look at it very often, it's not really a priority for me. However, I glanced at my reflection in a shop window the other day, and saw a mullet developing: this has happened before, but this time round I feel too old for it to be ironic. Time for the chop.

I went over to Bugis, to Hounds Of The Baskervilles, a combination barber and tattoo parlour. What is it with haircuts and painful procedures? In the olden days, you'd go to the barber for a short back and sides and to get your tooth pulled; now it's a snip here and there and a bit of ink. I'm used to this: I grew up going to a barber's where you'd often go home with an earful of blood from some over-enthusiastic but inept scissoring.

Perhaps that was why I didn't have a haircut between leaving for university and my first year of work.

I expected a tattoo-and-haircuttery joint to be fairly laidback and disorganised, but when I turned up without an appointment they sent me away for two hours, which I spent by eating a salted caramel and then writing a pastiche of HP Lovecraft that's been festering in my brain since I went for a run in Bellevue last July.

I was very surprised for it to burst out, almost fully formed, in one go: now I need to figure out if anyone will publish it. Oh, and there's redrafts and so on, I guess...

I went back to the Hounds and leafed through a book of tattoos (there was a hilarious tattoo of a blue-frosted cupcake with a huge skull on top of it, and another of a cat dressed as a wine waiter - were these only suitable body art for hipsters?) My haircut was from a tattooed barber who was from Oxfordshire, who seemed a bit put out at my lacksidaisical attitude to tonsorial grooming. I had to avoid telling him that three haircuts ago was in Oxford: that would just show laziness or inattention. It would be like going to the butcher and saying you don't eat meat very often and expecting the best cut.

He did a sterling job and then went out for his lunch. I went to pay. The guy told me it would be 25 dollars. I gave him a fifty and told him to give me change for 30. He gave me 30 dollars back. I wasn't sure if he was bad at arithmetic or if I'm so good at negotiation that I had just intimidated him into a 20 percent discount.

Baffled and confused, I handed him one of the ten dollar bills, then fled for the underground station.


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