Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Barbershop Blues

Not too long ago, I took Little Mr. Coach to the barbershop. Mr. Coach had been promising to do it for ages, but somehow just never seemed to get around to it. And I knew exactly why.

The minute we walked in the door, the barber – a tall, imposing ex-Navy man named Bob – took one look at Little Mr. Coach’s blond hair and rolled his eyes. That was probably because he knows Little Mr. Coach was born with brown hair.

“It’s your favorite chlorine-damaged head of hair!” I said cheerily. Bob muttered something under his breath.

Little Mr. Coach climbed into the chair and Bob tried running a comb through the fine, shiny strands.

“There’s breakage,” he said.

“What’s that?” said Little Mr. Coach.

“It means I can break your hair off without even trying,” Bob replied. He tried combing it again but couldn’t.

“Oh, this is so damaged, it isn’t even hair anymore,” he said. “I don’t know how far down I’ll have to go.”

“Will I be bald?” Little Mr. Coach asked enthusiastically. Appearance-altering damage is pretty much everything a 10-year-old boy lives for.

“If it’s any consolation,” I told Bob, “my husband has a whole pool full of college guys whose hair is in much worse shape.”

That did not seem to console Bob.

“What if we shaved a circle in the back, you know like make it bald in the middle with hair around it?” Little Mr. Coach asked, again with great enthusiasm.

“No, dear,” I replied. “They stopped doing that in the 1500's.”

Bob worked stoically for a good 20 minutes, chiseling down the strands on Little Mr. Coach’s head until a decent length brush cut emerged.

“Conditioner,” Bob said when he was done. “Don’t even think about bringing him back unless he starts using conditioner because he won’t have anything left to cut.”

“Okey doke,” I said cheerfully and added a generous tip to the bill. Just like I always do.


  1. Hilarious, Jane! Another good reason for me to avoid the barber for as long as possible. Bet the under-the-breath comment was in line with the Navy language...

    Wonder if swim caps only fool us into thinking the hair won't get as badly thrashed by the chlorine?

  2. Hmm, I don't know, Michael. Speaking as a swim-cap wearer (who also spends a bloody fortune on conditioner), I'm inclined to believe that the caps help. But I'm also inclined to believe that (most) guys enjoy trashing their hair. Just a theory....

  3. LOL! Not this coach. I have three times the hair my father had at my age. I want to keep it for as long as's more fun to have something I can dye reddish blonde every couple of Christmases...just to drive the locals crazy. ;)


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