Saturday, July 11, 2015


Having short hair is an addiction of sorts, and it can be expensive.  For years I have been going to barbershops, rather than to hair stylists, to feed this addiction, and also because barbershops tend to be a little less rarefied than their upscale cousins, and as such they are places where I can dialog with less fancy people than those who are my natural cohort, having gone to fancy schools and gotten advanced degrees.

My most recent barber is kind of country, though he went to the same schools as I did (Seawell, Phillips, CHHS), his household had a different educational/socio-economic profile than my own. But once he had to leave his old location because of price, his prices have crept up to where I've been paying $23 after tipping him out.

And that's expensive, since I have to go in monthly or so to keep it tight.  So yesterday Crabill and I had lunch at Jamaica, Jamaica, out where 54 hits 55, and I had noticed that there was a barber school next door.  Like the one in Durham I went to a couple of years ago, this one appeared predominantly African-American, judging from the guys who hung out outside it at lunch time, as I had seen before on other occasions when I had ducked in for jerk chicken or fish in gravy.

But it is cheap, only $5 a cut, so I decided to give it a shot. I went in, paid my fiver, and was assigned to, shockingly, the only other white person in there, a skinny white guy with longish hair pulled back tight in what looked like a hairnet but wasn't. Low melanin count notwithstainding, he was very African-American in his diction. As he cut my hair diligently and with great attention, we talked, as one often does. Turned out he had seen tours of duty in in Iraq and Afghanistan, and had another part-time job over at Syngenta.

The place had great music and a great vibe, Marvin Gaye and the like, and I watched all the other guys (it was almost all guys) working with clippers, being very attentive to detail as they cut people's hair. There was much more attention to detail then to speed.

I had to wonder if I potentially messed with the groove of the place by being a rare white business guy going in there.  There's only one real way to tell:  keep going back. On day 2 he seems to have given me a fine cut, a little bit shorter off the top than the country guy I usually go to, but that's good.  I had been meaning to see what it looked like if we went shorter up there.

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