There are few things as awkward as going to get my hair cut. I’m not sure if this is a purely male thing, or if I’m unique to the gender, and, indeed, the human race, but I really hate having to go get my hair cut. It’s not the fact that I want to keep my hair long, because then I wouldn’t be there in the first place. I like having short hair, I like it tidy and managable just as much as I like it being a little unruly. It’s the fact that I have to go into this place where everyone looks a little bit crazy and you have to stay there for the better part of an hour.
The waiting is fine really. I have my MP3 player and I can listen to whatever is not on the radio in the establishment, and calmly whittle away the minutes without making eye contact with the employees, because if you do there’s this awkward moment when they start to think of things to talk to you about when you’re in the chair they’re tending to. Today, for instance, I didn’t have anything to read and I caught the eye of one of the girl’s by accident because I was trying to ascertain whether she was photographed on the wall or not. She caught me staring and gave me that ‘stop looking at me you creep’ half smile. Yeah, you know the one, creep.
Anyway, it’s when you’ve sat down, that preliminary minute, that’s the worst. They ask you what kind of style you want and you wave your hands around in a vague gesture towards your head while saying ‘just sort of tidy it up, shorten it, yeah’. He/she looks at you with a knowing smile as they manage to decode your mutterings into something understandable. It’s the next few moments that are crucial to minimising awkwardness. Damage control, if you will.
They may try to start up a conversation. Personally, I think that’s a terrible idea. This is a person who has mutiple sharp objects near my ears and eyes, and they want to idly chat to me while handling said objects. I make sure I’m curt but still polite, enough so that they know I don’t want to talk. I’d like to think that working in a hair dresser’s would make you quite able to read who wants to talk and who doesn’t, but a nudge in the right direction can’t hurt.
From then on it’s just watching out for when they raise their eyebrows at you to check that they haven’t done anything drastically wrong, and before long they’re brushing your face with that wierd white brush thing and you’re paid and out the door. It’s those first few minutes that set the tone for a hair cut, and if you handle them wrong the whole thing can be painful for both parties. A conversation shot down at every turn is not half as bad as one where neither person wants to talk.
Oh, and my head is bloody freezing. That’ll teach me to ask for a short cut again.