Saturday, June 18, 2011

Greasy Hair Stories.

It's all about the hair. Elvis set the tone over 50 years ago and greasers from around the world have eagerly followed suit. Women have hit the nail on the head however, when they observe that most men cannot be entrusted with the simple task of getting dressed or getting a decent haircut. They are right. During my daily travels downtown, I am often taken aback, shocked or downright angered at the absolutely ridiculous haircuts that I see dudes sporting. You paid money for that?

I am amazed that some of these dudes, sometimes sporting very expensive suits, would walk around with these hirsute abominations. Others will proudly display their mullets ( a perfect compliment to their dirty track pants) oblivious to the fact that it screams low IQ to the casual observer. Others still have some sort of statement to make and will attempt to shock the general public. What statement dreadlocks are intended to convey, remains beyond comprehension. I suspect that it is a middle class attempt to make some sort of left winged statement, yeah we get it  man, you're a rebel, you smoke pot to bring your consciousness to higher plane, you own a lot of bongos on and so forth. You can rest assured that this self-delusional moron will be driving a Lexus in a couple of years.

We greasers have it easy by comparison. The rules are laid out for us and are simple to follow. It knows no bounds and transcends socio-economic factors, cultural differences and even language barriers. It is like an international symbol of belonging to a certain brotherhood. It is the venerable greasy pomp. Greasers have individual preferences such as short back and sides or big sideburns and experiment with different types of grease. Squares will both marvel at the pomp and fear it. Some chicks dig it. Others even find it amusing and many a greaser has endured taunts of " Hey Elvis" from random passers by.

The one thing that if is often overlooked or simply not understood is the absolute fucking ordeal of getting a decent haircut in the first place. We weren't born with the damn thing ( although a few claim to have been, refusing to own up to their pre-greaser teen years) it took years of meticulous research, anger producing butchery and futile explanations to inept hairdressers to get the damn thing right. Here's a few hair-raising ( pardon the pun) experiences during my quest for the ultimate pomp.

1. Old School.

Many of  us have fond memories from our childhood of going to the local barber shop for haircut. They would sit you on a little riser, and it made you feel like a grown-up when the barber put hot shaving cream on your neck and trimmed it with a straight razor. As you got a little older and you were allowed to go on your own, you eagerly went for your haircut because you could peruse all the dirty magazines. As you got a little older, you started to realize that this guy didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. You gazed in disbelief at the disheveled mess that he had created and wondered why it looked nothing like all the slick pictures on the wall.

Some of these really old school guys are still around. So old school in fact, that they were actually cutting hair in the fifties and continue to do so in the present day. These cats have an inherent understanding of the pomp. They are unfortunately getting on in years and are a rapidly vanishing breed. If you are lucky enough to find one it will a truly anachronistic experience. If are unlucky enough to have some dude that he trained cut your hair, be prepared to look like a goof for a couple of weeks.

2. The Squirrely Ladies.

So you're sick of all the bullshit, the endless searches and over-priced haircuts. You see a sign advertising 6 dollar haircuts and you naturally cannot resist. You justify to yourself buy thinking " Hey man, you can't beat six bucks, right?" Sorry, most definitely wrong.  You start off by having to suffer the squirm-inducing factor of having to wait in a ladies' beauty parlor hoping to hell that your friends don't see you. There are only chick magazines to read and all those strange chemicals are starting to make you puke. Better hold off on the puking however, because there probably isn't a men's room in there.

Your discomfort will be short lived because the squirrely yammering ladies are fast. They will squeeze you in while some other crazy lady's perm is setting. After a few futile attempts at explaining what it is that you want, you will have to resort to sign language. Out comes the No. 1 electric razor and you will be subject to few passes executed at velocities approaching the speed of light, way to fast to say " Holy shit, stop !" The only benefit to this strange encounter is that you might get a bit of crotch to shoulder contact or a quick look at some cleavage.

The squirrely lady is done  and she wants her six bucks and you outta the chair. I hope you brought a hat, unless you want to walk around looking like an Iraqi prisoner of war.

" Next!"

3. There, I fixed it.

After all the time consuming frustration starts to set in, some of us , at one time or another, have contemplated fixin' shit ourselves. You rationalize it by thinking " How hard could this be?" You think of all the inept retards that you have encountered over the years and go out and purchase your own electric trimmer convinced that you can do a better job.

Forgetting for a moment that everything is backwards in a mirror, you have to realize how difficlut it is to see the back of your head. As you do the sides, you are immediately reminded of that TV show where they speed-shear sheep in New Zealand.

Ok, so now the sides are fucked. You will attempt to equalize the rear, still convinced that this is salvageable. 30 seconds later you look like you've just been prepped for a lobotomy. After the prerequisite cursing, you will attempt to "fix" it even further by slopping huge dollops of grease in your hair and fussing with a comb as you try to convince yourself that it ain't that bad. You will eventually accept the fact that is is indeed bad.

Get more hats. You will need them for the next 3 or 4 weeks. Or you could just hang around at the local lunatic asylum.

4. That'll Buff Right Out.

There's nothing wrong with cheaping out once in a while, after all  the very concept of hot rodding was built on the practice of cheaping out, cuz these cats didn't have any money. There are however, a few things in life that one shouldn't be trying to shave a few bucks off. Things such as airplane wings, condoms, dentists or renting space in a highrise built by the lowest bidder. Haircuts also fall into this category.

I once decided to get a haircut at a hairdressing school. The price was right; it was free. " Can't go wrong with free." Wrong again. My desire to get a good haircut, and my cheap-ass desire to get shit for free made me oblivious to the fact that I was about to be used as guinea pig. It was much worse, however. I was on the same level as one of those dummy heads with the fake hair. In retrospect, I often ask myself " What the fuck was I thinking?" What indeed.

I arrived at the school and was ushered onto a chair surrounded by at least a hundred students all yammering and squealing at the same time. It was complete mayhem and nobody seemed to be cutting any hair. As the apprentice began cutting, I could sense her mounting discomfort. She seemed to be frantically trying to correct something. A few of the other students began to take interest. Their expressions were ones that are usually reserved for funerals, and I was beginning to think that this was not a good sign. Then the apprentice muttered something that no one wants to hear while getting a haircut: " Uh-oh".

The head instructor was called in and tried to salvage this travesty as best she could. Lucky for me I had arrived with a hat and was able to walk out with at least some of my dignity intact.

I found a bar nearby and went for a couple of stiff drinks as I pondered my misfortune. I kept drinking until I forgot about my haircut. I must have gotten really hammered and went shopping because when I woke up the next day, I saw that I was the proud owner of two Stetsons.

5. The Hipster Place.

There is a new generation of barbers and some are quite good. Unfortunately they attract a lot of hipsters. I've often wondered where this insidious sub-culture had its beginnings. No one seems to know sure sure, but now we are confronted with teeming masses of hipsters everywhere we go. The people who sell them those ridiculous cartoon glasses and circulation-impeding skinny jeans need a good punch in the head, but nobody ever went broke pandering to people's stupidity and slavish addiction to fashion.

It's the haircuts that perplex me the most. Stupid as they are, they require a skilled barber to cut them. It takes a lot of work to look like 14 year old boy from the fifties, a pugilist from the twenties, a lumberjack or a 19th century British safari hunter chasing elephants with a blunderbuss.

For obvious reasons, I don't usually interact with hipsters ( not wanting to end up in jail with multiple assault charges relating to attempted ironic mustache removal) but they all seem to go to the same barber as me. Due to the complexity of their haircuts I am often forced to wait my turn for an hour or two. I wisely have the foresight to bring beers along with me to alleviate the pain.

The pain I am speaking of is the endless stream of horseshit that I am forced to listen to as I wait my turn. Most of it done at earsplitting levels as the manginas all speak at once. It all sounds like gibbersih to me , because I have no idea what they are talking about , seeing as everything is ironic to them. They all seem to have man purses with them that contain all types of ironic objects which they enjoy comparing with one another, They all have i-phones that contain ironic videos from youtube.

All these effeminate voices take their toll on me after a few hours, and these fuckers are too self absorbed to know that they came dangerously close to a furious tirade that could potentially lead to a punch in the head.

As my turn finally comes, these douchebags seem unaware of the guy code thing that states that when you are the barber chair, you own that chair and all conversations emanating from it. They just keep yakking away in their hipster jargon as I sit in silence counting the minutes until I am finally liberated from this Stygian nightmare.

The haircut always turns out well, even though it is priced at hipster levels, and I quickly leave in desperate need of another drink. I need a few to recover from this somewhat traumatic experience and end up getting fairly hammered. Another perfectly good Friday shot to hell, but hell, I look sharp.

It ain't easy being greasy, as I've said many times in the past. I always remain vigilant as I search for the ultimate haircut, but I always have a good supply of various hats on hand; just in case.

1 comment:

  1. Serge L.,

    I don't know if I should be ecstatic or appalled.. Everything you have said reflects my last three years of struggling to find a venerable barber who has the pomp down to a science. It is truly a worthwhile life experience to be satisfied enough to sculpt the scalp with some genuine pomade.
    Until now, I thought I was the only one seeking out a trade that is apparently defunct. I still await that day I can justly drench a soaring pomp with some grease..