Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'll Take a Number Six with Half an Order of Eyebrow

I had several adventures this past weekend, but work's been hectic so I'm only just sitting down to write about them. Although instead of tackling all of them and overwhelming this entry, I'll focus on just one. Here is my mega-fascinating recount of a trip to the barber shop and then accidentally shaving off half my eyebrows.

I think I've only had my hair cut professionally maybe once in my life. Possibly twice. My mother gave me my haircuts as a child, and then I started cutting my own hair when I got older. When I tell people this, they're either shocked and freaked out, or else they totally relate and remain unfazed, but the reaction is rarely between those two extremes. The shocked people treat me like I just crash-landed my saucer in their backyard and they want to know everything about my species. And the other people either cut their own hair, too, or else know someone who does.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it's actually a pretty common thing with people who have short hair. Like, it's not rocket science, especially now that I just buzz it. If you mess up short hair, it fixes itself in about a week. My hair is also unruly and curly and I remember those one or two times I got it professionally cut, the stylist had no idea how to manage it and I hated the end result. Oh, and I'm also just cheap.

Anyway, since I don't have a private bathroom here or any of my hair-buzzing tools, I had to go to a barber shop this weekend for my monthly buzzing. So I did some googling and picked a cheap place close to my apartment.

When I stepped through the door, it was exactly like stepping back in time. (That sentence sounds so cliché and has probably been written a million times in a million crappy novels, but this is a crappy blog and you're getting what you pay for.) There were guys in chairs lining the walls, reading bro-type magazines and wearing scruffy clothes. There was a barber's pole by the door. Two barbers were snipping hair in silence, only occasionally acknowledging a regular customer. I sat at the very back of the shop so I could take it all in, and I noticed that even the world outside the front window seemed like it had gone through a time warp. Across the street, there was an old Italian restaurant with a discolored red, white, and green awning that made me feel like I was inside a fading photograph, and there were a couple of Don Draper-dressed people lingering outside that enhanced the effect.

While I waited, I tried to carefully observe everything happening inside so I knew what to expect when it was my turn. Each haircut only took about 20-30 minutes and then the barber would shout "Next!" and the next person would sit down. But that's where I got lost.

The first guy sat down and requested something having to do with a "number six." Another guy sat down and said he wanted a "two on the sides, and a three on top." It was like they were ordering at a McDonald's drive-thru, and I half expected the barber to ask if they wanted fries with that. I tried looking around for a sign that explained this barber shop lingo, but I couldn't locate one. (I finally looked it up online while re-reading this entry, and I guess the numbers refer to the different clipper attachments. So I guess that mystery is solved.)

When it was my turn, I told the guy I wanted my head buzzed and the back of my neck evened out. "How short?" he asked.

"The shortest you got." (This is probably where I should've said a number.)

"You want shade?"

It should've occurred to me that "shade" simply refers to a very short buzz. I guess it's called that because the hair is so short it just looks like there's a shade on your head? Maybe he meant "shadow"? But the Internet and the youths have ruined the word "shade" for me, and it made me think of "throwing shade," so I thought he was asking if I wanted to be talked bad about in a roundabout manner. And I definitely didn't want that. But I was also confused as to why he'd be asking that, because you don't usually ask people before you throw shade at them. So between his barber lingo and the modern slang in my own head, there was clearly a language barrier.

After I while, I realized I'd been thinking about his question way too long and it was starting to get awkward. My brain was telling me he couldn't mean the modern-day Urban Dictionary-esque definition of "shade" that I was thinking of, so I just said, "Um....sure." And then the buzzers started buzzing and the hair started flying.

I gotta say, it was quite relaxing. The buzzing was fast, and then he used one of those fancy straight razors to do my neck and sideburns. And then he put some weird, steam punk-looking bracelet attachment on his arm and just when I thought he was about to tell me he was a robot or a Borg (from Star Trek) he turned it on, the contraption started vibrating, and he used it to give me a neck and shoulder massage. And then I paid and left.

However, almost immediately after walking out I noticed my head was a bit chillier than normal and apparently a "shade" is a lot shorter of a buzz than I'd normally give myself, but I figure that just means I don't have to go back for a while. For $13 (plus tip), it was an interesting experience.

In other hair-related news (What a fun topic. Are you having fun?), I accidentally shaved off about half of my eyebrows. (By that, I mean half of each one, not a full one of the pair.) I should explain that, too, because I tweeted about it.

My eyebrows are very low-maintenance. I don't get them waxed or plucked or anything, but I do use a tiny razor and touch them up in a couple places every week or so, because they tend to get this weird hump on top and extend a little farther outwards than I'd like.

The tip of my finger is almost about
where my eyebrow normally extends to.
But not anymore, as you can see.
So I was doing my normal touch-up yesterday morning, and I guess I was more tired than usual and I looked in the mirror and about half of my right eyebrow was missing. And when hair is missing, it's not like when the dog is missing, or the TV remote is missing. Missing hair can't be recovered (aside from wigs). You don't post up signs around the neighborhood that read: "Missing Hair / Answers to the name of 'Bob.'" (Get it? Because a bob is a type of hairstyle? Like I said, you're getting what you pay for here.) Missing hair is just gone.

Saying my eyebrow is half gone might be exaggerating slightly, but I took off at least 40% of it. (There will be a photo for reference somewhere in this entry.) Then, of course, I had to try to make the left one look similar, so I ended up lopping off part of it as well. So now my small eyebrows make me look like I'm perpetually worried, and I'm hoping people at work will think that's the case so they'll stop giving me more work. Life's all about the silver linings.

-joe