The Barber of My Dreams

My dream barber would make me want to get a haircut, and not just when the hair above my ears threatens to mingle with the hair on my ears to create hair headphones that make it impossible to overhear people saying that I look like Frasier Crane from the first season of “Frasier,” when it was party in the back, local-radio-show therapy in the front.

My dream barber would never lie to me, or to himself, by telling me that I wasn’t thinning on top and am “actually doing better in that department” than he is before removing his hat to display the saddest island of hair the world has ever seen. If Columbus sailed scalps instead of the ocean blue, even he wouldn’t have confused it for the West Indies, whatever that means. The barber of my dreams would take it easy while tying the cape around my neck. I tend to ramble when I’m about to lose consciousness.

My dream barber would have a good sense of humor, but never laugh when I show him a photo of a hilariously handsome man like Jude Law, or when I show him a photo of Dr. Greene from “ER,” who is, well, attainably less so. He would understand that I think it’s funny, too, but not “haha” funny. More “Southern Gothic literature” funny, which is to say, grim. Flannery O’Connor once wrote that a good man is hard to find, and I’ve found the same to be true about men’s hair styles. Something tells me that, as I lay dying, I’ll be cursing all of the time I spent combing through the Google Images results for “balding but looks O.K.”

My dream barber would know exactly what I was looking for when I showed him these photos—better yet, I wouldn’t have to show him photos at all. He would perceive what I’d like to do with my ’do and not suggest that I shave my head and start working out to look more like the Rock. That’s simply not going to happen with my schedule. Why, I still haven’t finished the common-birds-of-New England puzzle that I got for my birthday as a present to myself! Unlike certain jacked movie stars, I’ve got things to do and can’t spend my time joking around at the gym.

My dream barber would do the heavy lifting in conversations—but only if he’s the type of person who enjoys rambling on, like a drunken Little League coach or a politician. I’m not interested in some sort of Chuck E. Cheese-style animatronic that solely exists to entertain me. Thing is, I just don’t have much to say, beyond the fact that the “E.” in “Chuck E. Cheese” stands for “entertainment.” Maybe something about the weather if I checked my app that day. Otherwise, I’d have to go back outside to freshen my memory, which would definitely delay things and be bad for business. Also, onlookers would likely be under the impression that I was “snipping and slipping,” and I don’t need that. I’ve already developed a reputation for “dining and dashing” after I thought I saw the dog from “Frasier” sniffing the pile of garbage bags across the street.

My dream barber would be able to look at the big picture while also remaining aware of the importance of little things, like offering free lollipops pre- and post-trim. After all, it’s not a lot to ask. I’ve seen what a gross of those goes for on Amazon and have actually ordered one myself. Plus, they’re not even that good. What’s the point of hoarding them like precious diamonds?

My dream barber would shave a diamond into my hair and it would look awesome—or he’d talk me out of it with more grace than a waiter who’s trying to take my money after following me for a mile at a full-on sprint.

My dream barber charges more than the stylist named Vinny who nearly van Gogh-ed me, but less than the lady who said that my “misshapen” head reminded her of modern Japanese pottery.

My dream barber wouldn’t make a big deal of it when I come back the next day to ask for a little more off the top of the shoulders. Better yet, the barber of my dreams would make my haircut look perfect the first time around—or as perfect as a haircut can look on an irregular vase. ♦

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