Haircuts- Tom Stevenson
Up until this year, I used to get my haircut at a salon. One of those Tony and Guy, Headmasters chains where they cut the air around your head for forty five minutes and a plump woman named Cheryl tells you about her child’s appalling struggle with dyslexia. They then charge you £35 for making you look like a gay medieval prince.
The saving grace of these establishments is the head massage.
The skinny tattooed girl who can’t be trusted with cutting real hair yet firmly, but gently digs her fingers into your scalp, tickles that inexplicably erogenous zone on the back of your head, kneads the shampoo in concentric circles and you sit there wondering if you can keep it all in or if you’ll have to audibly and visibly express the intolerable pleasure you’re experiencing. You know it’s being done to induce pleasure, but you can’t let out a lustful moan. You have to pretend this is how you always apply shampoo at home and it’s just nice to pay someone else to do it for you.
And for those of us who have tried it at home, we all know it’s just not the same.
So bearing in mind the cost, the awkward encounters with the hairwash girl and Cheryl, I decided to just start going to the barbers. The barber alternative to the hair wash is the clean shave. It does not include the intense arousal of the scalpwank, but it does feel pretty good and it made me feel very manly, mainly due to the fact that a man who greeted me with ‘come to the butcher’ was holding a straight razor across my throat. He forcefully pushed and pulled my head from one side to the other, etching away at my facial hair like an archaeologist trying to unearth dinosaur bones. At the end he slapped on some aftershave that I can only assume was pure gasoline due to scent and really quite sharp pain. I just couldn’t yelp or wince. It was a test of my manhood. So I left thinking how in both scenarios, the hair wash and the clean shave, I had paid for a feeling (pleasure and pain respectively) that I was trying my hardest to resist expressing.
I’m sure it’s just a stiff upper life British thing. I reckon in continental Europe the salons sound like brothels and the barbers like torture chambers.