1. They’re no longer called barber shops. Apparently just calling yourself a salon allows you to add a 30% margin to your prices.
2. The back-of-the-head mirror glance. After the haircut, the barber always flashes a mirror and asks me if I’m happy with the way he has cut parts of my hair that I otherwise would never be able to see. The first person who tells them, “No, I’m not satisfied” deserves a ticket straight to heaven, which is probably where he’ll be headed after the barber goes all Edward Scissorhands on him for the rebuke.
3. The magazine selection. Why, in a men’s barber shop, would you keep only men’s fitness magazines? What’s a guy gotta do to get an FHM or Playboy?
4. The disapproving sniff. Yes, my hair is a mess. That’s why I’m here.
5. “How would you like your hair cut?” Well, I’d like it cut really short so I don’t have to see you again for six months.
6. Becoming a captive audience. I’m stuck in that chair until the barber tells me it’s time to go home. Until then, I have to listen to every inane thing he says and I’m afraid if I don’t give a sufficiently interesting reply he’ll nick me.
7. The “blade or machine” question. It can be really hard to decide if I want to risk getting AIDS or have my neck tickled by a buzzing machine.
8. The massage. I know how dirty my hair is and now I have the barber who has been handling my hair for the last 30 minutes ask if I’d like a neck message. Not with those hands, buddy.
9. The risk of murder. Here’s an enclosed space filled with sharp scissors and there isn’t a security guard in sight.
10. The guys with the photographs. Dude, just because you’re showing an underpaid man a picture of Brad Pitt doesn’t mean he can make you look like him.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 22nd, 2012.