Sunday, March 17, 2024

No More Bad Hair Days!

one wearing glasses
I got a haircut last Saturday at First Choice near my house and I have lost track of how many people told me they like my new do.

My favourite was on Tuesday, just after I finished work for the day.

I stepped out onto the porch and noticed our brand new neighbour woman, who just bought the house directly across the street, walking up the sidewalk towards her recently purchased home. 

I knew what I had to do. (My sister Charlene once put it this way: "Nobody's safe around you are they?" Nope.)

I strode across the street, introduced myself and before we said much, I saw another neighbour, who lives a few houses east of us on our side. I motioned her over, with "Ashley come meet the new person." 

She did  but before I could introduce them, Ashley was like, "Hey Peter. Nice haircut!"

If that didn't freak Ms New Neighbour out a bit,  maybe it should have, especially if she'd seen the super eerie Netflix series The Watcher, in which a happy family moves into their dream home. At first, the weirdly perfect neighbours are all smiling and like, "welcome here" and "we get along so well on this street" and then you know what happens next. But never mind that. 

My second favourite was another neighbour named Calvin who started with "great haircut," but then paused and added, with so much diplomacy he should be appointed to the UN, "but I liked it longer, too. You're one of those fortunate people who can make it work either way."  Calvin could write a book titled How to make people feel good about themselves.

I've had coworkers comment; quite a few neighbours and even the members of the writers' group that I sit in on every Friday. I told my wife Helena that I am going into the office one day next week because there were a few people I wanted to talk to directly but also, "because some folks haven't seen my new haircut." I was kidding. I swear.

Such a great hair week has this been that this morning, I decided to return to the scene of the wizardry--First Choice Haircutters--to thank the stylist, whose name I believe is Rob--for his handiwork.  

I also wanted to take Rob's picture to go with this blog because the barber's photo is a key part of the story.  

Here's why: For as long as I've been going for haircuts, when the barber gets to that part where he or she asks, "how would you like your hair?" I am at a loss for words. (Yeah, I know.) 

I glance at the handsome haircut models on the wall, but nobody has a head like mine. Most are mysteriously dark-eyed swarthy types with artistically shaped five o'clock shadows. 

I've always dreaded that question.
THUNK THE BARBER: "My customer has it bad 
for this guy."

The only time I got the answer right was once when I was writing the Family Room column for Chatelaine, and a professionally taken shot of me appeared  on the page, every issue. 

On one trip to the barber, I happened to be carrying a copy and when he asked how I wanted my hair, I opened the magazine and pointed at me.  "Like that!" I said.

My haircut turned out alright but I forgot to tell him the photo was actually me, so I'm sure the barber was left thinking, "My customer must really like  the woman's magazine columnist." (He's right. I do.)

But last Saturday, I didn't have a magazine.

Rob asked me how I wanted my hair, I looked into the mirror and realized the right answer was looking me in the eye.
"Same as yours," I said.

Rob: "Mine?"

Me: "Yup."  

Away he went. Confidently clipping and snipping and wiping and chatting, about travel, his love of airplanes and his 92 year old mom who still lives alone and drives a car. Only after it was done did I realize he probably took my instructions as a compliment. I hope he did. 

Because his work has certainly led to more than my fair share. That's why I returned to tell him this morning.

Turns out he's on three weeks holidays. So I'll have to wait to tell him the story I just told you. You can bet I will. The  hair stylist added an unprecedented sparkle to my week.

Which reminds me of another Chatelaine memory. The day news went around the office that a locally renowned stylist, who had a shop on Yorkville Avenue not far from Chatelaine, was closing up shop and moving to another city, a  few of my colleagues--his loyal clients-- almost fell into a state of mourning. At least one broke down and cried. That was, I thought, quite the over-reaction.

Oh wait. Another thing Rob told me? 

He's retiring in a few years and probably moving to Niagara. 

My question is, do you suppose Helena will be surprised when I tell  her I think we should move there too? I have a busload of cousins down that way. Should be fun.