The Truth About Dudes and Haircuts

Two quick notes before I start this post.

  1. The word “dude” has never left my vocabulary and, in fact, has recently gained traction in my common usage. I hate saying guys, men, or fella’s. So, for instance, if I were in court and was forced to recount the story of my arrest, I would most likely say that a couple of “dudes in uniform” busted me while I was trying to “rob a dude.” Are we all on the same page, dudes? Glorious!
  2. I don’t usually like to get all gender-specific (unlike my counterpart on this website) but as a dude I can only speak as a dude on this topic. Ladies, please back me up on this one. You know how us dudes are! So in other words, this one goes out to all the dudes and the ladies.

I begin with a simple picture of a dude with shaggy hair. He has let his dudely mane grow for far too long. Why? Fear. Fear of what, you ask? Is he afraid all his strength lies in his golden locks? Of course not. Dudes like Vin Diesel disprove that theory on the daily. Well, is he afraid of scissors then? No. He loves scissors and, in fact, once eloped to Las Vegas with a pair of shears only to find out that the laws there are so biased that they won’t even wed a dude with his tools. THEN WHAT THE HELL IS HE AFRAID OF? Hey, no need to yell! The dude is cowering under his moppy top because he is afraid of The Inevitable Bad Haircut.

Simply put, dudes don’t know how to get a haircut. We go about it all wrong.

For instance, I have a “breaking point” where I can’t stand the look of my head once the hair gets a certain length on the back of my neck. I cringe when I see a whisp of curl flipping out behind my ears. Apparently, my body has an inate aversion to the mullet. When this happens, I panic and immediately dial the barber and schedule an appointment because I know I won’t be able to get a wink of sleep on this second pillow of mullet hair that night. But once I get to the barber, all hell breaks loose.

Barbers are perhaps the worst professionals still allowed to practice. First off, they are always bald so you have no idea how to judge their talents. To me, that is like being a glove designer who was born without hands. Or a rock musician without a life-threatening drug problem. Which is to say I am highly skeptical of your abilities.

So the barber asks what I would like and I reply with something I know they can understand, “Just make it shorter, dude.” After all, it’s your job to know hair. Shouldn’t I trust your gnarled, old man-hands to top me off right. I am hair clay for you to go all Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore on (ok, bad Ghost analogy).

With his cue, the barber gets chopping. Snip here. Snip there. I can’t even bear to watch. I literally close my eyes. I like my haircuts like a Jenny Craig commercial, just a before and after picture. Granted, there are other reasons why I can’t look. Who enjoys staring at themselves for an hour in the mirror while in the presence of strangers? I can’t stand it. I will do anything but look straight ahead. I find myself really stretching my human ability to use peripheral vision.  I’m reading product labels from 60 feet away, counting combs in the formaldehyde, acutely examining the grout between flooring tiles. I love it when the barber has personal artifacts that distract my attention. It means I no longer have to imagine what he looks like in sunglasses and a speedo while standing near a beach.

Eventually, the barber stops, looks closely at me, maybe even touches a finger to each of my sideburns and then begins the question and answer period of our visit. He hands me a small mirror and instructs me to look at the giant mirror through the small mirror while spinning me in a 360 on the chair. Then asks, “What do you think?” I think, “You’ve got all these mirrors and you still came dressed to work like that?” But then I get angry because, once again, the professional is asking me to do his job, trying to get off easy by asking an amateur to judge his work.

And at this point what are my available options? If I don’t like it, what can I do? Ask him to glue some of the cut pieces back on? So I lie and say it’s great and get the heck out of the shop. But it doesn’t end there.

The true test of any haircut is getting approval from the girlfriend or wife. Let me just say that this never happens. They always critique. They are the true gurus of haircuts. They’ve all studied phrenology since birth and can describe the perfect haircut in excruciating detail. It is my wish that all barbershops employ one woman to act as a dude-to-dude translator at that critical first moment. It would save us all so much oxygen.

16 thoughts on “The Truth About Dudes and Haircuts”

  1. I can relate to this on soooo many levels. First off, let me preface my remarks by stating that I receive a decent haircut about once a decade.

    The reason? Great Clips sends me coupons for $8 haircuts. They always turn out horrible, but damn, they only cost eight bucks! How can I pass up a deal like that? And so, I go through life perpetually looking like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.

    And I too have a hair-length threshold, that signals when a cut is overdue. Once a hair touches my ears, it’s time for a trip to Great Clips.

    It’s all worth it though in the end. As someone that is routinely pulled over for speeding, simply being a clean-cut white guy saves me from a couple tickets a year. So, thank you Great Clips, for keeping my insurance rates low.

  2. I got my last cut at a “man salon” They serve beer, and have an xbox in the waiting room. The cut was decent, but a bit pricier than great clips (I use the coupons too)
    I am at a crossroads in hair styles right now. After my trip to the man salon I discovered gel. Gel and I have been having a good time together. However I realize that I can never become a true Eastern Washingtonian without out ever having had a mullet. Or I could have the best of both worlds….a rat tail.

  3. You know why women have a better experience getting haircuts? Because they build a relationship with the person cutting their hair and those individuals “know how they like it”.

    Albiet, finding that one person that does a good enough job to warrant going back to over and over again is akin to finding the lost ark of the covenant.

    Guys gotta find a barbershop, preferably one where all the dudes are having mad-crazy conversations about “bitches and hoes”, and roll-the-dice. Go back repeatedly, even if you didn’t think the last cut was super great. Pretty soon you will be getting the “Norm cheer” when you enter and the dudes will care about making you look good.

    And please, please, don’t schedule a haircut. You gotta roll in like it’s another day for you in the neighborhood and you came by to pay respects. Keep it old school.

  4. Well happy birthday to me! Another post not about babies or placents! That is what I wished for on my birthday cake this am. I would like to have the job of being the one girl there that says yeah or nay to the cut before dudes leave. But then again I don’t have style becuase I am all for Pete rockin the rat tail.

  5. if any of you know me, i’m not afraid of new styles. i’m always for experimentation. we only live once, and who wants to go they’re whole life looking like the same person they’ve been since high school (mcsex). but contrary to my belief, i have respect for people who keep the same look on their head they’re entire lives. it kind of makes you look ageless. yesterday, i went to my hair stylist and she chopped about 6 inches off my hair. now i look like mike myers from wayne’s world. i guess you’re just f*()ked no matter what you do. standard.

  6. A very humorous approach, and very true. You have a unique writing style, and this was fun to read. I like my hair long, and one time, this barber disagreed with me, saying “oh I don’t like long hair at all, but I’ll see what I can do.” She cut about seven inches off, and it was only six inches long. It wasn’t very good at all – but this is a situation contrary to yours. I actually knew how I wanted it, and she had to voice her opinion, talking with her scissors. Ah well.

  7. Let’s not forget the pump Suave, Centaur. Without that in your holster, I doubt you’d be getting off as easy flying down Five Mile.

  8. Yes, I frequent the cheap barbershops and hair salons also. I’ve been to great clips a number of times, and the last time that I went to one will be the last time. I walked in and there was an old dude standing there, so I thought I might get a decent haircut. I asked him how long he had been cutting hair and he said about 30 years, so I said ok. Then, sure enough and in the words of the Captive Lion, all hell broke loose. He was shaky and trying to move way to fast. His clippers were actually pulling the hair out rather than cutting it, probably because they had not been sharpened for about 30 years. Then, about halfway through the cut and me with a sore scalp, he is cutting the top with the clipper and the attachment falls off and he proceeds to cut a chunk of hair off the top of my head… to the scalp. Now I’ve got a bald spot right on the top of my head. About five minutes later he asks me if I felt that, and I say “hell yeah I felt that”. He promises me that he will “smooth it out” and I’m thinking how the hell is he going to do that. Then about 3 minutes later the attachment falls off again and he almost cuts another bald spot on the top of my head. By the way, he had said that the first time that the attachment fell off was the first time it had happened in his 30 year career as a hair stylist. By this time I’m pissed off and ready to go, and of course, he gives me the haircut for free and is apologizing continuously until I leave. I get home to find out that he has basically given me a reverse short-long, where it is longer in the front and then smoothed out toward the top and the back. He had told me that that was how the basketball players liked their hair cut. Funny, don’t think I’ve ever seen a basketball player with a haircut like that, or anyone with a haircut like that for that matter. Long story short, never going back. Even if it is $8. Remember that Centaur, remember!

  9. Yes, Bailes, I see you’ve met Willy the barber… he’s a legend at Great Clips. And what you’ve described is the typical experience I encounter at Great Clips every time. The best part of a cut there is that you always leave with the same amount of hair as when you arrived. It’s just cut into smaller pieces and fallen down the back of your shirt and stuck to your face. It’s a hideous look, but it’s better than paying the extra $2 they want for a shampoo rinsing.

  10. And now for the comment rundown:

    Centaur: Funny, I never knew you went to Great Clips for your doo-whip. I always assumed there was a cheap pet groomer nearby who gave you the Cocker-Spaniel for $5 bucks under the table.

    Peteosaurus: “Gel” is just man-synonym for mousse. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you aren’t moussing.

    Philnick: How much did your flowbee cost? Judging from your comment I’m guessing you’ve actually never been to a real barbershop. And no, seeing the Ice Cube movie doesn’t count.

    Brenda: Happy Birthday. As your gift, I won’t poke fun at your comment. Except to say that your taste in rat tails doesn’t surprise me!

    Solo: You are like the doll I remember they made when we were kids that when you cranked her arm, more hair came spitting out the top of her head. And I mean that in a good way.

    Steven: Thanks for commenting. I love new commentors! I hope everything healed ok or that you learned to love your new scab helmet.

    Danielle: No clue what you are talking about. Keep it up!

    Bailes: So that is your long drawn out excuse for your bald spot. Not bad! Love the detail. You really have an imagination!

    Me: I have found the light and now go to a real hair salon to get a cut by a woman who knows what she is doing. Cut out the middle-dude, I say!

  11. I go to a beauty school that’s a half mile from my house. If I have time to go during the week, I can use a coupon so it costs me $4. If I have to go on Saturday, then I agonizingly hand over $6. I figure for the price, if it’s that bad I can just buzz the whole thing off and start over. But they’ve been pretty good to me so far…

    Good stuff.

  12. I must preface all comments by saying a couple things. 1) I am developing quite the bald spot, so I am very interested in the haircut experience while i can.

    Not to mention, reading all the comments from you dudes who are blessed with a full head of hair for the rest of your adulthoods. Hair is no joke when you are wrestling with the prospect of not having it for much longer.

    2) My girlfriend/boss/better half just recently recieved a license to cut hair. There is a more professional name for it, but in true jackass fashion, I can’t recall the proper title.

    So, I have, by default and in my opinion only, have become a defacto expert on this subject matter.

    I recieved my first haircut on Wednesday since the month of December from the newly licensed girlfriend.

    I feel 10 years younger, and sorry Zillionaire, I had little curlies all over the place. If you’d have seen me, you’d have had nightmares for a week. I looked like a drug addled, aging rock musician. I thought I looked pretty sweet, but I was getting looks from colleagues/students/strangers. All signs that you should consider changing your look.

    Nonetheless, anytime I get a haircut, my girlfriend and I discuss what it/I should look like. She is the boss afterall, and has full veto powers over most activities in the household. Hair included. Plus, she has to look at me. When I went to recieve my, what I thought was going to be a trim, I wasn’t in the mood to have our “discussion,” so I explained that she should cut it how she likes it. Afterall, she has to look at me. So, to the point of my tale.

    I was thumbing through the latest edition of the magazine entitled, “Seattle,” (why there is such a thing, I don’t know) and I became really alarmed. My girlfriend, the newly licensed professional shouts, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Comforting. I can’t imagine being a paying customer and hearing such a claim. Well, my haircut was free, and the whole salon got a good laugh out of her comments.

    At least her interpersonal/relationship building skills are off the charts. I’m sure the dough will be rolling in sooner than later.

  13. OK boys, let’s be real. If you are only paying $6 – $8 for a haircut, you don’t deserve to complain about an occassional bad one. Once you start paying $150 for a cut and color like the ladies out there, then you’ll have my sympathy.

    Still, this post had me cracking up. Keep them coming Dave. I never knew the agnst all you “dudes” went through. Jace, I’m sorry you’re bald.

  14. As a former girlfriend, I find it my obligation to discount your statement that the girlfriend/wife always criticizes the haircut. Some women are just as haircut inept as you beauty illiterate men. Seriously, must we perpetuate these damaging stereotypes?

  15. It’s true, Megan couldn’t have cared a rat’s ass how the hair on my head looked. She only had one rule–no back hair. I got a bi-weekly plucking. (Just some random scragglers.)

  16. What about the tipping at the end of the haircut! I am always at odds over whether I should go over the standard tip of $2(for a $14 haircut with a $2 coupon), in hopes of getting a better haircut next time, or just stick with $2 knowing that bad tipping will result in bad haircuts next time.

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