First Visit to ManLand

I have recorded at length my own experiences with haircuttery. I have not really said much about the kids’ hair. Here’s the lowdown:

– I cut their hair myself
– until it’s too awful and then we take them to the overpriced kiddie salon where the lady cuts it in 10 seconds with clippers
– then we try to do it with clippers because how hard could it be, really?
– oh, that’s right, it’s hard. Kiddie salon.

It is somewhat easier with Fresco’s hair because it is curly and forgiving of my random sideways scissor swipes but Trombone’s hair is straight. And thick. And blond. A while back he said, “I am so hot. I would be so much less hot if I had a haircut.” So we tried to get it cut – SA took them both to the kiddie salon but it was busy so salon lady could only do Fresco, which went something like this:


and Trombone came home with his same head of hair. Which I tried to trim while he was in the bath but then he got bored and started a waterfight with Fresco so I only did one side of his head and badly. But no one bled.

On Saturday I had a brilliant idea. I would, after “quiet time,” take Trombone to a haircutting establishment and get his hair cut. Fulfilling a double mandate of one-on-one time with your child and grooming. He doesn’t need a fancy chair and coddling from the kiddie salon because he is four years old and very reasonable about that sort of thing.

We strolled over to the nearby convenience mall, the one with the liquor store, and asked at the hair place that never has any customers but has a sign advertising kids cuts for $8.99. She apologized and said they had no booster seat but they had ordered one. So we walked around the corner to the strip mall that is gradually losing all its tenants to make way for a multi-use, new-fangled facility. Unsurprisingly, the hair salon had moved several blocks away.

Then a bus came! So we took it uptown and tried the Pirate Barber (actually called The Hub, in the little mall/business place where the London Drugs is) (so named because they have a man’s head, um, not a real one, a mannequin, in the window and it has an eyepatch) but the Pirate Barber’s sign said they closed at 4 and it was 3:53 and there were two customers in the chairs already so we went across the street to another barber shop and that is how I ended up in ManLand.

I have never been to a barber shop. I always assumed barber shops are just like hair salons. They aren’t. People just walk in and sit down and wait their turn. You don’t need an appointment – and you don’t need a sign outside that says “walk ins welcome” because everyone is a walk in.

Men take 5 minutes to get their hair cut. This I kind of assumed, based on how long it takes them to use the bathroom. It’s a polite way to do business; if everyone takes five minutes, then walking in off the street and waiting is not such a hardship. Compare this to the one ladies’ salon we walked into and out of just as quickly:

Me: Do you cut kids’ hair?
Lady: Yes…but we have all our appointments for the day
Me: Oh, OK, no problem
Lady: We really recommend that you call first
Me: Sure, no problem
Lady: We can get very busy.

Lady! Shut up! I was just asking, OK? I am moving on now! Do you realize that the Mizzle has the most haircuttery per square foot of any municipality in Canada*?
* not an actual statistic

Anyway, at the barber shop I said, do you cut kids’ hair and the barber said, yup. And I said, can we wait? And he said, yup, but there are two people ahead of you. So Trombone and I sat and he looked at magazines, of which there were 400.

Trombone: This one is full of CARS!
Me: Indeed.
Trombone: I’m gonna trade you magazines now. I want that one. That one has COWBOYS.
Me: Yup. (flipping through Equinox magazine from 1989 that says Vancouver should expect a big earthquake any minute now. Gulp.)
Trombone: Someday, I am going to learn to lasso.
Me: OK then.

After 10 minutes it was our turn. The stuffed fish and giant boar’s head watched me from the wall as I took my seat near the barber’s chair. I didn’t want to be too mom-y but you know. First barber. Who knows what’s going to happen.

Our barber, the son of the other barber, was delightful. Personable. But he kept snickering. Eventually I realized he was snickering at our attempts to cut Trombone’s hair.

“What did you DO,” he said.
“I was just trimming – with the – ”
“Don’t do it again.”

He cut Trombone’s hair perfectly and then put gel in it and gave him a sucker. I felt very like an interloper. Like I shouldn’t be in on this experience, you know, it’s a man thing. A man tells his boy about the barber. I kept wondering, are there secret doors I’m not seeing because I’m female? Would there be beer served if I wasn’t here? Is there porn under that big pile of Golf Weekly? I will never know. Do you tip the barber? I did, because he did a great job, but maybe they’re still laughing about the lady who tipped them. I don’t know – I wouldn’t laugh at money, personally, but I’m not a barber. Apparently I am about as far as you can get from a barber.

We left and went to the dollar store. See, at the kiddie salon, for $22, you get to sit in a race car or train or motorcycle, and they cut your hair AND you get a junky toy from a box. I told Trombone he could pick a toy at the dollar store, because Fresco got a toy for his haircut. All Trombone wanted was a gun. The kid almost-next-door has a gun and it makes gun noises. Dollar store full of wonders and Trombone is all, nope, nope, nope, I want this dart gun.

I say, No I am not buying you a dart gun.
Why not?
Because you will injure yourself, your brother and me with it. Also, it is $8. Did I say I would buy you an eight dollar toy? No, I said a DOLLAR toy.
How about this gun? It is a shotgun!
That’s not a gun.
Yeah, I know.

Finally I talked him down to a Masked Bandit Kit for $1.29 including a small pistol, a mask and a small plastic star badge that says “Masked Man” on it – I guess in case it isn’t clear from the mask. He happily carried it home on the bus and we opened the package at home, where there was no risk of losing any of the pieces.

He has been shooting bad guys ever since, his crunchy hair peeking above his black mask, the back of his neck all exposed, perfect skin. I don’t mind the gun business, as long as it’s not in my face.

There he is, short spiky hair, baggy jeans, pointing guns at bad guys and yelling inexplicable curses at them (OH, BELOVED! was one of them), asking me when he can have a video game. I could be forgiven for thinking I’ve got a teenager. Except that: even as I typed this, he wept bitterly from his room because a little piece of the toy gun broke and now it doesn’t click anymore.

Moral: You can put man-hair on a boy but he still won’t be a man until he goes to the barber alone.

(It sounds better in its native Czech.)
(No, not really)

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