April 2003 - Belmont Park - Mission Beach

Side dish with haircut? Maxim, Playboy, Edith Piaf, and Race

So yesterday I got a haircut. I went to my usual place – a one room, one barber joint that’s been there awhile.

I go to a barbershop I guess for the culture of it. It’s a typically male experience.

So when I get there there’s already a fellow in the chair. A man in his sixties or seventies. So I sit in one of the two “waiting” chairs. These themselves are barber chairs, though I’ve no idea when the last time someone used them that way. I peruse the reading material — what do we have? Maxim with Monica Belucci on the cover, last month’s Playboy, and a sportsfishing magazine whose title I don’t recall. There was a fourth, too — maybe a gambling magazine?

For a long while, I refused to come to go to this establishment. The main dude is a likable fellow, but occasionally, as older men are wont to do, particularly older white men, he spouts a joke or comment that’s just too off-color, or racial for my taste.

For about six months I refused to come to this guy because of one particularly egregious comment. I’ll not detail it here, but it made me a little sick.

Even sicker, I found myself at a loss as to how to react. I think I weakly said something like “well come on now man, that’s not true what you’re saying” … and then let it go. Had this been a friend or family member, I’d have pressed the issue. As it is, I voted with my feet and simply didn’t patronize the establishment for a long while.

I rationalized my lack of backbone by saying that I’d done what capitalism says I should do — punish poor vendors by not buying from them.

Another part of me thinks — why does it matter? — this is a man who is old, and part of a generation with archaic views. They will soon enough die, and those with (supposedly) more progressive views will be left.

And yet another part of me thinks of that line — “all it takes for there for there to be evil in the world is for good men to do nothing.”

Then again, do I really want to challenge the beliefs of someone who is holding very sharp implements next to my head? Is that the moment to say “I object to your archaic worldview” — how smart would that be, in a Machiavellian sense?

So I didn’t use him for several months.

But now that I lack a car, I can’t go to the shop I like in Clairemont, at least not easily. This leaves me with things close to work. And this barber is close to work.

What I want to type here is that there is a great lesson here, or that I made a bold move of some kind in defense of the melting pot, and I am a great champion of diversity. The truth is, I’m just a guy who gets his hair cut. There are worse things I guess.

Anyway, yesterday the thing that was most interesting was the music selection whilst I was in the chair, getting my hair cut. It was Edith Piaf. Singing her melancholy, beautiful French song to the older gentlemen in attendance. (Population: me, the barber, and another older fellow).

I found it incongruous and delightful simultaneously to be exposed to some Edith Piaf. I was delighted further that when one song ended, another began! The guy who was in the on-deck-circle inquired about it. Asking what tape it was. Turns out it was handcrafted by the barber. My quasi-racist throwback of a barber knows how to make a mix tape! I couldn’t help but be impressed.

For some reason I felt my trip was worthy for that reason alone.

Bonus: the haircut is pretty good. Short on the sides, slightly longer up top.

Postscript: I’m flirting with the notion of reviving my goatee. We’ll see how long it lasts.

posted this 20 years ago.
What else did he post in June 2003?

(Tuesday June 3rd 2003 at 12:34pm)

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