Sunday, July 9, 2017

Slow getting back into the swing of things, but such is the life of a turtle

Last Tuesday I noticed things were getting pretty shaggy above my ears, so I crossed my fingers for luck and headed up the street to Lincoln Barber.  (They don’t take appointments, it’s either empty or there’s 10 guys in front of you.)  Still, aside from a couple tryouts from other barbers/stylists over the years, and my recent six month move back to my hometown (where my Aunt Sandy’s sister Sharon cut my hair and did a pretty nice job) Lincoln Barber has been my go-to place for 20+ years.

Anyway, when I walked inside I saw right away this wasn’t happening--there must’ve been 8 guys ahead of me.  Roe (who cuts my hair and takes about 35 minutes to do it) knew I wasn’t about to sit there for 4 hours and said “Sorry Dougie Fresh, try again tomorrow.”  Darn it!  But I know they’re always busy for a reason.  So I waited a couple days, then last Friday I walked back up--and encountered the same busy shop again.  Aargh!  As I headed home feeling more frustrated than ever, I passed The Man Cave (an overpriced barbershop run by 2 girls in halter tops) and saw it was empty, but there’s a reason for that too.  And then I saw a sign in the window of Betty’s Beauty Shop—“MENS HAIRCUTS BY JOE, $12 FRIDAYS ONLY.”  Why not?


Here I am back in 2002, after trying out a pricey men’s salon in downtown Pittsburgh; I liked it, even if they did pile a bunch of product on my head. 

What I didn’t like was the $35.00 price tag, not including the tip!  

So in a nutshell—no, turtleshell—I walk into Betty’s Beauty Shop and there’s an old man with a gray buzzcut in one of the chairs, reading a newspaper.  He looks up and says “Here for a haircut?”  My gut told me to get out of there, but I said I guess so.  He stood up and motioned for me to take his chair.  And before I could say “My regular barber uses a No.5 clipper”  I heard what sounded like a high-pitched buzzsaw, felt something hot & biting on my head and a large plop of hair fell in my lap.  I jerked and said “WHOA!  I haven’t even told you what I wanted yet!”  He replied  “Been cuttin’ hair for 45 years, I know what I’m doing”.   After another hard swipe off my noggin,  I said  “Sir—STOP!!  Holy crap, I didn’t want scalped!”   He chuckled, then said “It’ll grow back but you gotta let me finish this now.”   So I sat there, feeling like a hippie in the barber’s chair after being drafted.  When Joe ended his assault, he swung me around to face the mirror (gasp!) then swatted the back of my neck with a wet towel and said “Appreciate your business, come back again soon.”   Soon?!  I stood up, handed him $15 and walked out of there without looking back. 

8 days later, and I know what you’re thinking:  “Oh Doug, it doesn’t look that bad…”  Trust me—you’re just seeing it from a good angle!

As I headed home, my head hunched down and feeling a LOT of breeze up there, I caught a glimpse of myself in the glass of a store-front.  I LOOKED LIKE A TURTLE.  And given the way I’ve been living the last several weeks, hiding out in my shell & slow to doing anything, I was reminded of Don Knotts in “The Incredible Mr. Limpet”.  You think you’re a fish long enough, you become one.  Or in my case, a turtle.

Doug, are you alright?  You haven’t written anything in 3 months!  Are you glad you moved back to Pittsburgh?  How do you like your new place?  Have you got it fixed up yet?  Hey, weren’t you supposed to start a new job?  How’s your TMJ?

These are some of the questions I’ve been asked in the last few weeks, and I have gotten on here several times to share what’s going on or explain recent actions, but frankly I just wondered if it was worth the effort.  Plus with everything going on in the world right now, I’ve been feeling a little self-conscious with my much-ado-about-nothing schtick. 

(It’s not like I’ve ignored my blog entirely though; I’ve added 25 movie reviews to my Movies page in the last month.  Just sayin’!)

So in a real nutshell—yes, I’m VERY glad to be back in my old neighborhood in the city, relieved is more like it.  The new place still needs fixing up, but after the money I’ve spent these past 10 months on moving, medical bills & breaking a lease, I’m just not ready to be spending any more right now.  And I did start that new job, but decided I liked retirement better after all and left after 2 weeks.  (Okay, this one does deserve a lengthier explanation… I’ll save that for next time!)

But all in all, I’m doing just fine.  Well, aside from a butchered head.

green shell turtle


  1. Oh my gosh! I loved the blog! Started chuckling as soon as I read the title, reading, reading (thinking surely not going to show a picture when you won't even come to Rogersville because of not wanting to be seen!) and sure enough - there it is. You were right (Didn't look as bad and I did like the angle. Not nearly as bad as last week's picture). But I immediately thought of Mom. One day Dad went to some barber shop and got a buzz cut (just like yours here) because he was working/plastering at the court house - and dying of heat. When he got home, Mom said "The next time you decide to do that, just keep on walking up the street to Hook's office and file for divorce". Poor Dad!

    1. Thanks Shawn and haha--thanks for sharing that story about Dad, I forgot all about that!

  2. Doug, I appreciated hearing about poor haircuts from a man's point of view. Over the winter my mother received what can only be described as a Judi Dench haircut. I didn't think it looked bad, but she hated it -- she likes a short style, but has to have pieces covering her ears. The good news is, as we know, hair grows...but I know all too well the frustrations of telling a supposedly prestige stylist that you just want a quarter or half inch trim and they end up cutting two inches off. As I talk about in my latest blog post, that lack of communication/service plus the high cost of ladies' haircuts and then having to pay a tip on top of it all (and sometimes two tips if someone different washed your hair) prompted me to look into trimming it myself. And since I have a simple style that justifies it, I intend to give myself my own haircuts unless I decide to change to a style that requires an expert.

    Although I don't think your haircut looks bad, if I were you I'd give them a negative review on Yelp since the guy clearly didn't give a rip about what you wanted...I bet he gives every man that walks in the same style. And I wouldn't be surprised if the place has its fair share of negative customer reviews.

    1. Thanks for your input Pam--well, I'm sorry your mother didn't like her cut (I do think it looks nice on Judi Dench though!) But like we talked about last week, at least I didn't pay an arm & leg for mine. I did ask my regular barber once (who's a woman) if women ever came in asking for a trim, she said no but she wished they would. Maybe women who just want a tounch-up should consider finding a good barber? Of course, you run the risk of someone like this Joe here... :|

    2. It definitely sounds like this dude just gives everyone the same haircut he gives himself. It sounds like he needs to hang up the barber's clippers for good!

      About 15 years ago I wanted a shag...but the modern, tousled shags that were popular at the time. I made the mistake of going to my mother's older gentleman. I had a photo of what I wanted, but I walked out of there with Jane Fonda's "Klut" hairstyle. Yep, he gave me the shag haircut straight out of the 1970s...with my blonde hair it resembled Mrs. Brady's do! I'm all about the retro as you know, but there is such a thing as TOO retro. And it nearly looked like a mullet. And believe it or not, I did return to him...and instructed him to cut off the longer mullet pieces. Once he did that, I did actually end up with the style I was thinking of. But with my fine straight hair it ended up being more maintenance than I thought it would...and eventually grew my hair out.

    3. Fonda's Klute hair was a great style, but I can see where it could be a Mrs.Brady shag if the stylist went too far.. well Pam, it looks like you finally found the style that works for you :)


Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad to hear from you and appreciate the time you take to comment.