It's 9:00 pm, and I just got back from the barbershop. I was in and out in no time. There was no waiting. In fact there is never any waiting at this barbershop. I can get a haircut any time I so desire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The barber is a most congenial fellow. He is eager to please. He always cuts my hair just the way I want it, and he refuses any pay for his labor. The only drawback is that he remains completely quiet during the haircut. No idle barbershop gossip nor sports talk nor earth-shattering political comments nor jokes. Let me explain:
The barbershop is in my bathroom. I am the barber. I figured that if barbers of old could be doctors (or at least surgeons... and there is a difference), then a semi-retired physician could be a barber. I was pushed in this direction by several simultaneous events: (1) Bubba (no kidding), my barber since my high school days, retired. (2) There was no other barber in town whom I wanted to patronize. (3) Bubba's former partner, who had cut my hair in Bubba's absence, left town and opened a barbershop about 7 miles away. Going to his shop and waiting would entail more time than I wanted to invest in a simple haircut. (4) My hair, or what is left of it, is no great challenge. (5) My young colleagues and others have adopted the "shaved" head or close- cropped hair styles. (6) No matter what my hair style, I will not resemble a young Paul Newman or Robert Redford. No need for a hair stylist here.
Sidebar: It's amazing how many men now patronize Hair Stylist (previously known as Beauticians) in Hair Salons (previoulsy known as Beauty Parlors). The barberhop, that once great male bastion has almost disappeared from the scene.
I decided to go with the close-cropped hair style. I had previously sworn to myself that I would never adopt the "comb-over" style, in which what little hair remains on the head is allowed to grow to 12 - 24 inches in length and then combed back and forth over the head to cover the male pattern of baldness.
So I went to the local WalMart and bought the least expensive home haircutting kit (but mine is the 10-piece, not the 8-piece model pictured). I now simply attach the 3/8" comb attachment and cut the sides and back. Then I use the 1/8" comb attachment to cut the top. Then my bride kindly trims and shaves the back of my neck...a true labor of and proof of love. The results are most satisfying. Even my children find no fault with the new "do".
I now get a haircut when I want it. I save time. And, I save money. But, I still miss Bubba and the comraderie of the barbershop.