I can’t remember when I stopped getting my hair cut on a regular basis by a professional. It might have been apathy instilled by the inexorable hegemony of male-pattern baldness, leading me to reason it was kind of pointless to worry about what’s going on under my hat, plus maybe the odd satisfaction of not spending any money to achieve a “creative type” appearance (Rick Rubin, The Dude, “Duck Dynasty” serial killer—take your pick). It’s been years since I’ve done anything other than pull my hair back with one hand and invite my lovely Bride to snip off whatever’s sticking out of my closed fist, leaving me with a generally shoulder-length, stringy, thinning, graying mane. Hey, it’s a look! This month, though, I decided to try something different after STYLE said they’d foot the bill if I’d subject myself to a expert.
Climbing the Hairway: On a sunny Saturday morning, the Bride and I entered Hairway to Steven, a bright, sharp and distinctively appointed barbershop in beautiful downtown Towson. I was greeted by the man himself—sporting, of course, perfectly maintained hair and facial foliage—who looked at my scraggly mane and said, “Hey, you look fine. If I could pull that off, I would.” Still, I stayed and deferred entirely to the opinion of Master Barber Steven—and, since this is a barbershop, the opinions of everybody else there behind a chair. As long as we have barbershops, there will always be free speech.
The Experience: We (collectively) decided on a radical shift to short-but-stylish. Later on, the Bride told me the initial phase of removing the old overgrowth was absolutely terrifying to behold, since the immediate result was an expedient and severe bowl cut in the manner of one of the dorks in the “Dumb and Dumber” movies, or perhaps Moe Howard, if you are a fan of short art films.
The Verdict: Hey, I’m not gonna lie: It looks good. I stepped off the chair a New Man, and even went all-in on the transformation by purchasing a pot of pleasant- smelling Suavecito pomade ($14) to maintain the new me. The Bride loves it and says I look like I have more hair now. Other reviews of the new cut and accompanying beard trim: “Grateful Dead roadie to Horton Heat roadie” and “Eugene, Oregon, to Portland, Oregon!” Out in the real world, I have received nothing but acclaim and shocked expressions. It’s always a sign when people tell you how good you look, because what it really means is how bad you used to look. I’m headed back to Steven next week for a trim. On my own dime.