The Canadian Chronicles, Vol. 1 — Finding a Barbershop

Greetings from the Great White North. I’ve been told that I brought the warmth with me. Today’s high — 27. Fahrenheit. Luckily, I brought coats, too.
So the other day, I had one of the worst predicaments a man can have — looking for a barbershop out of town. Out of the country, no less.
Now, the last time I had to Google a barbershop was in Raleigh, when I had a TV appearance sprung upon me. All I could do was go in the phone book and look for the first shop that sounded like it was run by black people. What resulted was a trip to a strip mall, and the barbershop was comfortably nestled between a check cashing joint and a laundromat, with plenty of teenagers keeping watch. At 1 p.m. On a Wednesday. Had to decide whether Outside the Lines was worth getting jacked.
This time, the folks at my office were kind enough to help. A gentleman, without me asking, found one on Google. No disrespect to him, but I asked Sacha, since he was more likely to actually frequent the establishment in question. Found one he said was decent.
(On a related note, Sacha was glad that I was there to explain to Pizzo that, no, I wouldn’t let a white man cut my hair. I think Pizzo thought that was a bit racist. If only that dude knew the questions from white people I’ve had to answer about my hair, and mine’s actually fairly straight. Plus, if dude were to mess up my hair cuz he’d never seen anything like it…I’d hate to hear what might come out. You don’t mess up a man’s haircut, man. Ever. No refund can correct the trauma.)
So I get there. I came in the door, and there were steps to go down. Then a door. Then, if I recall, another door. I thought I needed to know the handshake to get in.
I don’t like going through all of that at a barbershop, given the preponderance of crooked behavior at barbershops. It’s not a stereotype. It’s common sense. Seriously, where do you think these cats learn to cut hair? A barbershop with no ex-cons on the payroll is either run by an old man in a small town, or it costs more than I’m willing to pay.
So when you’ve got me going downstairs through the labyrinth, forgive me for asking myself if this is the place to be.
But hey, ain’t like they’d be the first set of crooks I’ve been around. It was, however, the first time I saw a barber with A SHAG. In 2010. A SHAG.
His shag was right, mind you. Supposing you’re into such things, of course. However, I’m not jumping in a barber chair to get a cut by a guy that looks like he jumped out of a time machine. At least it wasn’t curly and/or juicy, but still.
I walk in, and a chair was open. Now, the open chair is one the dilemmas that keeps popping up. I don’t have time to wait for cuts, but the open chair is usually open for a reason. Last open-chair cut I got was from some dude that just went around my head, turned me toward the mirror, and asked if that was straight. No, not a hand mirror. The big mirror. I told dude it was straight, thinking he meant the level. No, after like 7 minutes, dude was done.
Again, he was the OPEN CHAIR. He had time to perfect things if he wanted to. But no no no. I guess his dad was the principle of the barber college. Or, he was only in for a misdemeanor. Either way, it would have been felonious if I walked out with the cut he tried to give me. As I’ve said before — no haircut >>> bad haircut. No haircut can look rugged. A bad haircut, no matter what, looks f’n ridiculous.
So now, I’m looking at the open chair. In Canada. Errrr…
But I had a TV appearance, so I needed a cut and I needed it then. Luckily, my barber was in a hurry, too, cuz he just started moving the clippers over my head. He used as much precision on the first strokes as someone raking pine needles. Guess he figured he’d get the rest right at the end.
Not a word of conversation. None. He listened to Shag Daddy — he appeared to be the ringleader — and said nothing to me.
So you know that made me nervous, right? I got the open chair, dude’s acting like he doesn’t care, and he isn’t even bothering to ask me how long I’ve been in town (trust, they can make me for an American from a mile away).
Last thing you wanna be during a haircut is nervous. Trust me.
It went OK. Not like my man Andre in Cali — who I STILL ask to cut my hair when I go to Cali, the man that gave me the best haircut and lineup of my life — but he did the job. You can trust a barber in Toronto. I just wanted to share.
And I just wanted to blog. More on the Canadian adventures — and the start of the show, which has gone better than I ever dreamed it would — shortly after I return to NC.

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