A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life – Coco Chanel
How right Coco Chanel is about everything. Except politics, but we’re not doing that today, let’s focus on the hair! As a rule of thumb, I get my hair cut about twice a year. Not too often, but a lot more than I go to the dentist because normally my teeth feel and look okay but my hair turns into a bit of a mess with neglect. Barber shops used to also do teeth and limb amputation so it feels reasonable. Hair is much more transformative. With a few snips of their scissors the barber can turn you from a badly kept bush into a less badly kept bush. This can be massively important for improving your confidence, as well as the ventilation of heat from the head.
Of that last part I need a lot. My brain works something furious. It also makes me look less big headed while being especially insufferable. I’m in a silly, yet emotionally honest mood, so let’s get cracking!
As a child I used to be a bit scared of haircuts. What was I thinking? There could be nothing less threatening than a far larger person wielding scissors right next to your ears. But as with most childhood things, I got over it. My mum always told me to stay still so the barber didn’t cut me up, and I obeyed with a special respect for the guy with the sharpened steel. I used to get particularly bewildered by the language they spoke. I had no idea what they meant when they said different numbers, nor what they meant when they said verbs such as “thinned” or “layered”. Perhaps I’m just basic but it was pretty trying. It took me 2 or 3 years at university to figure out how to get what I wanted.
Oddly, it was far easier here, in beautiful Prague.
The sun was shining as I walked down a couple streets to my early morning appointment with the hairdresser. Doing stuff at the beginning of the day makes a lot more sense to me as it frees up the rest of the daylight hours. Time for things like blogging. And coming up with bad puns to trick my fiancée with. I had wondered how I’d communicate with the barber. After all, I’m already pretty mediocre at hair talk and my Czech hair talk must be substantially worse. But here was a stroke of genius from my darling fiancée (I really like that word, I’m not trying to be soppy but ‘fiancée’ has a lovely ring to it) – bring a picture. So armed with a picture of myself at one of the windier parts of Ireland, I did battle with my childhood dislike of hair talk and my immigrant ignorance of Czech.
Before I talk you through the process, it is worth describing the place a little – should you, dear reader, require a man’s haircut in Prague. The barber shop is called ‘Barber Street’. It is in Žižkov on a street called Vlkova, behind Seifertova near that big church. It is the only barber on the street to my knowledge. The inside smells lightly of hair product mingled with water from the spray. The barbers are immaculate, extremely well presented with very tight hair and cool clothes. There is a waiting room with two sofas. They have boxing gloves on the walls, as befits a bastion of manhood like a barbers shop. There’s a small dog running all around the inside of the place, not small like a yorkie or jack rusell, I mean small like a reasonably sized shoe – very cute. It only has four chairs and it seems like they only have two people working at a time so if you’re looking to get something done it’s best to book ahead.
My hair is kind of hard to do. It’s pretty thick. It gets quite curly at the ends when it’s long. My head is covered with scars – from a combination of being hit by a van (details therein), and a couple of extraordinarily stupid things, like diving a little too sharply into the shallow end of a swimming pool. All this taken into account, it’s probably pretty understandable why I’m careful about who I choose to cut my hair. But it needed to happen. My parents are visiting very soon.
My barber, Vlad, got to work with not much talk needed. I showed him the picture, explained that I washed my hair recently, and was be-caped and in the chair quick as a whippet – another dog which is larger than the little one I mentioned above. Cutting down the sides took him about half an hour. As I said earlier, it’s quite thick. I was glad he spent so much time on it as it was clear he was paying close attention to the details. It took about 15 minutes to cut the top down a bit – I prefer it longer on top as it gives me more I can do. 10 minute for finishing touches, dusting the ends with a buzzer and what have you. All in all, a very decent amount of time to spend cutting one person’s hair. Roughly £15 or $20 as long as the exchange rates haven’t gone mental this morning. I tipped a bit as well.
i have to say I’m very happy with the result. After all, a haircut is how you change this lecherous looking scoundrel:
Into this closely cut professional:
That being said, I do love and miss my long locks whenever I get them cut. In the next few months, I’ll have to sit and have a wee think about how I want to look on my wedding day. What ill-advised hairstyle will I pick for my future children to laugh at and my great grandchildren to gaze at in hoary contemplation as they ponder from whence they’ve come? In the end, a haircut is not just a transformation into a new woman or man, but an essential mark of what type of person you want to be seen as or remembered for in that particular moment of time.