Aside from the occasional yet rare visit by a neighbor or farmer friend, or an equally infrequent fishing trip, I don’t find myself too often in the company of other men. It is not that I avoid such encounters, yet nor do I seek them out, happy and content with a day consisting of touching base with DW from time to time and chore to chore.
Now that I can no longer pull my hair back into a ponytail — and I know it might seem strange – once my hair begins to touch my ears, I am in the barber chair in a matter of a few days, and it is here I get my fill of man things. Still, my lack must show somewhat.
“See what you learn in a barber shop?” my barber asks me as his friend goes out the front door.
This is roughly their parting words:
Barber: Kiss your wife for me. He says it in a suggestive manner, for as I have gathered from overhearing conversations he has with women on the phone, my barber considers himself quite the ladies’ man.
Friend, after a slight pause: Glad you like her.
Barber: Tim likes her too.
Friend: I reckon he does.
Barber: But then you’d have to swap him for Pam.
Friend, as he’s closing the door behind him: There’s not enough booze…
Both men are wearing big rodeo buckles.
Says I, “I know all about barber shops and have known since I was five years old,” for I am reminded from his comment to me of my first barber, Stosh. I then relate the story of girlie and detective magazines strewn about the shop, and the need to be out of his chair before two in the afternoon for after that Stosh would take a piece of ones ear for pulling him out of the saloon. I knew from first-hand experience, and remember my grandmother’s anger upon seeing the dried blood.
“Sounds like G over in Lyons when he was still cutting hair. Speaking of girlie magazines, have you seen the new 3D Playboy?” He had it and told me his own story of a woman friend who knew he subscribed and came to his shop with the express purpose of seeing his copy.
My barber is also a horseman of some skill, and coordinates the local rodeo. Knowing this of him, I redirect the conversation. His enterprise is not faring well as sponsors are tightening up and competitors are giving a bigger bang.
“You mean to tell me you taught that boy how to ride and this is how he repays you, by having his event the same weekend?” If you followed professional bull riding you would know the name.
“I gave him plenty o’ shit about it but it was outa his hands. Powers-that-be booked it as the only free weekend on the west coast.”
About that time, my hair was sufficiently short, ears and eyebrows trimmed, and his next appointment, an elderly fellow, had walked in and moseyed over to the chair. As I dug in my pocket for price and tip, I asked. “You gonna show me that Playboy?”
“Sure!” and he opened to the centerfold, the only photo that had been made ready for the red and blue glasses provided.
I took a quick look, and besides a miniature left breast protruding slightly from the page, there was not much else worth looking at, and I said as much.
“Here, let me have a look,” said the old guy, and after some scrutinizing retorted, “Oh, I don’t know. She looks pretty good to me!”
I held my tongue, or rather, didn’t give it much more thought to formulate something witty or conciliatory. I said my good-byes, walked out to the rig and called DW to say I was headed home.
And should you be so inclined, here's a collection of past centerfolds.