Don't even think of frosting my tips
Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:02 PM
One day late last week, I took my lunch break and stopped into Bypass Barber Shop - which has a new location on Montague Avenue Extension - for my occasional buzzcut.
I've never made a big deal about my hair. Considering how fast I'm losing my hair, I don't have much to make a big deal about anyway.
The only person down here at 610 Phoenix St. losing his hair faster than me is associate editor Scott J. Bryan. My hair loss is probably genetic, while Scott's is more likely triggered by concern Abbeville government officials and school board members are going to fire bomb his car.
When it comes to haircuts, my routine is fairly simple: When it gets long enough it actually needs to be combed, it's time for a buzz.
After years of telling the barber to "take it down a little more," I've finally learned the proper instructions to get it just how I like it: "Make it high and tight on the sides, with a one-and-a-half guard on top."
It's your basic "Look, I don't want to do anything besides wash it until I come back here in a month and a half" haircut.
What guy's got time for styling and hair gel and getting their tips frosted and all of that? I've got important things to do, like writing marginally humorous columns, posting on Facebook, planning how I'm going to scare trick-or-treaters this Halloween and convincing members of Greenwood County Council I'm not plotting against them.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED quite a bit when it comes to how men get their hair cut. It's not at all uncommon for a guy to make an appointment with a "stylist" and get their hair trimmed by a lady. In fact, a very nice lady buzzed my dome at Bypass Barber Shop last week.
However, that was not always the case. It certainly wasn't the case when I was growing up.
When I was a kid, I always got my hair cut at the old barber shop on Main Street in Abbeville, just down the street from Dutch Oven. The two barbers in there were Hack Maxwell and Morris Latham. Hack and Morris were quite the team.
When you walked into the small shop from the street, Hack worked the chair on the left, Morris the one on the right.
Hack - what a name for a barber, right? - was a bit taller than Morris, and more soft-spoken.
Morris had darker hair and a loud, sudden laugh. He also smoked cigarettes - in the shop - between haircuts. It was a different time. Heck, I think every customer who came in there smoked. Even I was smoking, and I was 10 years old. (That's a joke. Barely.)
The old barber shop was a place where a boy could go and pretend he was a man. You could listen to the old timers talk about local politics and sports and women and life in general. Some, ahem, off-color jokes were told from time to time, jokes us boys were quick to repeat to our buddies at school the next day.
Reading material wasn't exactly diverse. There were the requisite hunting and fishing magazines, and guys passed sections of the newspaper around. You had to be quick if you wanted to get your hands on the sports section.
I didn't have a preference between Hack or Morris, as they both gave a good cut and were - mercifully, for a young man - fairly quick about it. No matter what, I got a piece of Dubble Bubble gum when the deed was done.
The shop itself was wonderfully low-rent, with worn tile floors and, literally, a hole in one of the walls. There was a tiny bathroom which, if memory serves me, actually didn't have a light. You had to leave the door cracked just a touch to let enough light in.
The shop had an old glass bottle Coke machine. You put your coins in, turned a lever and a glass bottle of soda would roll over into the little slot.
To this day, I've never had Coke that was any colder or tastier than the ones I used to get in that little barber shop.
There are still some of those "old style" barber shops out there, and that's a good thing. Sometimes a man needs to know he can walk into a shop and not have to worry about somebody trying to frost his tips.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.