I have what I know to be an irrational intolerance for male grooming. I don't want to see it happening, I don't want to hear about it happening. I don't even want to see the results if they are sort of obvious. I get embarrassed, for example, by a guy getting a radically new 'do, or doing something new with his facial hair. I don't ever want to comment on it--because I don't really want to have to acknowledge that a) the dude did something that required thought and effort on his part and that b) I have noticed it.*
Male vanity seems really unmanly to me. It isn't that I don't appreciate general male grooming--I just really don't want to know about it. I know that this is weird and unrealistic and sort of broadly messed up. There are all sorts of complicated reasons that I feel this way, but I won't go into it here, because it won't help my cause at all.
The reason I bring this up is to explain how I have to sort of suck it up when I go to Bishop's to get my hair cut. Given my distaste, it makes more sense for me to go to a really girly salon so that I am less likely to have to deal with men being groomed, or talking about grooming. But I like the bottle of beer and the loud punk rock and my stylist with the big Hebrew tattoo, so I make the sacrifice.
Sometimes it isn't worth it.
Like Wednesday. I signed in and then sat down with my book--Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White. This was sort of a bad choice. It is neither light enough to read without much attention, nor engrossing enough to make deep concentration in a public space easy. I found myself drifting often--staring off into space, or accidentally listening to the conversations between the stylists and their clients. To make matters worse, an older woman came in and, I think feeling that I was less rock n' roll than the other waiters and therefore more safe, sat down directly next to me when there were more than enough seats for everyone waiting to have at least a seat in between. (Lest you think that I am being too sensitive about my personal space--when I sat down my stylist asked me if I had come with the woman and when I said no, she gave me a that's-weird-huh? kind of look.) Anyway, my awareness of the woman's closeness, coupled with my awareness of the fact that there were plenty of other seats she could have chosen, made me too nervous and self-conscious to read.
All of this led me to outright eavesdropping. The male stylist in front of me drew a young, blond, sporty rock n' roller. I had already noticed this guy, because he was silly. The stylist asked the guy what he was thinking about doing with his hair and the guy answered:
"I was kind of thinking about that thing that all the European soccer players are doing now. You know, parted to the side, a little long in back, lots off the sides and a little length on top. Sort of like a fauxhawk with a mullet." The stylist nodded like this was totally reasonable request and like he knew exactly what the guy wanted and he pulled out his razor and started cutting away.
Readers, I wanted to laugh aloud and cry at the same time. I wanted to crawl under my chair. I wanted to be anywhere else. I started thinking about my "happy place" (the same place I think about when I am trying not to cry at a funeral, or when I feel an anxiety attack coming on).
Is this a "thing"? Does everyone know about this 'do except for me? Who are these guys that they are on the same wavelength about some fad among European soccer players? How do dudes get this kind of information? Is this some kind of conscious thing among said athletes? Or is it a manifestation of the collective unconscious? Do women know about this phenomenon? Do they like it? Am I supposed to like it? (Because I DON'T.) Ahhhhhh!!!
See what I mean?
*The exception to this is if the grooming is done as a goof. An obviously ironic 'stache is funny, and not embarrassing. This may seem counterintuitive, but I already conceded that this is an irrational quirk.