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The epic quest for a good barber shop (in Butte, which is open on Saturday).

March 26, 2011

I had an almost-epic adventure today. I am about two or three weeks overdue for gettin’ my top chopped. I managed to put aside $15 (which in my sorry financial state is a feat in itself). The sun was shining. I didn’t have a bajillion things to do. And it was a Saturday. I was gonna go out and get my hair cut.

Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of barber shops in Butte don’t cut on Saturday. I drove past my regular place — The Headframe — and saw that they were closed. I really dig that joint so I was a bit apprehensive, but I’d waited long enough, I needed to get my head straightened up. So I thought I’d cruise around and find another place that was open.

Drove past the Butte Barbershop. Nope. Headed up the hill past the Cuttin’ Edge. Nope. Heard a lot on the web about Off Broadway; closed as well. Four places, all closed. At this point I’m thinking I have to either wait until Tuesday (Monday’s no good for me), go to Great Clips and risk having the one of the young ladies at that place butcher me, or head to a “salon” and pay double (which I don’t have) and risk having the same results.

Let me clarify my “butcher” statement. I don’t style my hair like most dudes. I don’t roll out of bed and head out as-is. I don’t do the messy hair or the faux-hawk. I don’t do the mini-quiff. Or whatever the hell it is that pretty boys and frat dudes are into these days. I grease that shit up and either slick it back, or lately I’ve been trying to do a little pomp, like a shorter version of Johnny Cash when he was younger (although I would hesitate to call it a pompadour because my front end is too short to really pile it up, I would say it is a pompadour-inspired hairdo and I think it looks sharp).

Anyway, if I wanted all the trendy new-school stuff, I would probably be alright going anywhere. Great Clips was awesome when I just threw a hat on my head every day and never took it off. Now, if I was 19 years old and female, I wouldn’t hesitate to have a young woman cut my hair because she would probably know exactly what I wanted. But I find that when you’re looking for someone new to cut your hair in a “classic” men’s style for a fair price, going to somewhere called a “salon” or a “hair studio” and getting your ears lowered by a female under the age of 35 increases the odds that she will have no idea what the hell you’re talking about and, by extension, the odds that you’ll walk out of there unsatisfied (and having spent a few bucks more than necessary). This is not a sexist statement, and it may be a bit of a generalization, but I’m just sayin’, if you want an old-school men’s haircut, going to a man who was actually alive when the cut was more trendy will probably increase the odds of getting it done right. It seems intuitive and it has been confirmed by my experimental results.

So I parked the rig and looked around on my Blackberry for a minute to see if there was anywhere else. Out of all the places that came up, there was one I hadn’t checked. It was called the Leisure Way Barber Shop, and it was right in my old ‘hood, so I knew exactly how to get there. It was kind of on the way home so I figured what the hell, I’ll swing by. And lo and behold, they were open!

I was really stoked when I got there. This place is in a strip mall right between a laundromat and a “salon”. I had seen it before but I had always assumed that it was just the men’s chair of the aforementioned salon; it is not. It’s totally separate. When I walked in I was pleasantly surprised. There was a male barber, who wasn’t a young whipper-snapper, about to shave some dude with a straight razor. It was just one chair in a small storefront. Cuts were posted as $11, which is on the cheaper end (though I had $15 and always tip so I’d probably just tell the guy to keep the change if he did a good job). It was like I was in haircut heaven. Unfortunately, he said that he had to close early today and was all booked up through the afternoon, but he gave me his card, which said that his place is open 9-6, Tuesday through Saturday.

So, I walked away as shaggy as I walked in, but I was really impressed with the joint. Let me state that I have nothing against The Headframe; I’ve always been satisfied with their service, prices, facilities, performance, etc. so if you’re considering going there I will definitely suggest them. But I’m seriously considering calling the proprietor of Leisure Way up and trying to get in for a cut on Tuesday, because my first impression was that everything looked perfect. I’m gonna poke around on the net some more and see if I can find anywhere decent-looking open today, but if not I’ll try and get in there this week; if so, maybe I’ll give them a spin the next time I need a trim. Now here’s to hoping the man can actually cut hair!

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