I thought this was an odd question to hear while sitting in a barber chair, but this was my first time at “The Hair Cuttery,” which is more of a hair salon.
I’d never been to a salon before, but there aren’t a lot of barbershops left in New Jersey due to an idiotic law passed in 1980 that says all new barbers must get a beautician’s license. Few guys want to do this, and the result has been the slow death of barbershops and the rise of flashy hair salons.
But the Hair Cuttery isn’t that flashy, and this woman wanted to know what number I wanted. So I’m guessing they number the haircuts like sub-shops number sandwiches, right? Wrong. She wasn’t talking about a “number five turkey with hot peppers and fake bacon bits” – she was talking about the size of the cutting attachment on the electric clippers. Apparently, they are numbered. Who knew?
“I don’t know,” I said. “Whatever you think is best.”
I thought I was making things easier for her, but she looked at me like I was a heathen stumbling in from the stone age. Her glance seemed to say, “What kind of cracker-ass caveman doesn’t know the number of his optimum hair clipping accoutrement?” But really, I don’t even know my own blood type, and if I can’t tell a paramedic what kind of plasma to pump into my veins in the event of a horrific accident, do you really think I’m going to know the size of my favorite electric scissor?
She used a “number five,” and it came out fine.