I’ve been going to this barber shop called “It’z the Cut” in Carrollton on and off for about a year, and I’m just now figuring out how it works. Or maybe the culture of it, or something. I’m a white dude, and in case you haven’t guessed by the name of the place, it’s a black barber shop with one token Mexican. The comforting thing about it is that every dude in America, no matter what color, agrees on and can talk about two things: Pussy and beer. On the other hand—this is the part I’m not used to as a white dude—getting your hair cut there is not an in-and-out thing; you will usually be there for at least an hour. Yesterday, I was there for two. It’s an experience.
Since I could drive, I’ve had this thing where, all of a sudden, I will freak out and have to get my hair cut immediately. I can’t wait for more than fifteen minutes for a person in front of me. I’ll drive around to wherever the fuck can take me right then. Super Cuts and shit. This has caused many a shitty haircut, and plenty of times, I’ve had to get my head shaved the next day because it was so fucking bad. And all of it seems worthwhile if I can get done RIGHT NOW.
There have been exceptions to this, of course. I found stylist at a salon, who was fucking hot and fucking cool. I would make appointments with her every three weeks, which was usually before the freak out stage. We sort of dated for a bit, and that was pretty much the end of the best stylist I will probably ever have. I was scared to kiss her and scared that I was too fucked up emotionally for her. I disappeared for a bit, and after that, she didn’t want anything to do with me professionally or otherwise. That’s the only exception to me not having to get my hair cut immediately. Obviously, that didn’t go so well either.
Fuck. Sometimes I start writing about girls and forget all about what I was originally writing or talking about. White dude in a black barber shop. Yes, that’s it.
One day, I was having a full-blown anxiety attack about getting my hair cut, and ended up at It’z the Cut. I’d already been to a few budget honky places, but I couldn’t wait. I was a little nervous about going in there, but like I said, I was having an anxiety attack. It’s not like they were gonna lynch me or something. I walked in, trying not to look too white, and they had an opening right then. That definitely gave me the wrong idea about the black barber shop. The first guy who cut my hair there called himself PH. He was a fucking badass barber, but there was something a little off about him—like his life was pretty fucked up and he was barely hanging on. He reminded me of myself. One day, I went in and found out he’d disappeared. The other dudes in there seemed to be glad he was gone. I got my haircut by the token Mexican and he fucked my shit up pretty bad. Good thing I wear a hat constantly when I’m not a work.
After that, I went to this Super Duper White Man barber shop. Good haircut, but really lame. I felt more at home at It’z the Cut and went back there the next time.
Again, I walked right in and a dude named DeShun the Definition sat me down in his chair. He is fucking awesome. The first couple minutes, we were feeling each other out. What do you do for a living? Sports and where are you from? That’s when I heard the dude at the first chair say, “Hey niggas, Miss Tilly here with the ribs!”
An old black lady walked in with ten Styrofoam boxes of ribs. No shit. Ribs. Every dude in there (beside the token Mexican) dropped the clippers and ran for the door.
DeShun said, “Hey man, I gotta get up on them ribs. I’ll be right back.” None of the other barbers had to say anything to their customers.
“Cool,” I said, thinking that this was way too cliché to be real. I was also thinking it was a little rude to eat while giving someone a haircut. Especially ribs. And of course, I was thinking all sorts of racist shit. I mean, come on, ribs? You would have thought some racist shit too.
This was probably my first lesson in the culture and experience of the black barber shop: None of them are in a hurry and ribs come first. They all carried their ribs to the back and didn’t come out for five minutes. They were all licking sauce off their fingers when they came back. One dude said, “Hey DeShun, let me get up on one of those ribs.”
DeShun said, “You see this look on my face, nigga? That’s about as close as you gonna get.”
Then the other dude said, “How much for one rib?” The whole place, including me started laughing. He was quoting Chris Rock from “I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka.”
DeShun turned to me and said, “You know that movie?”
“Fuck yeah. That shit’s hilarious.”
“You’re pretty cool.” And with that, I was in. Mostly. Sort of. That haircut took about forty-five minutes, and it was totally worth it. I got a great haircut and funny story about black dudes eating ribs. Oh yeah, and he gave me a handshake/hug which made me feel good in a totally human way, having nothing to do with possibly being an honorary black dude. I wasn’t there yet.
The next time, I had to wait about thirty minutes. I read the paper. DeShun and I talked about all kinds of shit that day. We talked about Saul Williams and agreed that he was the only slam poet in the world who didn’t suck donkey dicks. He told me about being in the Navy and groing up in the country. I told him I was an alcoholic and I used to be a college English teacher. He calls me “Professa” now, though he knows I work in a shrink’s office. Though the conversation and haircut were great, I was still slightly annoyed at the length of time the whole thing took. That definitely comes from an “I’m the white man, and I have shit to do” attitude. I had exactly nowhere to go or anything to do that day. I was starting to get it. You’re not just there for a haircut.
Last week, I went in and DeShun said it would be an hour and a half. There was no way I could wait for that, but there was no way I was going anywhere else.
I went back yesterday, and had one dude in the chair and one dude waiting. I told myself that I didn’t have shit to do, so I waited. I’d brought a Rolling Stone with the top 100 guitar players of all time in it. (Totally gay list.) I was barely past Jimmy Hendrix when the dude next to me started talking about walking in on his son “stroking.” I was sure he was talking about beating off. Nope.
“That little nigga was stroking!” Everyone laughed. “You shoulda seen the look on that little girl’s face.”
They all started telling stories about somebody’s mama catching them fucking. DeShun had a different kind of story.
“One time, I was eatin the cookie when the girl’s mama walked in.”
“Hell yeah,” I said. The other dudes looked at both of us like we were crazy.
“I had me a mouth all fulla pussy and her mama was just lookin. Not sayin anything. Just looking.”
“Nigga, you fuckin nasty,” one of the dudes said.
DeShun said, “Fuck that. I’ll eat a good pussy all fuckin day long.”
“What the fuck wrong with you?”
“What the fuck wrong with you?”
Well, it turns out that many black dudes don’t or won’t eat the pussy. I’m with DeShun; I’ll eat a good pussy all fuckin day long.
I wrote all of that a few weeks ago and forgot that I hadn’t finished it. I even looked for it on my website and tumblr. I’m pretty sure I have a case of Writer’s ADD. I wrote a bunch of other crap since then—some of which I probably also forgot about. I probably had some great points and beautiful prose and shit planned to finish this off but I just don’t feel like it. Here’s a bulleted list of my final thoughts on the black barber shop. My process is fucked.
Lessons from the Barber Shop:
· You’re not just getting a haircut. You’re getting an experience.
· If you’re in a hurry, go somewhere else.
· It’s fun as hell.
· The shit you see in movies is true.
· I’m not racist because I go to a black barber shop and all this is real.
· No, really. I’m not racist.
· Blah x 3