A man in army fatigues came in to get a haircut. When I finished with the man in my chair, he told me he’d like to pay for the soldier’s cut as well, even though we do give a military discount. He paid, then went over and shook the soldier’s hand, and thanked him. The soldier didn’t know he’d been paid for until he went to pay – my client didn’t tell him.
Everyone in the shop was so glad to see this act of respect. I think it made everyone’s day.
A guy came in and asked if we give military discounts. We do, so he sat in my chair. He wanted a military fade, 0 to 2, but not high and tight. I clarified where he wanted the fade to start, touching his head as I listed off each clipper guard. When I said #2 guard, which is the longest point of his fade (1/4 inch), I grabbed the whole top of his head and said “and the number 2 up here?” He agreed. He did not say anything else about the top.
So I started off shaving his hair, which was probably about 4 inches long. After I’d already done a few strokes (far beyond the point of no return) he said “Oh – I didn’t want you to touch the top at all.” I stopped. “But you said military fade with a 2 on top…” He insisted that he hadn’t, and that to him a fade just means the sides. I didn’t want to argue, so I didn’t mention how I repeated it back to him indicating the 2 on top. I apologized profusely and continued on with the cut.
Needless to say, he didn’t leave a tip. But hopefully he (and I) learned a valuable lesson in communication.
When a man’s regular stylist wasn’t working, he debated coming back another day. Turns out, I wish he had.
He was extremely picky, even though he was getting one of the simplest cuts (military high and tight). When I pointed out a cowlick near the crown of his head, he swore up and down that he had never seen that before, and that it didn’t look like a cowlick at all – it looked “more like I had gone in there with my clippers and messed it up.” I tried to assure him that that was not the case, and showed him how combing it all straight out showed that the hairs were still all the same length, but he wouldn’t hear it. He just kept messing with his hair (what little of it there was left), and saying that “it just looks really bad.” He couldn’t give any specific answer as to what exactly looked bad, just that it looked “wrong.”
Lucky for me, my coworker at the next station heard all of this, and came over to see if she could help. He “explained” the problem by repeating that it just looked really bad, so she took the clippers and went over his head one more time. The clippers didn’t actually cut anything on this second run through, but it seemed to placate him. My coworker also pointed out the multiple cowlicks, but by then his tone had changed and he completely accepted these abnormalities in his hair without accusing anyone of magically creating them.
He still left a tip, which I didn’t expect, and I offered some to my coworker. But she was nice and said “don’t worry about it, I didn’t actually do anything.” Which was true in the sense that she didn’t actually cut his hair, but she had helped a lot by calming him down.
A man sat in my chair and wanted “something in between a longhair and a marine.” This made me laugh (he was nowhere near what I could a longhair), so he started to tell me his story.
He had been a marine reserve back in the ’60s, and at the time, he actually was a longhair. Apparently since he was only in uniform one weekend a month, he kept it and wore a wig. Nobody knew, of course, and he was somehow able to get away with it for some time. Until one day, the superior officer ordered the regimen to go “handle” some protesters. The regimen had had enough, and someone in the back yelled “Fuck you!” That was all it took, and the troop erupted in chaos. My future client went ahead and walked out. As he was passing the General* that was just arriving, my client took off his wig, shook his luxurious locks, and threw the wig at the general. The general just stood there flabbergasted. So my client and his friends took the general’s jeep and went joyriding.
“Didn’t you get in trouble?” I asked. But according to my client, “Nixon was president, so shit like this happened all the time. If it had been any other time, I’d be in a federal penitentiary.”
I finished up his cut, making sure he would never be mistaken for “one of those bastard marines,” and he promised to come back and tell me more stories.
*I don’t remember if it was actually a general. Point is, it was some really high ranking official.