Saturday, June 9, 2012

Haircut Hang Ups, Part 1

Time to find a new stylist if she hangs out here
For some reason I use to hate getting haircuts. Probably because I didn't like the way I looked with a fresh haircut, or maybe I just didn't like the way I looked period (discussion for another day). I’m sure the experiences of my mom giving me in-home haircuts as a child factor in. A fidgety kid like me and a perfectionist like her was never a good combination. It was such an ordeal that we would put off the next haircut as long as possible and thus each haircut took a long time.  The first of many disastrous patterns began.

Once I started paying for my own haircuts, I was always trying to find the combination of economical (cheap) and stylish (not looking like a dork who just got his hair cut). These are mutually exclusive as you get what you pay for.
The first place I recall going to on a regular basis was Juanny's back in Humboldt Park. He often had a keg tapped and of course there were Playboy magazines in the waiting area. His shop was actually a converted Laundromat that my grandmother and I often went to when I was a child. Juanny hired a bodacious young lady to wash your hair and as she worked for tips, she did everything just this side of a massage to boast her earnings by casually grinding her chest into you.

I moved to the burbs for six months and when I returned to the city, Juanny and his shop were gone so I needed a new place to get my hair cut. At the urging of a female coworker, I went to a trendy salon in Lincoln Park and got a pretty decent cut from a young stylist. I don’t recall the name of the shop or the lady so let’s call the shop Long out of Business and replaced with Another Haircut Joint and let’s call the stylist Jessica.

Jessica called me a little while later and said she was branching out on her own and wanted to know if I’d like to become one of her clients. I had no loyalty to the shop so I jumped ship and Jessica cut my hair for the next 3-4 years or so. She was really good at remembering what she did the previous cut and repeating it. This was key because I could never remember what worked and what didn’t.  This was back in the day when I would get maybe 4 haircuts a year. Cost and effort kept me away. I was in G-school at the time and every dollar counted, not to mention I didn't have a ton of time between school, work and later marathon training.

Jessica clued me into a concept called "Industry Night." Apparently people who work at restaurants, clubs and hair salons are part of The Industry and since weekends are their big nights, they typically have Monday off.  Which was clear a case of Irony smacking me in the face since Monday was usually a rest day as far as my marathon training was concerned.

Jessica moved to Pilsen and I just wasn’t going to make the commute for a haircut, especially since she was a bit of a whackjob once I got to know her a little better. She was always talking about the now long gone Mad Bar in Wicker Park. She said she hung out there and that if I'm ever there I should look for her. One night I was there with some friends and bumped into her. She practically jumped out of her skin.

So living in Sheridan Park at the time, I went to the salon a few blocks from my house. It was called Salon Diva and I could call for an appointment and usually get in within the hour. I went through a few stylists since turnover there was relatively high, I don't think I worked with the same person more than twice.

At some point Aimee, the owner cut my hair. She managed to do the one thing I really depend on, remember how we cut it last time and do the same thing. She also liked to trim my eyebrows, which at the time I thought was too girly (the Metrosexual Revolution was a few years away) but I let her.  Over time we came up with our summer cut and our winter cut. She would also offer a complimentary touch up within a couple weeks of a haircut, which I rarely used because by then I had more of a life with marathon training and social events etc.

To Be Continued.....


  1. I used to get my hair cut at Salon Diva too, by Arne. She left, though & and I had to find a new person (happy with Josh now). :)

    1. Hi Ameobalady, I wonder if we were neighbors! Salon Diva was a wicked cool place though a bit too trendy for a nerd like me. Aimee was awesome so I put up with it though.


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