b Papa Dog's Blog: Gettin' Me Some Trim

Papa Dog's Blog

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Gettin' Me Some Trim

I don’t know if it quite qualifies as a fetish, but I’ve always taken perhaps excessive enjoyment in having my hair worked on by a woman. I’m not talking actual arousal here – there’s no tenting of the drop cloth when I visit the salon – but I always find myself in a state of peace and contentment when I’m in the chair with the clippers whizzing about my ears, and I get more relaxed than I do anywhere else outside of hearth and home. I close my eyes and the whole world goes away except for the pleasant sensation of my scalp’s burden being reduced. And if I go full out and get a shampoo first? Whoa, Nellie. The merry crackle of the suds, the soothing jet of warm water, the delicate fingers massaging my scalp…it could be described as a Zen state if you didn’t know much about Zen and thought it had something to do with a relaxed state of physical pleasure. When I still had the hippy hair, it was a reliable though usually ineffectual come-on; women would want to play with my hair, and I’d let them. Okay, sometimes I’d insist. It was fair trade. They liked to brush and comb and stroke and braid and I liked to be brushed and combed and stroked and braided. It was an easy avenue to establish a false sense of intimacy, and if that didn’t work, it still felt good.

I remember the first time a woman (other than my mother) cut my hair. I guess I was about twelve. She was wearing a green tracksuit, which seemed kind of casual back then. I commented later, to the amusement of my siblings, that I’d never before had my hair cut by someone who didn’t have hairy knuckles. In fact, she had rather a hairy face. She had a weird little mole on her cheek with a little shock of hair coming out of it. I don’t know why she didn’t trim that; she had all the necessary equipment. She was quite attractive otherwise, but almost thirty years later I can still picture that mole.

There have been rather a few coiffeuses in my life since then. There was a Vietnamese girl in downtown Oakland whom I saw regularly when I worked nearby. She spoke little English but my needs were uncomplicated. I would say “just half an inch,” which back then referred to how much to remove rather than how much to leave. In New Orleans there was the genuine southern belle who said to me, “Y’all look like you’re gonna go to sleep in my chair,” to which I replied dozily, “No, I’m just having a really good time.” There was the mother-and-daughter team in Berkeley, mom a severe-looking henna-haired lady with a disarmingly unexpected smile and daughter an impossible nymphet. I think they were Filipinas and like the Vietnamese girl didn’t speak much English, which proved a little more problematic the time I tried to get my hair dyed old man grey and just couldn’t make them understand what I wanted. I ended up looking like Andy Warhol. It occurs to me now that there have been two Donnas, the one in Vancouver who gave me every haircut I had in that town, and the one in Oakland who became my stylist because she was Mama Dog’s stylist. Mama Dog too has shorn me a few times, though alas she doesn’t think highly enough of her own skills to do it on a regular basis.

I’ve been overdue for a trim for the last couple of weeks. It was one of the few things I was supposed to do this weekend, but somehow or other I never got off my ass to do it. After the car crapped out and we were housebound, it occurred to me that I could just go to the salon a block from my office. I started to say as much to Mama Dog, but then decided to save it as a surprise. It’s funny; I’ve worked in this same building for something like twelve out of the last fifteen years, and the salon has been there the whole time, but I’ve never set foot in it until today. Turns out it’s run by a husband and wife team in their fifties, and by perfectly random chance it was Mama Barber who did my hair. Really, I’d have been okay with it if it was the Papa man. A haircut still feels good if a man does it; I guess it just feels more special to me when I’m being fussed over by a woman. I had her take off all but half an inch and shave the beard down to practically nothing.

When I got home, Mama Dog saw the change right away. She inspected and cooed and expressed approval. She ran (as the song goes) her fangers* through my hair. So I see another woman now and then for acts of tonsorial pleasure and maintenance, but all roads lead to home. This scalp’s married to Mama Dog and it’s time now for it to repose on the pillow to her left.
*paul – that’s not a typo.


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