AS A YOUNG boy, I spent summers with my grandparents in southwest Georgia, and I got haircuts in town in a spot that could have served as a Norman Rockwell poster.
Zipping forward to the 1970s, I lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on two almost abutting occasions. One lasted 11 months, and the other lasted five. During the fiver, I didn’t get a haircut. It was the ’70s, so nobody noticed my shagginess.
But during the 11-month stay, I did get one haircut. I didn’t speak Spanish at the time, so I was hesitant to use a Puerto Rican joint. So I caught a plane to the Virgins.
It was an old Grumman Goose seaplane that skimmed the seas between San Juan and St. Thomas. I knew I’d find an English-speaking barber shop in Charlotte Amalie.
I have no memory of where I got my haircut in the Virgins nor how much it cost. Those were my drinking days.
Before and after I lived in San Juan, I lived in New Orleans where I got haircuts on Magazine Street at an old-timey place that could have been a Norman Rockwell poster too, though you rarely spotted kids in there.
Rockwell was fond of children.
It was next door to Casamento’s Restaurant (Oysters). Some Italian guy cut my black locks, and he always finished with a head massage using one of those vibrating hand things.
That was nice.
That barber shop doesn’t exist anymore. I know this because Google Street View shows “Uptown Costume and Dancewear” in the same location. I guess the Italian died.
In Houston, a middle-aged divorcée who ran a one-woman shop in the basement of an office building on Richmond Avenue cut my hair, but in emergencies I’d use Supercuts.
When I moved over the Rio Bravo 16 years back I first lived 40 minutes down the mountainside in the state capital. I got my first Mexican haircut near the language school I attended. It was more of a ladies’ place.
But I didn’t care.
I got a haircut yesterday, which is what brought haircuts to mind. In recent years my hair’s been cut in an all-woman collective on Calle La Paz. If you exit and walk uphill about a block, you run into a church. If you walk downhill about two blocks you also run into a church.
Plenty of places to pray in Mexico.
Liliana gives me the best haircuts of my life, and she charges me the peso equivalent of about two bucks, but I tip her an extra quarter because I’m a giving sort of guy.
There’s a barber pole outside the door.
My hair has done an amazing thing. It started completely black, and now it’s totally white. Incredible!
Gray hair is God’s graffiti.
— Bill Cosby.