AM: Three mile walk around Sugarhouse Park during cross country practice. Legs still sore from the race Tuesday. I'm not as young as some people on this blog or as tough as others.
I'm going to share a simple experience I had today in order to make a semi-profound point. One of the annoying facts about moving to a new town is finding a decent place to get your hair cut. When I lived in South Carolina I went to the McAallister Square Barber Shop for most of fifteen years and the same guy cut my hair the whole time. It was what a man's barber shop is supposed to look like. Barber pole out front, chairs that were from the 1930s or so, plastic combs and Vitalis for sale by the cash register, a baseball or football game on the TV, lots of sports talk. Most importantly, no women, either cutting hair or as customers.
When I moved to Utah in 2002 I took the path of least resistance one day and went to a Supercuts. Big mistake! Problem is I got sucked into it out of convenience - they are everywhere, you don't need an appointment, and it's quick. So for ten years that's what I've been doing. Sometimes I end up with a decent haircut, but generally not.
So I needed to get my haircut today and I was thinking about how I actually used to look forward to getting my hair cut going all the way back to when I was kid with my dad. So while I was at cross country practice this morning I decided that when I got home I would google "best barber shop in Salt Lake" and go there.
So I ended up at Ray's Barbershop on 21st South and it was everything I was looking for. Excellent haircut, lots of autographed Jazz and Ute jerseys on the wall along with framed black and white photos going back years. Extra touches like actually shaving the back of your neck with hot lather and a straight razor, eyebrow trim (important when you get over 40!), and the old school shoulder rub at the end. And no women in sight. I remember back in the 70s and 80s when "unisex" styling salons became popular. It seems to me that "unisex" simply meant that the men were now going to start looking more like women. Probably acting more like women too as the atmosphere of these places is noticeably less masculine than the traditional barber shop.
Now here's where I want to make a larger point. Much has been written lately about how we are becoming more and more stratified and segmented as a society. Income disparity is at an all time high with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and a shrinking middle class. Lots of things are status symbols today that didn't used to be. Like getting your haircut. Remember when presidential candidate John Edwards took flak for his $400 haircut a few years ago? Rich people not longer get their hair cut and the same places as everyone else and this is a bad thing. We used to have what sociologists call "leveling" experiences all the time in our daily interactions. In small town America sixty years ago every man got his hair cut at the same barbershop - the doctor in the chair next to the construction worker. Everybody used to shop at the same grocery store too until Whole Foods came along and made that a sign of status as well. So we have fewer places where people of different classes mingle and share conversation and we become more and more polarized as a society. I could go further into the whole concept of gated communities and the like but I'm running out of steam.
Oh, and apologies to Jake and Bret who probably can't relate to any of this :)
PM: Eight easy miles. Or at least as easy as it can be at 100 degrees. But according to weather.com it only "feels like" 94. Whatever.