Dean Martin Cuts My Hair

Between the appearance regulations my career imposed and some of my follicles choosing to no longer participate, I don’t have a lot of hair. It stays fairly short; I aim to get it cut every three weeks or so.

Shampoo and conditioner

Hair product (Photo credit: danisabella)

For the same reasons, there is nothing elaborate about my hair. Nothing extreme about the style. I don’t keep gels to put in it. I dump shampoo on my hair in the shower, I show it a towel and a brush and I’m ready to roll.

Hair like mine doesn’t go to a salon for grooming. It goes to any of the various places whose name ends in the word “Clips”. Nothing fancy.

Get In Line And Stay In Line

The Clips places seem to trouble keeping employees. I don’t know if there is any individual who has cut my hair more than three times in my adult life. My hair cuts are brief encounters with strangers who have scissors. I put that protective thing on that keeps hair off my shirt and we do what we do.

Three weeks ago it was time for a haircut. I walked in and a woman put my name in the computer so I’d be in line. I sat down to wait. It was pretty obvious that I was the entire line. The woman returned and asked if I wanted anyone in particular. I didn’t. I just wanted a hair cut. Not a relationship, just the act. She went toward the back.

Another person came up to the counter, looked at the computer and called out my name as if there were five other customers there. I raised my hand. I was invited back to a chair.

The person assigned to cut my hair was a middle-aged Asian man. He had a print out of how the last person cut my hair, drawn from the Clips Word Headquarters Data System. When he asked me a question about the print out, I didn’t understand him, so I just said yes.


English: Screenshot of Dean Martin and Susan H...

He had this hair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began to consider coming back another time. I had just answered a question I didn’t understand, asked by a barber whose haircut made me think of Dean Martin. I don’t like to think of Dean Martin, especially when the thought is “I wonder if he asked me if I wanted to look like Dean Martin”. I knew that I did not.

But it was too late. He’d already put the protective thing on me. Everyone knows that once that plastic cover is hung around your neck you are bound by law to get a haircut. That sealed my fate. Then it got scarier. Yes, it got scarier than looking like a 1950’s crooner.

I’m used to people who cut my hair having a pair of scissors or two, a small electric clipper with some colorful plastic guides and a few combs. My stylist that day, we’ll call him Dean, had about eight pairs of scissors. His electric clipper was huge. Hedge trimmer huge. There were no plastic guides for the hedge trimmer. It had interchangeable blade sets. They were bare metal. I wasn’t sure what was going to keep the blades from cutting me.

Lowe's Task Force 22 in. Gas Powered Hedge Trimmer

Dean’s hair trimmer. (Photo credit: thisreidwrites)

When he clicked them on for a test, the clippers shook the chair I was in. I’m pretty sure that those hedge clippers were manufactured in a decommissioned World War II defense factory, back when Dean (the singer, not the hair guy) was popular.

Dean said something about the weather, I said something about it being hot.

Then, it started. Those clippers hit my head, brown and gray hair started falling at an alarming rate. The hedge trimmer made an ungodly sound against my skull. It was like what I imagine I’d hear if the Eyewitness News copter crashed into my head. Now and again, Dean would say something to me, but I never knew what he said. His accent was hard to understand over the racket of the blades.

Dean moved my head around by bumping it with the heel of his hand. Sometimes he mixed it up by using the wrist of his clipper hand.

When he switched from clippers to scissors, the hair cut was just as wild. The sound was like the sound track of Edward Scissorhands. There were at least three different pair of scissors involved in this trim. I couldn’t see the difference in the scissors, but it seemed important to Dean that he switch up his equipment as he addressed the different areas of my head. Who was I to question? I was just along for the ride this time.

Then, it ended. Dean whipped the cover thing off my neck. “Touch it” he said. I said “thanks, I don’t need to touch it”. He pointed at the side of my head. “Touch it. I cut it this way, then that way so it is smooth. Smooth, yes?” I felt better about the question and touched my head.

Smooth, yes.

I’m going to get a hair cut today, at the same place. Like I said, there is a lot of turnover at the Clips place. But maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll once again come out smooth, yes.

41 Comments on “Dean Martin Cuts My Hair”

  1. I’m giggling. Sounds like you and Dean bonded. Your haircuts will never be the same, if he leaves Clips. If he hasn’t moved on better ask for his cell number. Does he do nails?

    • omawarisan says:

      I’m not optimistic. Generally, I am, but I think Dean is going to be gone.

      I don’t think calling this guy is going to do me any good. His accent was so heavy the “touch it” conversation was the clearest discussion we had.

  2. I go to a similar place that keeps the record of your last haircut on file. I’m so thankful for this because I always feel bad when I don’t remember the number of the electronic clippers. I feel I have disappointed the stylist in some way. Just cut it short…but not too short.

    • omawarisan says:

      Yes, I want my hair like it is, only less so.

      I got daring one time. they had the print out and I said “let’s go one number shorter”. The woman said “no, too much scalp”. so I’m staying with #2

  3. Laura says:

    You’re very brave. I hope you came back with a haircut you like, and with the same number of ears you had going in.

  4. pieterk515 says:

    Hilarious as always. You never disappoint. I had my own version of a haircut post recently. Check it out if you want:

  5. For an American Studies class in college, we had to do an ethnographical study of some cultural subgroup on or near campus. I chose hairstylists because my parents wouldn’t have approved of my hanging out with (*ahem*) the Moonies. I mean, who would do that to their parents??

    The stylists at that Banana-something-or-other place on Route 1 told me that the Clips places are sort of training grounds for those just out of salon school and then they move on to something without Clips in the name to some place more sophisticated with “Banana” in the name.

    Maybe this time don’t go in with a glass of Scotch, wearing a smoking jacket?

    • omawarisan says:

      There you go, casting my experience with the Moonie girl in the worst possible light. Geez. I didn’t hang out with them, I only wanted to hang out with her. She didn’t have a sign hanging around her neck saying “Moonie”. She had two signs. One said “hot” and the other said “talking to you” and that was enough for me. It’s not my fault her hot sign made her able to steal my address and scare my mother.

      It was right near the steps to Zoo-Psyc and Hornbake Library, where the evangelist stood and called everyone whores and whoremongers. That guy was so interested in saving everyone, why couldn’t he yell “hey, whoremonger, that girl is a Moonie” and save me from that mess?

      What’s this post about again?

      • I think his name was Tom.

        I think his name was Tom.

        Why is it I can remember that and not what this post was about?

        I’m sorry to tease you about what is clearly still a sore subject. At least I tried to go the banana route and not, say, oh, strawberries. 🙂

  6. Katie says:

    You know, I’ve never gotten my hair cut by the same person twice either. There’s a lot of pressure on women to commit to a stylist, but I like my freedom.

  7. Blogdramedy says:

    Sounds like you should get your PI ticket and do a little investigating.

  8. Betty says:

    You do realize that because of this experience it is inevitable that you will get Dean again.

  9. We Found Him Captain! says:

    I think I saw “Dean” on his hands and knees at the golf course. He was trimming the turf with those clippers you described. Every time he finished a 3’x3’area, he checked it with his tape measure. I ran away when he started singing “When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie….that’s amore”. He has an definite broken-English-oriental accent. He said something to me about liking to drink LOOT BEER?? I got the hell out of there!!

  10. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    That was a lot of equipment and activity for a short haircut. Hope you liked it. I admire your courage to subject yourself to those places. I fear them, frankly. Did you tip for each piece of equipment he used? My sister is my stylist/hair chopper offer. She uses a pair of scissors, a crappy comb and the heel of her hand. I never tip her.

    • omawarisan says:

      Next time your sister cuts your hair, give her a tip and say “here, buy yourself something sharp”.

      I only think that’s a funny idea because I didn’t sleep well last night.

      • Snoring Dog Studio says:

        I slept okay and I think it’s hilarious! Though I’m not sure I’d want her to have something sharp. The one time I told her not to cut my bangs too short she told me to shut up and then shoved my head with the heel of her hand.

  11. knace says:

    The way you described him cutting your hair made me think maybe he had lost his job as a Hibachi chef and then had to retrain for a whole new career, which is never easy!I ‘m sure your hair looks just great! And at least he didn’t say smooth as a baby’s bottom. THAT would have been awkward. My son gets random haircuts at a place just like this- only he somehow manages to always get the attractive young chickies.. =)

  12. Debbie says:

    So this is a lesson in NOT going to a place with “Clips” in its name, right? I mean, you’ve mentioned both Edward Scissorhands and the Eyewitness News copter in the same story, and I think that sounds a bit dangerous. Combat pay, maybe? Perhaps you ought to look into bonding with the same stylist, somebody you can understand and who understands what you need and want in a cut. But then we wouldn’t have this kind of post, would we??

  13. I would never have pegged you as a Dean-a-phobe. Dean Martin has always seemed like a very attractive man to me. Even more attractive if you accept that martini he hands you.
    Smooth is good. Go for smooth again.

  14. Dan Hennessy says:

    Funny ! Reminds me of when I got my hair cut in Poland . He knew about twice as much English as I know Polish . I know five words in Polish . But I took my chances —-and , too , survived .

  15. I don’t like getting my hair done either, really. It’s especially bad if they get the color wrong. I had that happen twice. Not good! I’ve never gone orange since. This sounds like you had a daunting experience. I always think it’s funny the Clip places ask for your phone number and not your name. Who cares what your name is, right? At least hair grows back fast!

  16. Great story! For years I was a clips guy too. I’ll admit to being a hair product guy, gels and sprays and whatever else is out there… I’ve tried most of it! But I’ve never gotten a bad hair cut at a chain like those. Then five or six years ago I went though the “it has to be a real barber” phase, guys that straight razor the hair on the back of your neck. Those places are cool but they get tougher to find everyday. These days I’ve finally settled on a stylist that I know, nothing special, but she does a good job. The good thing, when you see the same person you don’t have to have the “how do you want your haircut” conversation. That’s very liberating! 🙂

  17. Male pattern baldness and the relative poverty of grad school converged to convince my wife that we should just buy our own set of electric clippers at Sears for $14.99. I haven’t paid for a haircut in almost 30 years. I’m not sure I’ve been missing much.

  18. I have a habit of just saying cut of x inches, and give me some light layering, then they ask me bangs or no bangs and I randomly pick one. I’m not too concerned about the haircut because it will grow back. However I usually go only once a year and clip off a minimum of 14 inches which then gets donated.

  19. Hey pallie, likes very cool to see our most beloved Dino lifted up in such a cool way at your pad. Never was, ever will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool…oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth. Know that your reflections have been shared with all the pallies gathered ’round ilovedinomartin.

  20. […] during a hair cut. Some of you may recall the violent, yet surprisingly good haircut I got from Asian Dean Martin. And a very long time ago you might have read about my haircut/food poisoning lecture […]

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