Dermatologist. Cosmetologist. Whatever.

It has been rare that the same person has cut my hair more than once. That seems to be changing with the shop I go to now.

This new place isn’t bad. There aren’t other customers waiting when I arrive. I’m always first in line. The woman at the counter asks if I made an appointment. I never make one, because like I said, I’m the only one there.

This has almost nothing to do with what I’ve written, but I’m sure it’s funny. Or maybe it was funny, or something (public domain)

So she always says, “have a seat, someone will be right with you.”

It used to bother me that the receptionist would ask me to take a seat and wait when I’m the only customer. The Hallmark Channel is always on the waiting area television. I began to wonder if my penance for not having an appointment was enduring ten minutes of sappy Hallmark programming. Now I realize that the wait is a good thing. I think they are trying to assign me to the same person each time.

Meet Inky

I’m not sure how old my current hair cutter is. Perhaps she’s in her seventies. It might also be true that she is in her forties and has gone through a lot of wear and tear. She has red hair, but it isn’t a shade of red that occurs in nature. I don’t simply mean that I know she dyes her hair. I’m saying that this woman’s hair is a completely unprecedented red. If the color wheel was a tire with a nail stuck in it right where the reds are, this red would be at the spot where that tire went flat.

She always has leather on, and she has dozens of tattoos. I’m not exaggerating. Dozens of tattoos, and I’m certain there are probably more that, God willing, I will never see. Because of her tats, I’m going to call my hair cutter Inky.

Our most recent get-together began with me telling Inky how I wanted my hair cut. She went to work on my head while she chatted with another hair stylist. I appreciated this because it helped me understand why waterproof mascara is bad.

Sometimes It’s Best To Be Quiet

Half way through cutting my hair, my Inky turned her attention back to me. “So how are you doing?, she asked. I told her I was fine, just busy getting my hair cut and asked her “what’s new?”

She told me that she’d just gotten a new tattoo. I thought perhaps she was talking about the tattoo she’d gotten right before my last hair cut, so I said “yeah, I remember”. It turns out that Inky referring to some new ink she’d gotten less than 24 hours before. Yes, she gets tattoos as often as I get my hair cut.

“Do you have any tattoos?” she asked. I told her I didn’t and got the same dissertation on how fun being tattooed is that she gave me a few weeks ago after the last time she got inked trimmed my hair. “You really should do it, you know. I know a very good artist that I could get you in touch with.”

There are times when a man must speak his mind. One of those times is not when a someone who may or may not have killed before has scissors near his ear. Because I know when it is best to be quiet, I did not respond to “I know a good artist” with “no, I’m pretty sure that you don’t”. But I’m telling you now – based on what I’ve seen on Inky’s skin, she doesn’t know a good artist.

Inky Goes Too Far

And then, the scary part started. Inky was trimming the hair on the back of my neck with some clippers. She tossed the clippers on the counter and disappeared into another room. When she returned, she rubbed something wet and cool on the back of my neck. This was a first for me. I had to ask what she was doing. Her answer wasn’t reassuring.

“I’m not supposed to do this, shhh.”  When I asked her what she wasn’t rubbing on me, she said it was lotion. I was about to say something about not wanting to have lotion rubbed on me when I looked in the mirror and saw her opening a straight razor with her non-lotion hand.

Not a reassuring sight. (image by Dr. K CCbySa 3.0)

Straight razors are a barber’s tool from way back when. But in a twenty-eight year law enforcement career, I’d seen them used lethally by a lot of non-barbers. In my lifetime, no barber had ever used one on me. I was pretty sure that Inky was going to kill me.

“I’m not supposed to do this, but it just gives such a clean line” Inky said as she shaved the back of my neck. I didn’t dare move. And just at the moment that I’d escape Inky’s chair without bloodshed, I heard the word no one wants to hear from a person using a straight razor near their spine – “oops”.

Yeah, she cut me. She still had the razor open when she said “you had your little mole thing back here, I accidentally took it off.” Not wanting to upset Inky while she was armed, I went with a smile and a joke – “that would have cost a lot more if I’d gone to a dermatologist.” She got a big laugh out of that and didn’t seem to mind that I asked her to put the razor down while she stopped the bleeding.

I had to interrupt the receptionist’s enjoyment of “Little House On The Prairie” to pay for my haircut, then I headed for the door, happy to be alive.

Inky never really said when I’d get the lab results on that thing she took off my neck, but my hair looks great.


31 Comments on “Dermatologist. Cosmetologist. Whatever.”

  1. larva225 says:

    So the question is: do you go back??

  2. susielindau says:

    When she pulled out the straight-razor, I held my breath. I’ve seen them used in dozens of movies and they always make me nervous. Glad to hear you survived the experience even if your mole didn’t make the cut!

  3. Laughing hard. Very hard. So hard I can’t really reply.

  4. Amy Reese says:

    Thank God you survived to tell your funny tale! I have a very vivid picture of Inky in my head. You think she might have asked about the razor first…

  5. So you got a “twofer”. A haircut and mole removal. I would say you got more than you bargained for. People who use a straight razor on a regular basis are artists at what they do. One should never just use one on a whim, especially if they “really aren’t supposed to”.

  6. I hope one of her tats says Inky of Seville. I also hope autocorrect leaves that as “tats”.

  7. She had that thing close to your carotid artery? Oh, dear heavens! I’m so glad you survived!

  8. Eva says:

    My mother-in-law’s nickname is Inky. I don’t know where else to go with that.

  9. robincoyle says:

    I trust your tetanus vaccine is up-to-date?

  10. I often look at young inked guys and gals and wonder how much more bizarre they’ll look in their golden years. I can’t imagine what a 70 year old gets tatts of in the first place – Bill Haley and the Comets album art, perhaps – or just maybe the dates in their lives they’ve seen Haley’s comet? As for your getting inked, I think you should get one of a mole done on the back of your neck.

  11. There’s an ad popping up on top of your barber photo, so I wrote about it.

  12. Daile says:

    Inky sounds like the type of person I want to be when I grow up 🙂 this was a great story and made me laugh Oma 🙂

  13. knace says:

    Terrifying. I didn’t think they still used straight razors anymore, except on movie sets! I think you were very brave. I hope she gave you a sticker or at the very least a Pokémon band aid.

  14. […] week, I told you about my latest and most terrifying haircut adventure. Today I’m going to tell you that it may not be […]

  15. […] few months back, I told you about how a tattoo covered old woman cut my neck with a straight razor during a hair cut. Some of you may recall the violent, yet surprisingly good haircut I got from Asian Dean Martin. […]

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