“After that, I made myself a promise. When I become a hairdresser, I will never cut a guy’s hair too short if that’s not how he wants it. A lot of these places, you go in and they take off too much. I’ll never be like that,” Vincent lamented to me during a haircut.
Vincent’s Hair Stylists was only a few doors up from the apartment I lived in at Sixteenth and Pine Streets. The classic red, white and blue swirly thing that’s the universal sign for barber shop caught my eye shortly after I moved in, and my intrigue grew at a pace closely matching the length of my hair. Something about the facade seemed safe and inviting, and it wasn’t the dated portraits of young people from the 1980s.
Or was it?
“In the 60s, long hair on a guy was considered truly rebellious. It’s not like that any more.”
Last Thursday, December the 23rd, was my last haircut at Vincent’s. He was the kind of man who had so many adventures to describe that the pressure was never on me. He listened intently, but always had a related anecdote to tell when I was done speaking. If I mentioned something about my bike ride to his shop, he’d tell me about his motorcycle. If I mentioned a recent camping trip, he’d tell me about his next vacation to Florida.
Vincent is 69 years old, although I’d think he was more of a healthy 61. He’s retiring, and his shop will be revamped and revitalized, leaving behind a trendy salon in its place. I’ll miss the yellow walls, vintage flooring and a bold bald man who never cut my hair too short.