Once again it’s time for… Is it just me? The gameshow where I complain about some issue that everyone deals with, and you all weigh in with your opinion on the matter.

This episode’s topic: Haircuts.

I know that there are many differences between the male and female hair treatments. Most men I’ve met would rather find the cheapest barber they can (“Uncle Lou only charged me $3 – Sure, he’s nearly blind and only has the use of one arm, but… cheap!”) and women seem to head for the more frilly places (“I was going to drive home right after my hair appointment, but I had too many of their free mimosas, so I went shopping instead”). This is a hasty generalization that I’m sure will earn me no respect for having written it.

Nonetheless, I must admit to a certain affinity to a $30 salon hair-do. As I was explaining to Berta, if you find the right stylist, there’s definitely something to the scalp kneading that occurs during the shampooing phase. It nearly triggers that blissful reaction in me that you see with some dogs when you scratch them in just the right spot. Moving on…

The reason I bring up this whole hair issue is because I had mine mostly chopped off yesterday. And during the process, as usual, the stylist wanted to know how I wanted my hair done. Allow me to pose this question to the guys in the audience: Do you really know what to say to answer this question?

I find that I am frequently and inexplicably flustered upon the asking of this question. What do I want my hair to look like? I’m not really sure – I just want it to not be as long as it is because it’s a pain to manage.

I’m not averse to long hair. In high school and college I had hair longer than any woman I know. It’s just that weird in-between stage that makes growing it out too difficult and has me returning to the hair salon all-too-infrequently.

So I’ve been told that I like a “number 4” on the sides. Does it seem strange to anyone else that I would order a haircut by number? I guess it’s difficult to describe my own vision for my hair, but somehow specifying the blade guard length on the razor used to trim my hair doesn’t sit well with me.

I suppose that it really is frustrating for stylists when a client comes in and says, “I have hair. I don’t want all this hair, and I don’t really care what it looks like as long as 1) I don’t have to spend more than 5 minutes messing with it in the morning and 2) I don’t look like Uncle Lou cut it.” I feel like my head could be a solid block of marble, ready to be chiseled into a masterpiece of a sculpture. Or something. They don’t seem to appreciate that they are free to explore their own artistic vision using my head.

It seems that I have also not gotten down the hair cutting small-talk:

"Whereabouts do you work?" "Over in Thorndale." "..."

Ok, it’s not as bad as that, but I find that when I’m seated under the waterproof nylon hair clipping shroud that I have usually just gotten out of work and I’m still thinking about what I’m going to do when I get back near the computer that I had left early so that I could experience the inconvenience of the removal of all that blasted extra hair. So yeah, I’m not exactly in the mindset of a person who is getting their hair cut. Asking me generic small-talk questions will undoubtably get you the most terse response possible. My brain may be under all that hair, but my mind is elsewhere.

Of course, my favorite hair cutting small-talk question of all time is, “So it’s been a while since you’ve had your hair cut?” Yes. Otherwise, I would have just been here, and I’m certainly not one of those neurotic N-Sync/Vanilla Ice-looking boys. Indeed, I actually have a life, and I try to involve hair in it as little as possible. Of course, I can’t say that because they take offense to it for some reason (oh, no, you go ahead and try it and see how that works out for you when they’ve got scissors near your ears), so I usually stick with the old standby: “Yes, I’m so busy with work that even scheduling time for this is a problem.”

Also - and I’m totally stereotyping here, but I have yet to find it to be untrue - I can’t talk to hairdressers about computers. Can’t be done. The first thing out of their mouths is usually, “I hate computers, especially the one we have here.” Those geek readers familiar with this phonmenon know the pat response, right? “Yeah, yeah, me too.” Otherwise, it’s a whole can of worms you’re opening with someone who has no experience with computers other than as a frustrated user, who is wielding cutting implements near your brain.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Ok, yeah, that’s funny, but nobody’s really going to cut you for saying things like that.” You would be surprised. I was cut by the same lady twice in the same sitting. The first time, I assumed it was an accident. Yeah, right. Check out the ear scar; battle wounds from my time in the pneumatic chair of death.

I think if you’re going to take away a theme from this post, it should be: “Be nice to people while they’re cutting things off your head.” Whether it’s for this reason or I just feel generous, I way overtip. Consider it a thank-you for putting up with my lack of small-talk skills and inability to describe a simple thing such as a haircut. See? We’re both inept to each other!

Here’s what I think I would really be into: At the Borgata casino there is a real old-fashioned barber shop that gives haircuts and hot foam shaves with real straight razors. I would be so into that. There’s a place in Exton that looks like it does the same thing, and the place seems really swank from the outside. The waiting area has a pool table, if that tells you anything. Hmm… I wonder if they server liquor and cigars; it seems like just that kind of place.

So there you have it. Is it just me that has these hair styling issues? Or is this a common thing?