Joe's Barbershop, Hudson Ohio (he had posters of the 1970s Cleveland Browns; once, when I was about nine, Joe called me "a very insightful young man").
Bo Ric's Hair Care, Harlem Avenue, Oak Park, Ill. It was right across the Wendy's parking lot from our house.
Barbershop/Used Furniture Store, Damen Avenue, Chicago. The barber used to cut hair between sips out of a sweaty can of Busch beer. Which made me nervous until he once tried to shave my neck with a straight razor without the beer.
Danny Hair Studio, Chicago Avenue. Went there for years, never asked why Danny skipped the possessive. It just didn't seem germane.
$6 Haircuts, Ashland Avenue. They took seven minutes, and they weren't bad.
Polish barbershop, Western Avenue. Around the corner of my house, the first time I went in, the Polish barber said, "Regular?" Meaning, did I want a "regular haircut." Yes—after years of trying and failing to describe how I wanted to cut my hair, I realized that's exactly what I wanted. He didn't speak English, so he didn't talk to me. $15, and I tipped five. It was perfect. Then he moved to another location, probably because they raised his rent. Nothing gold can stay.
Victor's Barbershop and Family Salon. Got one haircut in there. A kid cut some kind of "shelf" thing into my gray hair. A friend told me I looked "like a 1980s baseball player."
SuperCuts, on Division Street. The morbidly obese, four-foot-five heavy smoker reeked and wheezed when she talked and took frequent breaks, to catch her breath. She was so short, she had to grab the top of my head and yank it down so she could get at it. She talked a lot—mostly about the old days in the neighborhood, when "super rats" were a problem. On their hind legs, they stood a foot tall, and defiant! Went there four times, hoping to get a different barber; no luck.
Floyd's 99 Barbershop, one visit only. If I'm going to go to a chain, I don't want to pay $30.
Random barbershop on Western, other random barbershop on Western. Both felt more foreign and alienating to me than the barbershop in Bangkok and the other one in Quito that I went to last year. In Quito, a little old lady climbed up on my shoulder and gave me the best haircut of my life while my friend paced outside, astonished that a haircut could take longer than 20 minutes.
Old Dog Barbershop. Just went for the first time last week. It's hipster city in there—hoppy beer in the fridge, and they were playing Shitt's Creek on the TV. $35—and again, I tipped five. I hope Taylor thought that was all right.
I might go back.
Then again, I might try someplace else, and when they ask me how I like my hair, I'll them to give me "the John the Baptist."