There are some things in life that are just worth spending the money on getting it done right. In my opinion, haircuts should be right up there with doctors and prostitutes. I will never understand why you’d try to save a few dollars and take a chance on walking out of there looking like Russian child-soldier for 3-5 weeks. If you’re about to get a haircut and you’re not sure if it’s going to be good, here are a few signs you’re about to get a terrible haircut.
After describing, in detail, how you’d like the sides trimmed and the way your hair tends to fall on the top, she says, “So do you want a #3 or #4 on the top?”
As you’re walking in everyone you see walking out has the same haircut your mom gave you in the 5th grade when you got lice from your cousin Everett.
The name of the salon or barbershop is solely based on a pun. And usually their slogan will be something like, “Why Waste Money On How You Look? Plus Hats Are Cool, Right?”
The person cutting your hair keeps asking someone else to come over and look at what they’re doing. Nothing makes you feel more confident than hearing a person with scissors above your head whisper, “How do I fix that? Is it noticeable?”
Having a television in the barbershop is great because it gives you something to stare at besides your cape-covered crotch. The terrifying part is when you glance up and notice your barber is, not only watching TV, he’s become emotionally invested in the show. There’s no way you’re getting his full attention when you see him tearing up over the episode of Frasier when Niles goes into surgery.
In the middle of the haircut your barber leans over and asks something like, “You’re not going to be attending any events where you’ll be photographed anytime soon, are you?”
You found them on one of those deal sites like Groupon, but it’s not one of the regular deals - it’s a clearance Groupon deal. How terrible is your business that you can’t even get people to come in with 65% off and now you’re basically paying them $7 to come in?
If your stylist mentions any sort of rapidly approaching appointment or obligation, you’re in trouble. “I have to pick up my kids in ten minutes, but I guess I can cut your hair really quick.” Ah yes, exactly what I want to hear. The person cutting my hair is on a Jack Bauer-like countdown clock to make sure their children aren’t sitting on the curb and about to be abducted. I’m sure my sideburns aren’t going to look like Tetris pieces after this.
You’re at a hair college.
When there’s drama in the salon or barbershop, just walk out the door. The last thing you need is Tiffany to start arguing with Melanie because she swiped right on Tinder on her ex-boyfriend. Now she’s making sassy comments and passive aggressively cutting your hair.
You know those guys salons that have generic sports images all over the walls, like a banner that says GO TEAM or TACKLE TIME? Those aren’t bad unless their big draw is that the girls cutting your hair are going to be hot. First of all, if your biggest thrill is getting a little bottom boob on your shoulder during a haircut, that’s really sad. Secondly, do you really want someone deciding how you’re going to look for the next month that got hired because they fill up a tanktop?
If you see your barber texting during your haircut, you’d be better off doing a handstand above an overturned lawnmower.
If there’s any sort of guaranteed time limit on how fast they cut your hair, you’d be insane to walk in there. Is it really worth saving 15 minutes to look like blindfolded Edward Scissorhands had a seizure while destroying your head?
Before the stylist turns you around, she sighs and says something like, “If you don’t like it, we can always…” Nothing good has ever happened after a conversation opener like that. You’re about to see a haircut that looks like Billy Ray Cyrus was dipped in toxic sludge. Just prepare yourself.
Rob is a writer and comedian based in Louisville, KY. Follow @robfee on Twitter.