sticker_shock Today I stopped in at my regular barber shop for what I call my “5 minute slash-and-burn”.*  I parked across from the shop**  and as I walked up to go in, two of the lady barbers***  were taking a break, sitting on the curb out front.  We said hello as I passed.

I went inside and sat down with the other waiting customers, many of us fiddling with our phones to pass the time.****

The ladies finished their break, and came in, and I was called up by one of them.  After the introductory pleasantries, and telling her how I wanted my hair(s) cut, something new happened.  She asked what my bumper stickers meant.

Apparently they sat outside during their break and discussed what they might be about.  They were not familiar with the HRC equality symbol, and were a bit confused what the “Obama Evolved” indicated.  Internally, I almost groaned, and thought this might not go well.

If you don’t frequent traditional barber shops, you might not be familiar with how thick the testosterone can become there.  Even with several women barbers, it’s still very much a masculine environment.  From the sports banners and plaques adorning the walls, to the constant chatter about sports, guns, trucks, and women*****, it’s a place where conservative traditional men go to get their hair cut******.

With a bit of trepidation, I set out to explain.  I told her the equal sign was the logo of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization.  The Obama Evolved sticker was to acknowledge the President’s publicly supporting marriage equality “officially”, years after he openly supported it when he was a “community organizer” back in Chicago.

She and the other gal, working at the next chair, asked a few more questions, including what the “Q” meant******.  She then was talking about a couple who lived near her, a gay man and a lesbian woman who were roommates, “just that, nothing else”, and how she really liked them.  There was a bit of that sneaky old “some of my best friends are gay” intimation that hovered about the conversation, unsaid but still detectable.  Otherwise we had a nice chat about marriage,  “be happy”, and a quick side-track about 9-1-1 dispatching on Thanksgiving.  As my haircuts are always a quick job, we didn’t have a deep or prolonged discussion, but I left feeling that it all went pretty well.  For my first experience being accosted regarding my stickers in public, I was satisfied with the outcome.  The haircut was decent, too.

If you need a basic man’s haircut, you can’t beat them.  Inexpensive, quick, courteous, and comfortable, it’s a great place.  Just don’t come in swishing to beat the band, adorned with your rhinestones and boa, and you’ll be OK!  😉

* yes, I know… I’m gay and stereotype would have me fussing about my hair, going to a ‘stylist’, and spending $40 or $50. Or more.  Look at my picture. $8 for the cut and $2 for a tip are all I’m going to spend on my hair. So sue me.

**and that’s almost all it’s called, The Caldwell Barber Shop, because it used to be on Caldwell Avenue, and moved to it’s current location because the landlord remodeled their old building and turned it all into one huge Dick’s Sporting Goods store.  Before that, it was the KMart Barber Shop, because it was in a shopping center next to the KMart.

***the only concession to modern day barbering, it’s pretty much a classic men’s barber shop. That and the HD flat screen TV on the wall.

**** Have to check in on Foursquare, and cross post to Twitter and Facebook you know!

***** It’s toned down when the female barbers or other women are present.  There is *some* discretion about this being the 21st century, after all!

****** Not ‘done’.