Once again we're off to Chicago this afternoon for a weekend which will include two - yes, two - engagement parties/showers. I'm grateful for the generosity of L's family's friends, but I'm also feeling a bit of pressure. With so many people for me to meet, I better look good.
For years I had gone to Astor Place Hairstylist, the Greenwich Village institution where a guy can walk out with a fresh cut for less than fifteen dollars. I had a couple of favorite barbers there, but was never really aware of their schedules and often found myself inadvertently showing up on their days off and walking out with a buzz cut when all I wanted was a trim.
Not wanting to take that chance this time and with a somewhat unruly and neglected mop, I booked an appointment at John Allan's, a club-style salon with a midtown location. (There's also one in the downtown Financial District) The cut would be a tad more than fifteen bucks, but was part of what the club calls a "Full Service" package. At less reputable establishments, "Full Service" would connote a back-alley entrance and an hourly rate, but at John Allan's that meant I'd get a scalp-massaging shampoo, hot towel, manicure, shoeshine, and beverage in addition to my haircut. I suspect the club lists "shoeshine" and "beverage" right after "manicure" in their marketing materials to help most men recover from the idea of having their nails done. "Manicure? Well at least I'm also getting some old school man stuff, like a shine and a beer. That makes it cool, right?" Then again, there aren't too many places where a guy can go and have his hand held for more than a few minutes by a woman who isn't his fiancée and not get in trouble, so having your hands massaged by a woman named Adrianna probably eases most men's discomfort.
You see, John Allan's might be for men only but it's staffed by some beautiful women. All the employees - save the shoe shine guys and coat check staff - are female. L knew this when I booked my appointment and was fine with it. If going to a place staffed by good looking women would tame my unruly do, L didn't mind at all. At the end of the evening, me and my newly-shorn keppe would be coming home to her.
After a short wait where I read the paper and enjoyed a drink, I had my shampoo and hot towel. Both were very relaxing, as advertised. Sufficiently sedated, I sat in an overstuffed leather club chair - no pump-up-and-down salon chairs here - and was tended to by Kaci and the aforementioned Adrianna. Kaci worked delicately, eschewing the rough electric razor that I was used to at Astor Place in favor of a nice pair of scissors. I felt a little weird when Adrianna complimented me on my cuticles, but upon futher inspection I realized she was right. I do have nice cuticles. Anyway, the two ladies were friendly, not overly chatty and very attentive, and even gave me a few breaks to take a sip of my drink and check the work in progress.
The entire appointment didn't take that long. In less than an hour I left with one of the best haircuts I've ever had - even L gave it her seal of approval later that evening - and a nice experience. Sure, it was a lot more expensive than Astor Place, but with less of the assembly-line feel of the downtown establishement and other NYC haircutters, I left looking good and feeling relaxed.
So, guys, treat yourself to something nice. After all, there's a reason you're called a groom.
Hey, if you go to John Allan's, tell 'em PlanetGordon sent you.
Have a good weekend, everyone.Posted by The Groom at February 26, 2004 08:01 AM