Now, when we were much younger, the haircuts meant little to us. We complied, I know sometimes I cried. And after we got to Tennessee--as we hit our teens and our hair did matter to us--then he let us do what we wanted. It was our hair, it was our decision. And that remained true as we moved up to Iowa in the Seventies.
But I still can't recall going to a barber shop.
Maybe I went to a couple as a child or teen, but I only have the vaguest of memories about it. I think Mother cut my hair for a few years when I was a teen. I wore it longish for the times, unbrushed, less-than-shoulder length, bangs covering my face. My hair was neither straight or curly. I had the sloppy-look down. And later, I began to cut my own hair. A pair of household scissors did the trick . . . Sure. I looked terrible.
I remember I was maybe eighteen or nineteen when I first went to get a haircut. It was the late Seventies, style salons for men were just catching on, old time barber shops were starting to disappear. So, I went to a "salon" and I had no experience at it. It was a man--this was in Urbandale, Iowa for god's sake--and he wanted to wash my hair. This was strange, I thought, and when he led me to the sink, I tried to put my knees in the chair and hold my head over the sink. He corrected me and washed my hair. Then he took out scissors and went to work. Then he blow-dried it. It was all new to me. But I liked it okay and I paid and tipped him--not knowing how to tip either--way too much. From then on I got my haircuts at your average type Supercuts place; though in Iowa City I did use a beauty school where students cut your hair at discount prices (seems maybe, later, I did that somewhere else, too).
Now I go to an old fashioned barber shop close to the house. But they know all that they need to know, certainly more than they need for my services. They'll also trim your eyebrows, ear hair, neck hair, even straight razor blade your neck with foam and then massage it with aftershave. All for less than twenty bucks--which is probably what I paid, with tip, for that first salon haircut in Urbandale.