Ironic Hair


Polk Street is an odd San Francisco thoroughfare.  It runs through several very schmancy neighborhoods and yet it manages to be shabby.  Castro is the more well known gay center, but Polk was the original gay ghetto.  We lived near it and I got to know it well enough to realize every block had a liquor store, a dry cleaner, a cheap diner and a gay bar.  Every block.  A very short hop down from the center of what was the rentboy stroll is the front door of City Hall.  It’s San Francisco, there’s not a lot of room to spread out.

But the last decade of skyrocketing rents has routed pretty much every bohemian or louche or plain old funky neighborhood and Polk Street is no exception.  Almost all the old gay hustler bars have given way to guys with oversized glasses and teeny tiny hats drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.

It’s Hipsterland: expensive, ironic and grimy.

Pretty much I don’t care, they got to go someplace, I suppose, but this week my barber called to say his back had given out and I needed my hair cut and somehow I wound up at the People’s Barbershop on Polk at Bush Street.

A temple to hipster’s fetish of guy-ism with a hearty dash of steampunk thrown in for decor, if it was any more hip, I would have been issued a monocle and a wool vest.  Who am I kidding, if it was any more hip, I would have been barred at the door.

So now I have a $60 haircut I don’t like.  The sides are fine, but the top has sort of a poufy roll which, considering how little hair I have to work with, is pretty amazing.  I look sort of like Julie Harris in Member of the Wedding, but not as attractive.  Or butch.

21 responses »

  1. Oh, dear – there are few things so dispiriting as an unsatisfactory hairdo. I've dealt with that these past few years by simply not having them, but that's not really a comprehensive solution, I suppose.

    And those tiny hat/elaborate moustache/PBR boys are the same ones who in the old days went in for sideburns/tiny kilts/Doc Martens, aren't they (or perhaps their baby brothers)?


  2. You and I must have the same barber. Poor guy, he's really in bad shape. I also went to a new shop, and got a very unsatisfactory cut, which, when there's as little as I have to work with, is saying something. Let's hope J's back improves sooner rather than later, for his sake as much as for ours.


  3. I go to Joe's when I'm in SF. If the good man himself is off, I see Ben, who not only gives a good cut, but also sports the most luxuriant beard I have ever clapped eyes on. Nice guy, too.


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