For Christmas, Jeff gave me a gift certificate for a haircut at the Grooming Lounge; he had been there previously and had written positively of the experience and I had expressed interest in checking it out as well. With shaggy hair badly in need of a trim, I made an appointment for yesterday afternoon, and Jeff accompanied me downtown (where we also did some shopping, about which I’ll blog in subsequent entries).
It was an interesting, indulgent experience. A trip to the Grooming Lounge includes offers of choices of beverage from espresso to root beer. And the haircut itself includes a shampoo, conditioning and scalp massage beforehand; a hot face towel to relax the skin post-shampoo; and a shoulder massage after.
I remarked to Jeff as we left, though, about how “straight” the place felt, almost but not quite unsettlingly so (if that makes sense); he agreed, but noted that it had had a different feel the times he’d been there (during my visit, all the staff cutting hair were men, whereas Jeff has had his hair cut there by women). I think the shop actually aims for that feel–they boast that they’ve been featured in GQ and Playboy, for example, and the web site tenders an invitation to stop by to “watch some ESPN,” while the interior of dark wood feels like a cigar bar. When we arrived, there was a game of some sort on one of the TV screens in the waiting area, but the sound was off; rather, an emjoyable and eclectic selection of music, from the Doors to Frank Sinatra, played softly. Near the end of my appointment, though, the sound to the game was turned up and it became the topic of conversation among the staff and a few visitors; I kept expecting Michael, my–um, what do you call the person who cuts your hair at a place like this? “Stylist” seems too foofy yet “barber” feels too lowbrow. Ah, his card gives the answer.–“grooming expert” to ask me what I thought of the game or whom I was for, and frankly I had no idea what sport was even on, much less which teams were involved. He did ask me if I play golf, though, but fortunately didn’t ask me any questions about the “little woman.”
The experience overall, though, was a satisfying one, and it was very nice to be pampered like that. Michael spent really quite a lot of time on the haircut (I was in the chair close to an hour), which I think turned out well; Jeff seems to like it, at least.