Hairdressers and Dentists

A long time ago I decided to make an effort to look my best. Conventional wisdom said guys get better haircuts at female hair shops because the standards are higher. (Actually the prices are higher because getting your man-hair cut at a chick place is like taking your Camry to the Rolls Royce dealer for an oil change. Also some female barbers hairdressers give high-maintenance haircuts that look good when you are all teased and pouffed up as you leave the shop but require gels and blow-dryers to maintain the look. But I digress.) Anyway I started getting my haircuts at places that called themselves salons.

What eventually happened with every hairdresser was that one day I would call to make an appointment and they would say she doesn’t work here any more. Then I would ask where she went and they would say we don’t know. In one case I made an effort to track down my woman. When I found her she said her loyal customers were following her to her new shop and the jerks at the old shop were lying about not knowing where she was working now. There were other hairdressers and sudden disappearances. For a brief period I got my hair cut by Stan at a traditional men’s barbershop on Devon Avenue. He was OK but someone told me that Marvin at the same shop was much better, so I started avoiding Stan and using Marvin and he was indeed the best. However, one day Marvin disappeared, so I started going back to Stan as though nothing had happened. I felt a bit like the colonial official in the Somerset Maugham story who brings his new English wife back to Malaya or wherever. The wife soon notices a native woman and children hanging around who seem oddly familiar with her husband, and eventually it is revealed that this is in fact her husband’s local family, at which point the new wife flees back to England and the native wife moves back in as though nothing had happened. I don’t think Stan would be my first choice as a roommate if I lived in Malaya but you get the point. Anyway I eventually got tired of the drama and now cut my own hair with a bowl.

My dentist is an older guy who sold his practice and retired about ten years ago but then decided that he wanted to keep working. So he resumed part-time practice through another dental office with whom he must have worked out some kind of fee-splitting arrangement. The new practice was a bit far away (perhaps he had a noncompete agreement with the people he had sold his practice to) but overall this arrangement was OK for me since I got to continue using my preferred dentist.

However, one day I called to schedule a cleaning and asked if Dr. ____ would be in the office when I visited and they said he doesn’t work here any more. I asked if they knew where he had gone and they said no. So I tracked him down at home and he said he was practicing at a new shop and his loyal patients were following him there, and the jerks at the old shop were lying about not knowing where he was working now.

OK, no problem. I knew how to find him if he moved again. And as it turned out he moved again in a few years and again after that, and each time he moved I followed him. He moved to a practice that was an hour’s drive from me, which was too much, and then he moved to another practice across the street from that one. At that point I started looking for another dentist, and I actually visited one who was recommended by an oral surgeon I was acquainted with, but on the first appointment the new guy gave me a hard sell for work that I didn’t think I needed. So I was relieved to learn that my old dentist was moving again, this time to a practice that was within tolerable driving distance (perhaps the noncompete had expired). That was about a year and a half ago. Since then my dentist has moved twice more, most recently back into the same building where he worked many years ago before he sold his practice. And yesterday I got word that he has moved yet again. I don’t know what’s going on but I can’t start doing my own dental work, so it seems clear that I need to find a new dentist.

7 thoughts on “Hairdressers and Dentists”

  1. This kind of stuff is not rare, in barbers (Sorry hairdressing) and even medicine. I had the same experience a few years ago (more than a few) when a friend quit a surgical group. I still get my hair cut a the Leisure World Barbershop which has a women’s hair place in back. Once in a while a woman hairdresser pushes past the barber who was going to cut my hair to let us all know it is her turn. I maybe to fight this trend because I have noticed that prices have gone up the past month. From $8 to $9. That is outrageous ! I always give him a ten but it is only a dollar tip now. Haven’t noticed a change in quality.

  2. I have a good dentist so no help there. But the hair, before I lost mine, I would just go to the local Cost Cutters or Supercuts or whatever chain was closest to my house. Always under $20, and the cuts were always good. Not great, but good enough. I was typically out of there in under a half hour. Turnover was heavy but those places aren’t really in it for stylist loyalty afaik.

    But. I started to lose my hair and it began looking ridiculous. I have shaved my head for the last five or six years and it is glorious. My wife was shaving it for me, but now if she is busy I hit the local SportClips. They have decent looking girls in there and ESPN on all the monitors. $17 and the sixth one is half price. I am out of there always in under 15 minutes. I love that place.

  3. Michael – sounds like your haircut is similar to mine?

    What hair I have left has always been “semi-ruly” I would brush it and an hour later would do its own thing.

    About 10 years ago with a not coincidental observation of a status changing “balding” to “that ship has sailed” I decided to almost go back to my Army Days – tell the barber “just go over it with a 1 1/2 blade”.

    Pretty hard for them to mess up!

    So these days I pick my barbers not on the “quality of the job” but if they have a decent magazine collection (car mags preferred and not over 2 months old) – and the ability to carry a conversation.

    Jonathon – your tracking experience reminded me of a similar experience – although a phone book wouldn’t help.

    An attorney we used as a trustee in an unusual trust…..

    The attorney who made the trust was an old friend of one of the deceased.

    Well, a few years went by with as much “normality” as this Trust could generate (that would be a book in itself) and there came a time where we noticed the attorney had simply disappeared.

    Not “here’s a forwarding number” when you called his office, or having his mail forwarded but just……disappeared.

    Phone number had been disconnected and no way to reach him by phone or mail.

    Well, a few more years go by and one of the other trustees meets him at a party.

    He had become a judge in a small rural town.

    As to the mystery of the circumstances of his leaving we haven’t a clue.

    Whether it was, to use an old law school term, a possibility of his “absconding with a client’s funds”, a hit man was after him, or simply a desire to start a new life, the mystery is still there.

  4. Trouble with your barbers is, you live in a city.

    I go to the barber in town, or the barber in the next town. One chair each. Don’t go on Saturday mornings, and can’t go on Wednesdays. Barbershops are closed on Wednesdays- it’s golf day.

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