Last year, I tried to do 50 things by age 50, and then stretched the deadline so I would do them while I was still 50 i.e., before I turned 51. A couple of them are still pending write-up, just got sidetracked on a couple, plus there are a couple that I haven’t finished yet. One of them was to go to Tommy Gun’s for a full shave and haircut.
For those of you not experienced with Tommy Gun’s, it’s like a high-end hair salon for men, as per their advertising:
THIS IS HE TIME.
Get a haircut, shave and reacquainted with your manly awesomeness.
It’s certainly not cheap by male standards. I have simple hair, with simple haircutting needs. Most of the time, I can pop in just about anywhere, and I’m going to get a pretty average cut without much in the way of variation. I thought about doing something wilder with my hair, perhaps going for colour, maybe green even, but not really in the cards. And I don’t care if I’m going gray (or have gone gray in fact), that’s fine with me, so I’m not looking to change the colour to hide anything. I thought about blonde, did that once before with light tinting, but never found anything in the apps that looked exciting to me.
Initially, Tommy Gun’s sounded intriguing. But a couple of years ago, the only one close by was at Bayshore, and I generally avoid Bayshore like the plague that is their parking lot. However, TG just opened an outlet in Barrhaven that has parking right in front of the store, no negotiating four levels to figure out which level I’m parked on, and I was back to considering it.
So with a gift card for my birthday from my wife and son, I was going to go on my birthday. But the gift card didn’t show up in my inbox in time. Another day I was going to go, Jacob was with me, and while he needed a haircut too, the time differential for my haircut and shave vs. his trim would have had him sitting twiddling his thumbs (well, reading actually) for over an hour waiting for me. Then I wanted to go last weekend, but Andrea had a thing in the a.m. that conflicted.
I tried to go yesterday, but they don’t take appointments, you just have to check in online or show up. I tried checking in before 10:00, but they weren’t open yet, so the app wouldn’t take me. By the time I showed at their door, it was 10:12 a.m., and they were already booked with a hundred kids (I exaggerate) taking them up to an hour and twenty minute wait. Umm, no?
I was going to push it off to late August when I have my next vacation, but ended up being free this morning, so tried again. Checked in online at 9:45 (they open earlier on Thursday and Friday), only a 37 minute wait, so I puttered around and then headed for the salon. When I got there, my phone buzzed to tell me I was next, and after waiting about 8-10 minutes, I was in like Flynn.
As I said, I was going to go earlier for my birthday in June and in anticipation of that, I had let my hair and beard grow. I ended up not going, so had to shave “normally” to be back at work, but my hair was pretty long. Here is my “before” photo from early June.
I usually want the hair whacked off, above my ears, generally squared at the back and just cuz I’m a nerd, I tend to part on the right-hand side. I agreed to the bells and whistles that go with the haircut — shampoo, head massage, etc. And I opted for the straight-razor shave.
For the haircut, she used clippers on the side and back, and then we did the wash and shampoo. I have to confess I was impressed with a salon set to man-sizes for height. Normally when I have a hair shampoo at a place like First Choice or something, I feel like I’m slouching to get my neck and head in the sink, with no back support. Here, we just turned the chair around, leaned me back, and it was almost the perfect height immediately. No water afterwards running down the back of my shirt either. And did I mention the really good head massage? Slow, kneading, plus a bit of thumb action on the forehead. Nice. Not quite sleep-inducing, but pretty good. Then she did the haircut, and we started setting up for the shave.
Smooth like a baby’s butt
When I was first old enough to shave, I used an electric razor, mostly because the thought of having sharp blades near my neck in the control of my clumsy hands didn’t seem like a great idea. Then I started working at CIDA, and while I didn’t know where I would end up, there was a chance that I could be in Africa and outside of decent electrical zones but still needing to shave. So I tried using a simple disposable razor just in case I ever needed it while traveling, or camping, or just a power failure or whatever. Plus I figured men should know how to shave without need of an electrical outlet. Once I tried it, I never went back.
I do have sensitive skin though, so I generally go with the grain only. Down or sideways, rarely upwards. Which was the first question she asked me — did I shave in all directions (i.e. with and against the grain) or just with the grain? Since I only go with the grain, she wasn’t going to go against it — too much likelihood of a reaction or just plain being uncomfortable afterwards.
I was initially nervous about the hot towel treatment (they swaddle your face in a couple of pretty hot towels), just because with my blood pressure, heat is rarely my friend. I can’t go in saunas, or hot tubs, for instance. But when she said it was only on for 90 seconds at a time, I was game. And no issues at all. It did feel a bit claustrophobic initially, and you’ll see why in the photo, but the first towel wasn’t too hot. When she put the second one on, I’m not sure if it is much hotter, or it just pushes the first one in close to the skin, but the temp jumped. Not unbearably so, but certainly hotter than my son would be able to tolerate on his hands, for example.
So she did the first towel wrap. And then applied a pre-shave oil. Then another towel wrap. Then the shave, which was all good except a bit of irritation while doing my upper lip, and at the corners of my mouth. That felt a bit weird. Then another towel wrap. And another secondary shave. Apparently if you have really coarse bristles, they do another towel wrap, but I knew that wasn’t going to be needed. I have really soft hair, and it doesn’t grow too fast either. While some men get five-o’clock shadow, mine is more like Wednesday peach fuzz if I shave on Monday.
She finished off with a bit of tidying up of my eyebrows, a bit of peach fuzz removed near my eyes at my request (who knew the french word for fuzz is “duvet”?), a bit of non-shiny product in my hair, and I was done.
Total cost? About $87, taxes in, plus tip. Less my gift card of course, so a decent “treat” only marginally more expensive than a normal decent haircut and shampoo. Or nothing compared to what most women get gouged with regularly.
And they threw in a drink of choice — water, pop, juice, etc.
|Before||Selfie right after (yeah, I don’t ever do selfies)||Photo by Andrea tonight|
And just for fun, I’m throwing in a shot of my brother. People say we look alike, but I don’t see it. 🙂
|Me afterwards||My brother Mike|
I’m about three weeks past my amended deadline, but I’m glad I did it. I wouldn’t go every month or anything, but I’m open to going once a year for my birthday or a special occasion. It was fun.