Neighborhood Blades

These were some of the best moments I spent with my grandfather outside of a fishing boat.


Neighborhood Blades

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

I’m about to enter a new era of my life. My wife has been cutting my hair since the day we got married on August 31st, 2019. Now, I have a particularly important gala to attend, and I need to make sure I look top notch while rubbing elbows with the Dallas high and mighty. It’s time to venture into the new neighborhood to scout out a new barber. Ah, the most personal of decisions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is upon me. Wish me luck!

I never was much for haircuts when I was a child, but I got one every other week regardless. Of course, it wasn’t my choice, because my grandfather got one every other week without fail. I was born in the early seventies, and he didn’t want me to resemble the remnants of the hippie movement. I wore the bowl cut and still have photographs to prove it. This wasn’t my choice either.

When I reached the age of choosing my own hairstyle, the world was knee deep in the eighty’s hair metal scene. Of course, I grew the softest, shiniest mullet any North Texas teenage girl had ever run their fingers through. I still have the photographs to prove that as well and take more pride in those pictures than the above-mentioned bowl cuts. I was also a buck tooth kid, and, by this time, I’d grown into my teeth which were large enough to make Buccee the Beaver jealous. Seriously, I’m glad I grew up in a town that didn’t have bars because I surely would’ve been employed as the full-time bottle opener! I jest…or do I? Seriously, I had big front teeth as a child.

A few months before I shipped out for the Army, I decided to cut my hair to its shortest length ever, just to get used to the shock of a military haircut. I recall walking outside in a rainstorm, feeling the precipitation atop my head for the first time in my life. It was pleasant, unusual. I decided to keep that style for nearly a decade because it was easy to maintain, and I didn’t have to spend tons of time washing it every morning to get it to do anything. Then, the divorce came.

I’m not sure why, but I always seemed to change my looks as drastically as I could after a big break up. I don’t know if it was just a symbol of moving on, or maybe I didn’t want the potential ex-wife/girlfriend to recognize me in crowds. Unfortunately, I was working for a sheriff’s department, and they wouldn’t let me have the hairstyle I genuinely wanted. It was either military style hair of bust yet again. I guess some old man somewhere thought it looked more professional. Too bad a hairstyle doesn’t determine someone’s ethics, right? Silly, silly traditions if you ask me.

After my law enforcement career came to an abrupt halt, I started growing my hair out yet again! This time, all one length to the middle of my back like the rock stars I idolized during my teenage years! Unfortunately, I was traveling a lot at the time, and it became too much of a hassle to deal with in hotels or while sleeping in a vehicle during long drives. It looked horrendous if I didn’t wash it every morning and I was tired of my clients looking upon me as though I was some type of disgusting monster. I guess my original mission was accomplished, however. I grew my hair the exact way I’d always wanted it before my father’s baldness caught up with me. I cut it all off again to a more professional length. That’s when I noticed my genetics taking over near the crown of my head.

Yes, the thinning had begun, and all I wanted to do was cry like a child with a skinned knee. My logic, as ignorant as it was, convinced me I’d rather be completely bald instead of exhibiting a “bald spot” for all the world to see. I instructed my wife to grab the clippers and take it all away for good! I grew a long, salt and pepper colored beard to counteract the loss of hair. Honestly, I resembled a modern-day biker without a bike but I could live with that. Of course, as with every other style I’ve had in my life, things changed again. The dreadful thing? I was running out of style options.

My wife landed a new corporate GM job and no longer has time to cut my hair. She says she does, but I wouldn’t dare put that responsibility on her with all the things she already has to do on a daily basis. What kind of a trash husband would I be if I went around whining about my hair to an exhausted woman who outweighs me in salary? I’d be a homeless husband, that’s who I’d be!

So…here I sit, shaggy headed and looking for a new local barber in my neighborhood. I’ve found one within walking distance (which is the way I prefer most things in life as a means to fulfill the New York City fantasy I’ll never live) who specializes in straight razor shaves and even gives you a beer from a local brewery while you wait! This, my friends, sounds like the barber shop I never knew I wanted, and I can’t wait for them to do whatever it is they want to do with my hair and face! After all, they’re the professionals. No one tells me how to author books so I shouldn’t tell them how to make me look good, right? It’s like gambling, in a way. Here’s my head. Create.

Do you have any memorable moments from your neighborhood barber/beauty shop growing up? Was it somewhere you went traditionally with one of your parents or did you go there alone? Is there any particular barber/beautician you used repeatedly who offered you life changing advice that you still abide by today? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Sure, to some, this may seem like a rather mundane request for memories but, to me, these were some of the best moments I spent with my grandfather outside of a fishing boat. It was almost worth the elementary school shunning due to my bowl cut!

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