If you’re a man in New York and you want a haircut, you have basically three choices: you can go to one of the zillions of hole-in-the-wall barbershops run by bald immigrant men who may or may not know how to cut hair; you can spend a fortune at a fancy salon for what is, in the end, basically just a trim; or you can go to one of the mid-range chains.
Today I opted for door number three, stopping in at the nearest branch of Dramatics NYC. It was a curious experience. Unlike Jean Louis David, which opts for a kind of low-key haircut-factory feel, Dramatics pretends that it’s a flash salon, complete with techno, a couple of candles by the register and a chesty English girl behind it, and flat screens showing some incomprehensible melange of terrible architectural haircuts and children dancing. What’s really bizarre, though, is that they make their hairdressers take stripper names: the women are Spirit, Astral, Dream, Vogue, Spring, Glitter, Lavender, Fatimah Sunshine and Lexus. I shit you not (scroll down). The men are Flex, Blade, Ace, Ceasar (sic) and my stylist, Runner, who spent much of the haircut telling me about his multiple ex-wives, his life as a busker living in Marin and his exploration of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, not to mention the various addictions he no longer indulges in, having replaced them with the endorphin rush of running (thus the name). He seemed a little high as he trimmed away, and the way he spritzed my hair with … with … well, with something, and then gave his own hair a hit reminded me of the archetypal stoned doctor who takes tokes off the anesthesia mask while working.
Despite all this, or maybe because of it, I wound up with a really nice haircut. Strange but true. If you’re looking to have a mildly surreal time while you get your hair expertly trimmed, you could do worse than to visit Dramatics on Second Avenue. And it’s just five dollars extra to make an appointment with Runner himself (who did, to his credit, inform me that his real name is Tony).
Also published on Medium.