can we please get a barbershop for dykes around here?

I think it’s fair to say that most people who are, or have ever been perceived as, female at any point in their lives hate getting their hair cut. It’s expensive, time consuming, and never exactly the way you want it. There’s skin care advice you don’t want, fretting about the grey you actually like, and inane questions about the heteronormative life you may not possess. And they if do get your hair right for a half a second they go and blow dry it and screw it all up so that you have to wash it again the second you get home. Let’s take a moment to share our collective pain.

Okay. Moving on.

Now, if you’re a woman or otherwise perceived/misperceived as female and you like to wear your hair short, it’s a whole new bucket of fun. Yes, I really want it that short. No, I’m not edgy or daring. Yes, I’ve worn it this short before. Yes, I’m sure. No, my boyfriend doesn’t have an opinion, because I don’t have a boyfriend. And when I did, do you know what his opinion was? His opinion was, you should cut my hair the way I want it cut.

I’m very specific when I get my hair cut, and I give them as much info as I can: “It’s been two months since my last cut, I want a basic men’s hair cut, straight across the back, part on the left, everything brushed forward, bit of fringe in the front, if it’s long enough that it starts to curl take more off.”

And yet….

Today I had to assure my stylist I was a lesbian before she would stop advocating for me to “soften the look” and stop fretting about whether or not I was sure, as I sat there grinning viciously and thinking about the men who taught me how to be the type of beautiful I am.

What part of, “I wear custom suits, and I want this crap that ruins the line off the back of my neck” do you not understand? Oh, all of it. Right.

The haircut turned out fine. But seriously, I hate this process, which is why I get my haircut once every two or three months, as opposed to every three weeks like I should.

So let me put the word out: if you are a queer person who has ever thought about opening a salon for other queer people (bonus points if you’re a dyke, genderqueer or transmasculine and are thinking barbershop) in NYC, please do. I would happily pay a lot more and, in fact, spend a lot of time on the subway, even traveling to the far reaches of Brooklyn, to be among my own people, not get asked about the husband I don’t have, avoid the awkward when I bring reference photos of men who aren’t androgynous, and have someone cut my hair who understands that if I don’t feel a fucking razor on the back of my neck at some point in the process, they are doing it wrong.

57 thoughts on “can we please get a barbershop for dykes around here?”

  1. A friend of mine solved that problem by having a friend take pics of her, from all four sides, right after she got a haircut done that actually turned out the way she wanted it. From then on, she just took those to the stylist with her and said “Here, that’s what I want, just like this, I loved it that time.” Still got a bit of “Wouldn’t you like to try something new?” but generally much less debate.

  2. “It’s been two months since my last cut, I want a basic men’s hair cut, straight across the back, part on the left, everything brushed forward, bit of fringe in the front, if it’s long enough that it starts to curl take more off.”

    So that’s how to say it! I’ve tried saying, “Short and androgynous. No, short. Really short. All the way off my neck–no, all the way off,” and it’s only worked a few times (and then that hairdresser moved far away, sadly), because “short” gets interpreted as “short for a typical woman’s cut,” rather than “short like what my brother gets.” I usually go to a hairdressing school because it’s cheap, but I’ll have to check out the Castro next time.

    1. After I discovered “use attachment number four on the razor for the back and sides,” things got much easier as far as explaining what I wanted went.

  3. Be careful what you wish for. My friend made me watch a show last week about fixing up salons and one of the places featured was owned and run by gay men. I seem to remember hearing the words “No girls allowed!” at more than one point. The queer, female host was unamused and tried to get them to open up to women but was less than successful.

    1. Oh ghods…about three doors down from my AwesomePunkHairSalon is a barber shop. Men only.

      And by that I mean that if a woman walks in with a guy and wants to wait for him to get his shave and a haircut, two bits, she *is told to go shop at the vintage clothing stores along the block.* She cannot wait inside the barber shop.

      At my AwesomePunkHairSalon, they also have a barber. And they get more business than that barbershop down the way because much of Billy’s business is referrals from wives, girlfriends, sisters, etc.

  4. Not a lot more I can add to this except:
    – I have occasionally had good experiences with Astor Place Hair. The last stylist I went to was ruthlessly efficient and did a decent job with a minimum of that sort of nonsense. And used one of those electric razors at the back of the neck.
    – On the other hand, avoiding even the possibility of all those issues by having a friendly hair salon would be even better.

  5. I wear my hair long. I do this for two reasons:

    1. when my hair is short, I don’t have cowlicks. I have cow slobber.
    2. I get — no joke — two inches of regrowth a month. That awesome short cut looks shaggy in about 10 days.

    That being said, your stylist is there to give you what *you* ask for. If not, time for another stylist.

    I used to have a stylist who balked at any unnatural hair color. When I asked this woman for neon red highlights, she gave me copper. Not coca-cola-can red. Copper. When I said that was not the color I wanted, she responded that “natural looks better.”

    See, were it not for my current job, I’d just have anime-colored hair all the time.

    It was at that point, I walked out, found my current salon (an awesome indie punk place) and have happily stuck with them through four changes of stylist because they all get it. If I want pink hair, they will gimme pink hair, no questions asked beyond what shade of pink.

    1. I pretty much switch stylists every single time I get a cut, because I have haven’t found a great one yet, and I keep losing track of the tolerable ones because I’m not that enthused.

  6. This, this. I sort of like getting my hair cut because it feels good but it is never really right. My inability to find anyone to cut my hair the way I want it is why I bought clippers and have started slowly learning how to get it done myself.

  7. I had stopped getting my hair cut for about six months before I moved to Texas because I didn’t want to spend the money on haircuts while being partially employed. Then I kept growing it out because I had no job at all and it needed to be long enough to put up and not be on the back of my neck instead of being in that growing out stage.

    Long, unstyled hair reads as masculine to me, or at least it doens’t read as feminine, but it doesn’t work that way with most people, especially here, and sometimes I feel like I need to be more obviously not heteronormative. I’m employed and starting to think about having short hair again. Arguing with a stylist in the Boston area was annoying enough back when I wore my hair short, and I’m going to have to do this in TEXAS.

    So, here’s a thing that I have heard. I work at a school with a sizable military population — there’s a core of cadets. The women apparently need to keep receipts from a hair salon when they get their hair cut, even if they have the sort of style that they could maintain themselves with a razor, because their superiors want proof that the women voluntarily got their hair cut however they got it cut and it wasn’t a hazing thing, or someone taking a razor to their hair while they slept or something. Somehow I’m guessing that if the men want to give each other buzz cuts, that’s totally fine.

    Not that I’ve ever seen a female cadet with a buzz cut, but I would be so annoyed that I wouldn’t be allowed to maintain my hair myself.

  8. I’m lucky that Columbus pretty much has such a place; the last time I got my hair cut there, the stylist only asked about how my husband liked my hair being short after we’d already mentioned him several times in a 30 minute conversation. I told the stylist before her that I wanted something “femmedrogynous” and sort of “femme in the front, boy in the back,” and they knew exactly what I meant even without photos. You tell them what you want, and they go for it, and are excited to do it.

    I know you’re sometimes out this way, so if you ever need a Columbus haircut, it’s Lucky 13’s in Clintonville –

  9. i try ever so hard to keep my hair in a ’90s style graduated bob – sitting at the hairline in back, 1″ below chin level in the front. it shouldn’t be hard. but it is. i don’t want bangs, or fringe, or a side sweep, and i most certainly do not want “volume.”

    i finally figured out that the best way to get the point across to any barber/stylist was to bring in pictures of myself with the haircut i want – proof that yes i have had this cut before, yes i can indeed pull it off, and yes, i really and truly do want it.

    it really and truly sucks that a professional i’m paying to cater to my whims won’t take my word for what i want. and i’m not really asking for much at all.

  10. I’m honestly surprised that you run into these kinds of problems, but I’m sorry that you do. Then again, I have hacked my hair off and even shaved my head, but I’ve always done it myself. Whenever I’ve gotten cuts it’s generally been when I was a long hair, except for this one time when I wanted it shaved with fringe in front and I had to explain to this to the guy who couldn’t speak English very well.

    I do wonder why you don’t go to the same hair dresser regularly so you can “train” them to not ask you stupid questions. I think that’s what I would try doing if I was in your situation.

    Anyway, I’ve had people question my judgment and assume I had less knowledge than I actually had on many things, so I can definitely sympathize with the stupidity you’re having to put up with here. And I can’t believe they actually ask you what the supposed man in your life would think of haircut. That’s just none of their business.

    1. I actually downloaded that image to my hard disk. Considering uploading it to my Nano and using it as a sampler for the next time I need to get a haircut.

  11. The moment I knew Tami was going to be just fine as a stylist was when I brought in the pictures of David Tennant and said, “I want this,” and she did that.

    Right now I’m having hair angst because I kinda like it the length it’s at, but it desperately needs to be shaped, but I also really miss having dyke hair.


  12. WTF is it with hair stylists? I have yet to find one that will do as s/he’s told the first time.

    Younger Monster grows his hair out in the winter, until it starts driving him nuts, then gets it all buzzed off. The stylists argue with him. He tells them “Number 5, all over, and get rid of the sideburns.” They ask him if he wouldn’t rather have Justin Bieber’s style? He says No, thank you, and repeats his request. They argue with him. He tells them that he’s paying for Number 5, all over, lose the sideburns. They get huffy and give him what he wants.

    I don’t go to stylists any more, ever. I refuse to be in weddings now, because the bride always wants hair put up in some elaborate style, and the stylists bitch about my thigh-length hair. “You’d be so cute if you just cut it!” And when I refuse, they huff and puff and overtwist and yank and jab the pins in so hard, my scalp bleeds. The last time I went to a pro for a 3 inch trim, she ignored me and took off a foot because she thought it would look better!

    Godsdammit, just give the customer what they’re offering you money to do. It’s not hard.

    1. O.O !!! I’ve never encountered that version of Bridezilla. Grr at the various abuses of your hair and scalp.

      This is why I’ve had the same hairdresser for 20 years – I found her at a Supercuts when I was 19 – I went from long enough to sit on to just below my ears, and she was okay with it once she got past her nervousness about hysterical women who get a freak-out inspired short chop and then freak out about what they’ve done. She looked at me dubiously that time: “you’re going to come back tomorrow and cry at me, aren’t you?” “No, Cut. It. Off. This mid-shoulder blade trim is healthy, but boring. Cut. It. Off.”

      I’ve gone back to her for 1″ trims, radical restylings, and “remember that cut you gave me 10 years ago?” She knows where my cowlicks are, she knows I won’t put up with a styling product or method intensive haircut (she tried to give me a Jennifer Anniston *once*, and I made her recut it).

      She’s become one of my mother’s best friends. She was a guest at my wedding. I used to drive 400 miles (between SF and LA) to have her rather than someone else cut my hair.

      I have no idea what I’ll do if she retires. I have hated every single one of the haircuts I have had anyone else do. Non-EastAsian hairdressers seem to have no clue about East Asian hair. East Asian hair dressers I’ve tried have been bossy and don’t listen.


    2. Ha! I understand. I have long hair too. And I stopped going to salons because they *always* want to cut off 10 inches and then have me come back in 6 weeks. My hair doesn’t grow that fast. What are they going to cut off when they’ve cut off all my hair!? My scalp?! (I actually get below normal growth; most folks get about an inch a month, I get maybe about a 1/4th-1/2.)

      And then salons tell you that the way to have long hair is not to grow it but to have extensions, instead of growing hair out of your head. Or that if you’re over 30/40/50 you must have it short. Or if you’re a mom you MUST have it short.

      I’ve just learned to do my own trims.

      1. 1/2 inch per month IS average hair growth… don’t feel weird!

        I’ve had really decent luck with salons lately, but when I had very short hair, I’d get pushback from some stylists over what I asked for, and ALWAYS went armed with pictures.

        Now that it’s longer, I just tell them to prune the dead ends but KEEP IT THE SAME, THANKS. That works pretty well!

        It doesn’t help that my favorite stylist left for a while, though, and was just canned for taking too many days off. He has a band, okay? 🙂 ( But actually, :/ )

        1. I think my growth is actually closer to the 1/4th monthly rather than the 1/2. Even when I tell them “just prune off split ends” I still end up with way too much lopped off. I’ve just given up on finding a stylist to trim my hair. I’ll trim off my own bloody split ends, thank you very much.

          Hope the band stylist is doing good! If he gets well known, you can always boast that he used to cut your hair.

    3. I also no longer go to hair dressers.

      I’ve not encountered the overtwisting, pin jabbing kind but I’ve also yet to find one who knows how to make my hair into a nice up-do (they seem to be used to working with less hair, even though my hair is only just below my bra strap and very fine).

      I haven’t let anyone take any sharp implement to my hair in years now. Because they have a horrid habit of taking off way too much 😦

    4. My mom (who has thick, ass-length hair) had one wedding she was in where she was yelled at and scolded, and the hairdresser just put it in a sloppy braid. When the bride saw what had happened, she went bridezilla-in-an-awesome way and basically yelled at the salon that she was paying for her bridesmaids to have beautiful hairstyles, and not just something done in ten minutes.

      Mum wound up with this gorgeous braid-net that one of the other stylists did, that looked simply exquisite, because that was the stylist who actually _cared_.

  13. I wish that I could lend you my current hairdresser. ^_^

    I get my hair cut short-short

    and my current hairdresser has never asked me “Are you sure?” or any of the other questions that you ask. She just gives me exactly the haircut that I want.

    Perhaps the fact that she is very openly out as a lesbian is a factor.

    She herself has a long cascade of blonde hair down to her waist.

  14. Finding a good hairstylist has always been a challenge for me, too, but I guess I have been lucky: I had one in my hometown and two good folks out here in SF. (The Chicago years were hair wilderness 😦 ) I find it hard to imagine that there isn’t somewhere in NYC to cater to your needs — I’ll keep my ears open.

  15. Next time you’re in Chicago, you should try Barbara & Barbara. From an article about them in the Windy City Times:

    “Added Wabbel: “There really aren’t many places people can go to where [ the public ] can get a hip, quality haircut and not have to pay a ton of money. Also, there aren’t a lot of stylists who understand queer hairstyles. You don’t get a course in gender studies in cosmetology school. You learn boy’s haircuts for boys, and girl’s haircuts for girls. It can be a pretty conservative industry because it is so closely linked with hetero-normative mainstream style. There aren’t a lot of mainstream influences on queer style. I’m trying to fill that hole.”

    1. I was just coming here to say the same thing, re: Barbara & Barbara! They’re where I’m going to get my next haircut, once it stops being so cold and I can deal with not having that extra layer of warmth.

      I’ve also had great luck at Twisted Scissors, which is a very punk/rockabilly sort of place. I’ve gotten great, very short, haircuts there without the “are you SURE” or “don’t you want it a little more feminine?” mess that I’ve gotten from other stylists.

  16. I wear my hair short and very neat in the back (though reading this, it may be slightly longer than how you would like it, but she does use a razor to neaten the back) and I’m fortunate that I’ve found a hairdresser who seems to understand me (my hair is fly away thin and fine and I want a style that takes all of 2 minutes to dry in the morning) – imagine my horror when I tried to book her and they had 3 stylists with the same first name in that salon now and I didn’t know her surname… thankfully have identified her now and will keep with her

    She has never once tried to convince me to have it longer etc, that said, I don’t ever use product unless she does it – I’ve started to humour her because she genuinely thinks it’s what I should do… and once every two months doesn’t harm me… it washes out the next morning.

    so, they are out there – keep searching

  17. I hear your frustration on the stylists. I had a good one but she retired, so I spent a few years trying to find another. That was frustrating. I have very fine hair that has some coarseness, and it’s very fragile when wet. I’ve had stylists try to comb my hair with combs that looked more like for finding lice than combing hair. I’d lose half the hair on my head when they did that. I’m sensitive to chemicals. And I WANT to keep my hair long and un-stylish, dagnabbit. I just gave up on bangs and learned to do my own trims.

    I’ll ask my cuz. My cousin and her girlfriend know some folks in New York. (GF is an artist and she’s had a couple shows there.)

  18. The only time I’ve had very very short hair after puberty (haf-inch crop when I was 16) the stylist (who knows my mum, who has short hair) refused to cut it. I ended up throwing a fit.

  19. Sooo… as a black woman, it’s been a 25+ year journey to find the stylist that will do my hair right. Black hair stylists are independent contractors, not necessarily associated with any particular salon. When I lived in a small town, I commuted to get my hair cut, and when I finally moved, my hair stylist definitely factored into the decision. He’s in a quiet suburb 30-40 minutes minimum away from where I live (Chicago) and I get on a bus every month to go get my effing hair done because he doesn’t question the short, butch “pixie” cut that I want. He uses clippers and he doesn’t give a fuck what I identify as… or if he does, he’d never ask. Easily worth the $70/6weeks. And he does colors or cuts it all off or lets me grow it out, and he never asks about my piercings/tattoos/scars. He’s pretty spectacular, really, and he specializes in short hair for women. I’M NEVER MOVING.

  20. I was pleasantly surprised when discussing a friend of mine with my stylist. Said friend is M-to-F, just starting out on that scary road, and has never had her hair styled in a femme way. I told my stylist this and she said ‘Bring her to me! I can’t wait to help her!’. This girl is only just 20, but she knows her stuff and is adorably non-judgemental. I imagine she’d do queer-friendly hairstyles just as well. Sadly (for you, not for me!) she is in the UK.
    I hope you find someone equally open-minded soon. I can’t imagine how annoying it must be to have to fight that battle every time you need a haircut.

  21. After going through years of being guilted into “softening” my looks and even having people seriously not know what to do with my mixed hair [trying having someone outright say _What the Fuck?_ when my hair didn’t behave in the way they expected it to], I found Hector at Projet:

    No judgement on my requests for non-feminine cuts. He takes his time, is a bit quiet. Very polite and actually makes sure the cut works for you, not your expected gender presentation. The man has mowhawked me to boyish perfection without compromising.

    I’m very sorry you’re experiencing this. I’m very political about my hair [I was the kid who didn’t have pin-straight hair like all the other kids and I guess that made it okay to mock me for it] and will search high and low for someone who respects my desires.

    Good luck.

  22. I have to agree with having problems getting my hair cut right; I go for a very short women’s cut that I can fauxhawk a regular basis without using a whole tube of hair cement. Right now I have an amazing one in SC who just goes to town and does it perfectly in fifteen minutes or less. That said, my aunt was hairstylist for many years. They get a lot of flack from idiots coming in, asking for something they don’t completely understand, and then upon seeing the results, flip out. That’s a big part of why so many hairstylists spend ten minutes asking those annoying questions. I usually bring a reference photo to a new hairstylist so she knows that I know what I’m asking for. It cuts down on the “will she cuss me out when this is over” anxiety.

  23. Not in NYC, but my darling wife is getting quite the reputation among the young dykes in Clearwater who bring her photos of male stars as examples. I’m actually growing my hair out, and she cannot stand when it gets shaggy. She loves it when someone tells her “look, I’m genderqueer/ I dress like XYZ/ I want to look like a boy!” because it helps make sense.

    Find a good lesbian to cut your hair. (PS, your hair always looks nice in photos)

  24. Once again, I seem to be the odd one out on this process. I don’t know if this is just my usual golden-child luck that goes along with being listened to in meetings and treated respectfully at bus stops, or if I should tell y’all to come get your hair cut in Seattle. I’ve gone to 5 barbershops/salons in Seattle in the last 2 years, with no particular brand loyalty except “I won’t pay more than $25 + tip for a haircut”. I’ve always been on guard for the situation you describe.

    Every one of my stylists has been respectful and given me exactly the masculine haircut I wanted. The only exception was when we didn’t share vocabulary and a stylist buzzed the sides too short so I looked way too ROTC for my tastes, but that’s totally the opposite problem of the bullshit you’re describing.

    On Wednesday I walked into a new place with gendered prices ($25 women, $18 men, $10 buzz). With my giant knitted hat on and my little-girl face, I asked, “If I want you to take my three-months-shaggy standard men’s cut and replace it with a short enough standard men’s cut, will that cost me eighteen or twentyfive?”

    They said, “Eighteen.” They have my business.

    1. I’ve only spent a small amount of time in Seattle, but I think a lot of this is Seattle vs., say, NYC. NYC is expensive enough, and is fueled by explicit power differentials that the room for stuff that serves people with some privilege (i.e., money and time) who are also not part of the dominant paradigm, is small. As the city has become more Disneyfied, and less like the city I grew up in, this has become more and more the case. People forget, we’re what’s on TV as normal American city culture, and we have Wall Street. New York can be extraordinarily normative, and the orthodoxy even of non-normative communities (Brooklyn hipsters, I’m looking at you) can be equally high. But, the fact is I was also raised with these power differentials, and raised often to benefit from the, that I have no idea how to live anywhere else despite how much I don’t fit in here.

      1. I love me some West Coast hippy punks. I’d never try to rip your taproots out of New York, but I see now why the hair shops in your town would have some different, and surprisingly conservative, social constructs.

        The common cultural features of the places I go are that they are trying to look young and punk/hipster. The stylists are encouraged to have weird hair and piercings, and there’s random pop culture stuff torn out of magazines collaged on the walls. I don’t know if there are any corners of NYC culture that might harbor such a place, or if the trappings would mean something different there, but you might try the usual gentrified Bohemian suspects.

        1. I think I know exactly which place in Seattle you went to last; I was dedicated to there until the commute got to be too much. Now in the burbs, I have my best luck going to salons that mostly cater to Asian immigrant populations and showing them pictures of, say, David Beckham. They are surprised, but they’ll do it.

          And life is just so much more psychologically comfortable when my hair is short enough that I can wear lipstick without being an easy read.

            1. I’ve had good luck with Rudy’s (Fremont, U District, or Cap Hill), Hardware (Cap Hill), and this week the much more vanilla-looking Shear, which is a couple doors from Rudy’s in the U District.

  25. You know what I hate? Walking into a haircut place with my two-inch-long, unstyled hair, asking about the price of a trim, and being given the “women’s wash and style” price just because my voice is feminine.

    I bought a clipper. So long as I don’t need societally acceptable hair, I can buzz it down myself when it gets too annoying. But that still doesn’t address issues of style for the longer lengths.

  26. I hate to get my haircut for many of the same reasons. I finally found someone who cuts my hair and does no more. I have had had to go through a string of “stylists” for this. I have kept my hair shoulder length or longer and I start out each time saying I want something I can just wash and go (no blow drying or curling iron styling) . I’ve considered getting a shorter cut just for even more efficiency but it would mean that I would have to see someone more often to maintain it as my hair seems to grow fairly fast.

  27. I got tired of paying people to screw up my hair and/or act like my instructions were a big slice of WTF, so I’ve been trimming and dyeing my hair for decades at this point. However, I can see as that would be a bit more difficult if I was wanting short and perfectly styled rather than moppish and wildly-colored.

  28. Weirdly enough? I’m in WEST VIRGINIA, and my biggest problem with getting the right hairstyle is my issues with communication. I’ve finally learned to say “half an inch long on the back and sides, cut out around the ears, longer on top.” I don’t get the same haircut every time, but it’s always pretty close, and nobody tries to “soften” it. And I just bounce from stylist to stylist at the Regis hair salon. So… er, come to Morgantown?

  29. Walk into a barber shop.
    Ask, “do you know how to cut women’s hair?”
    If they say “NO,” then stay.

    When I cut my hair short back when I worked in the Chrysler Building, I didn’t have any extra time, so I literally did this in the basement of the CB, to a bunch of Italian Dudes who worked there. They didn’t want to do it at first, but after I assured them that it was what I wanted, they had a laugh over it and gave me boy haircut #3. All I had to do was promise I wouldn’t tell my (aged conservative male) co-workers who also got their haircuts there that they had been the ones to do it. Fair enough.

  30. Oh man, I went through all that two. Turns out there’s a chain out here, that trains all their stylists extensively before letting them loose on customers, and while some of them are better at doing the asymmetrical men’s cuts I want, they are all strictly required not to pull that gender policing heteronormative stuff, as a lot of their clientele are lesbian, gay, or trans. there is still often boring chit chat about bands or TV shows I have no interest in and celebrity gossip, but I can just hand them reference photos, give a little extra direction on sideburns and length, and I generally do get something close to what I want, and it’s never so far off I’m unhappy. They have a cutter next town over who is perfect, but it’s a lot of gas. Using the branch a couple blocks away, I have a one in three chance of very good, which for twenty dollars, seems like a decent bet when the worse case is mediocre and i know which one does that now.

  31. I don’t go to hair dressers anymore. One friend works in an “alternative” barber shop here in LA, another rents a chair in a salon, but both of them are freaks, and they never give me shit about wanting a proper mohawk, down to straight razoring the sides if there’s time. Nor do they give my girlfriend a hard time about her uber-short men’s style.

    I’d seriously recommend looking for a non-mainstream shop. In LA, it’s Shorty’s Barbershop for me, but there’s also Floyd’s ( – I’m amazed they don’t have a location in NYC yet. But there have to be alternative shops left – when I lived there, I went to a place around the corner from the Pyramid, off St. Marks I think, but who knows if they’re still around.

  32. I’ve had my best luck, more or less, with cheap shops: especially beauty schools. Beauty schools offer the advantage of stylists who are trained enough to know what they’re doing, but working under supervisors and new enough at the job to be very, very cautious of getting anything wrong. They may be confused by some requests (I walked in and asked for a haircut like Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies; my haircutter was mildly confused at the “asks for a boy cut” thing but adapted quickly, and couldn’t remember what the heck Luke Skywalker looked like so had to bring her supervisor over: her supervisor talked haircutter jargon at her for five minutes, a lightbulb went on and I got my hair cut quite well for under ten bucks, before tip) but they will do their damndest to follow them to the letter, because they really don’t want to screw up.

    While lately I’ve been going for more mixed looks, for a very short cut you can often call up standard men’s barbershops and ask “–got a problem with that?” The ones around here, at least, mostly answer “We sell a standard masculine haircut to anyone who pays.”

  33. Wow, it might be that that’s one thing NYC does worse than the boonies! As long as I don’t go to a spa, I have had good experiences. At the spa, I admit, I kept having to tell the lady, “No, SHORTER,” and it still was not short enough. But my current hair dresser really GETS that I am both feminine and masculine (and other things too) in different ways at different times, and one way that manifests is that my hair is to be just barely long enough that it doesn’t stand on end. I have “sleek” days and “spiky” days, and she makes sure that the cut will work for either. She could double her prices and I’d still go to her, but I don’t tell her that. :p

  34. I go to David’s Barbershop and Hairstyling in NYC. It is on 28th between 5th and Madison. It is basically a 2 person chair barbershop. David is a young guy and wonderful. The first time I walked in and said I wanted a haircut, his response was “You’ve come to the right place” and smiled. When I said I wanted it short on the sides, he simply asked if he could use clippers or if I would prefer scissors. He was quick, but also stopped to make sure I was happy with it and wanted anything changed. The cut was $20 and took 15 minutes. When I was done, he said to tell any friends to come and hoped to see me soon.

    Honestly it was better than any of the $60-$80 salons I have been too.

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