I went looking for Rosalinda this afternoon to give my hair and beard the favorite aunt treatment, but she doesn’t work on Tuesdays. I need to remember that. So I walked down the strip to see if Mr. James could fit me in. Mr. James is the guy who cuts Mr. Freshpants’ hair so well.

Mr James does not give haircuts; Mr. James cuts heads. Mr. James does not wear a nametag. Mr. James’ shop does not have “ambiance.” Mr James does not sell designer hair products. Mr. James cuts heads, that’s all

Mr. James looks like he stepped out of a Spike Lee movie. Mr. James listens to Jazz as he cuts. Mr. James likes to talk about basketball and the weather. Mr. James wears a baseball cap, two earrings in each ear, and four or five gold chains around his neck. And he was on my head for about thirty minutes this afternoon.

Mr. James is not gentle. He doesn’t come close to the favorite aunt style. He cuts you more like I imagine my old football coach might if his hands were more nimble and if he were painstakingly meticulous. Mr. James will give you a good haircut, but there’ll be a certain amount of pain involved. Mr. James knows you’re a man and you can take it.

Mr. James knows what will make you look good. He’s been cutting hair for over twenty years and he *knows*. He doesn’t ask what size guard you want your beard trimmed with. He doesn’t ask whether you want a round or square back. And of course you want hair gel.

Mr. James takes charge. He left me feeling high and tight, but a bit shorn. If there is a hair on my head above my collar, it’s because Mr. James allowed it to remain. My head feels disciplined.

If we could splice genes from him and Rosalinda, we’d have the perfect barber. The next best thing, I guess, is to have them cutting in shops a few doors down from each other. I’ll never go to Supercuts again.

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