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Stories from Behind the Chair - The Accidental High and Tight

How Bad Communication Resulted in One Client's Shearing


I was recently Facebooked (can that be used as a verb?) by Steve, an old client who had a funny first haircut with me about 15 years ago. When Steve came into the barbershop, he was a landscaper at the time. Very tan with a bushy head of brown hair. He sat down in my chair and said, "high and tight, please." This, in my mind, was a bit of a dramatic change so I asked him, "are you sure?" He replied that he was, so I picked up a pair of clippers, adjusted the blade to the shortest setting, and ran it straight up the side of his head, leaving a two inch wide path of skin as white as a porcelain sink. As if I'd stabbed him in the temple, Steve clutched the side of his head and exclaimed, "What the (expletive) are you doing? Are you nuts?"

Steve, it seems, didn't really know what a high and tight haircut was and I didn't take the time to explain it to him beforehand. Assuming he knew what he wanted, much to his surprise, I just started started mowing his hair off. Of course, I had no option but to finish the haircut. Steve left the barbershop a bit shell shocked and looking a little funny with shiny bright whitewalls contrasting his tanned face. He and I both learned a lesson that day... before you start get a haircut, make sure the barber and client are on the same page.

To that end, we've created a great gallery of Men's Haircuts A to Z and have a comprehensive Glossary of Men's Haircutting Terms to help both barbers and stylists and their clients communicate more effectively. If you're a client and have a particular style in mind, I always suggest printing a photo and taking it with you to show your haircutter what you're after. Those of us behind the chair should also keep some good style guides (or a computer with this website) handy to show clients style options and help them make the right choices. This will ensure every guy leaves happy and with the haircut they really wanted.

Steve actually did come back in for another haircut. He sat down and the first words out of his mouth were, "high and tight, please." He still wears a high and tight to this day.

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