My Big Gay Haircut


The F train on Market Street. Constructed in the late '40s, these things are total deathtraps.

The F train on Market Street, near Castro. Constructed in the late ’40s, these things are total deathtraps. Love them!

I want to tell you about my Big Gay Haircut.

Being an indolent bastard separated from my loving wife by a continent, on weekends my natural inclination is to sleep right through them except for the specific minutes when football is on TV. To counter this, I try to invent some kind of adventure for myself that will get my fat ass out of bed at a reasonable hour on Saturday morning. This week I decided to visit the Castro.

The Castro is a neighborhood in San Francisco mostly known for having a shitload of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender folks in it. It was featured in the movie Milk, which is about a famous dude named “Harvey Milk,” the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the US. While on the SF Board of Supervisors Milk helped pass an important gay rights ordinance. He was then murdered by some psycho nutbag who I will not dignify by mentioning his name because fuck that guy.

Anyway, the Castro remains one of the largest gay communities in the US, so I thought I should check it out. At around 10am on Saturday, after securing my heterosexuality by oogling pictures of Alyson Hannigan on Google, I headed out the door. It was a quick ride down Powell Street on an antiquated deathtrap cable-car. Once on Market Street I hopped aboard the antiquated deathtrap electric F train and within mere moments I was in the Castro.

The famous Castro Theate, which I am assured is famous.

The famous Castro Theate, which I am assured is famous.

The neighborhood features wide streets and small, well-kept old Victorian-era houses. Castro Street (the main drag, so to speak) presents a bunch of small souvenir stores, coffee shops, restaurants and a surprising number of places that sell dude’s underpants, mostly teeny-tiny jockey shorts. Which is silly: boxers are totally more comfortable.

There were plenty of gay looking dude-couples ambling about doing gay stuff like shopping and drinking coffee. Also lesbians I suppose, though they could have been sisters or co-workers or pals or chance acquaintances or whatever. There were a lot of cute little dogs, but that’s not necessarily a gay thing: San Francisco is overrun with cute little dogs.

This is cool and all, but where are the ethnic restaurants?

This is cool and all, but where are the ethnic restaurants?

I walked around a bit, looking in shop windows and guarding my virtue. Except for the few doofy stores named things like “The Hand Job” (a nail salon) and “Sausage Factory” (an Italian restaurant), the place was pretty much like any other SF neighborhood, except cleaner and duller. Maybe all the exciting gay stuff doesn’t happen until later in the afternoon or whatever.

Eventually I ran across “Daddy’s,” a barber shop. Getting generally bored with the Castro and needing a haircut anyway, I asked the good-looking barber dude how much for a cut and a beard trim. He said $25. As this was five bucks cheaper than the heterosexual haircut I usually get in SoMa, I sat down.

As he wrapped me in the black shroud, the barber asked me how long, and I said “short,” which is what I always say. Then he asked me if I wanted a “one” or a “two” for my beard. I never know what the hell any of this means, but rather than admit my ignorance, I usually pick the higher number – in this case, “two.” He nodded and began snipping.

Uh. I got nothing.

Uh. I got nothing.

Having removed my glasses, I was unable to enjoy the many artistic photographs of naked nude dudes with great haircuts covering the walls. Instead I occupied myself by eavesdropping on the conversation at the next station, where the barber and his customer were discussing the difficulty of getting a good flattop anywhere in the city. It was acknowledged that Latin men had great flattops, sure, but fat lot of good that did you if you didn’t speak Spanish. You asked them where they got their hair cut, and they put up their hands and said, “no hablo ingles” or whatever. So the barber helpfully taught the patron how to say “Where did you get your haircut?” in Spanish, which I thought was pretty generous under the circumstances.

After that the discussion turned to whether there were any good gay bars in Santa Something-Or-Other down the coast (I forget where). The guy with a flattop said that most had been taken over by heteros, and the one remaining gay bar was frequented exclusively by men who were looking for a quick blowjob before going home to their wives. That’s when I started laughing so hard that the barber almost took my ear off.

Later the barber asked me if I wanted him to trim my eyebrows. I said “no,” but he looked so disappointed that I relented and let him hack away. When he finished, I thanked him, paid up, and ambled on out. It was a good haircut, which I shared via “selfie” on Facebook because everybody I’ve known since high school totally wants to see my new ‘do from the Castro.

This woman follows me everywhere. She whispers things to me. Secret things.

This woman follows me everywhere. She whispers things to me. Secret things.

By this time I was hungry, but I didn’t see any especially interesting-looking restaurants in the neighborhood, so I hopped back on the electric train and rolled down to the farmer’ market at the Ferry Building and bought some cheese.

It had been a good morning, and I had learned many important lessons: first, gay men are huge frickin’ gossips, and second, they’ll give you a nice haircut at reasonable prices. Also rainbow flags are unutterably ugly and I’m shocked that such an artistic community hasn’t come up with a less-hideous symbol. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the Castro seems like a nice enough neighborhood with nice people who happen to be maybe gay or whatever. I’d happily spend time there if they’d get some better ethnic restaurants.

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2 Responses to “My Big Gay Haircut”

  1. steffanyf Says:

    There is a Thai place on Castro in an old victorian, across the street from Hot Cookie and the Castro Theatre. You have to walk up some stairs to get there and it’s situated in what probably used to be a living room. They have an epic lunch special (or at least they did in 2009, which was probably the last time I was there). I want to say it was $6-7 for your choice of entree, rice, soup, salad, and a starter. Crazy.

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