Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dolores hairstyling for men


   It's an enclave for high and pop culture, where guys can view oil paintings in the abstract expressionist mode, à la Jackson Pollock, and savor posters from old Humphrey Bogart movies. It's also a refuge for animal lovers. My haircut can by interrupted while she gives a biscuit to a dog who stopped by the salon to say hello. Then when Dolores finishes, and wheels me around to confront the mirror, my visage is framed by a wall covered with photos of her customers' pets. Felix and Zola are up there, snuggling with Jean.

    Dolores herself lives with Merlot, a fussy beast, whom she accommodates with the judicious use of cat treats. She's also an avid reader and likes jigsaw puzzles, and her books and partially completed puzzles add to the ambiance.

Still life with pet wall and mirror
Pet wall detail:
Beautiful woman with her two justly famous cats


    She can tell you the exact number of days since her husband passed of a heart attack in 2012. He had been ailing, but his death still came as a shock. She admits to getting angry at him for abandoning her, although she has girlfriends she goes out to lunch with regularly. Another romance someday? Possibly not.

What's a hair cutting salon
 without a little abstract
Bogart Tribute Wall
    But she was understanding last July when I told her a hike with a love interest had motivated me to come in. That, and it had also been five months since my last visit, and my unruly locks had started to look unprofessional, even by the lax standards for college lecturers. She assured me I'd soon cut a dashing figure on the trail, and set to work.  She trimmed the eyebrows and the ear hairs too, those flags of aging, and when she asked me to inspect her handiwork I cried "Magnifico!" and we laughed. There I was, the best looking me possible — mean anything? And there we were, both surviving spouses, both doing our best.

The view from across the lobby
     My coiffure once again looks quite unprofessional. No surprise, the season has changed twice since my last haircut. The Bay Area autumn was not as dramatic as Michigan's, but the leaves did turn color; I crunched through piles of them on the sidewalks. The brisk cold winter makes my bald spot tingle, makes me glad to have some place to go called home.

     That home is on a small island off the coast of Oakland. It has an attractive old art deco building at 1415 Broadway, only three blocks from Park and Central, the throbbing heart of Alameda café society. Going there is a different experience than going to a strip mall.  Salon Dolores, on the ground floor of the vaulted lobby, feels different than the Supercuts experience. One more dose of her care and acceptance, and I'll be truly ready to face 2017.

1415 Broadway in Alameda, salon on left of the entrance

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