Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I think I may have written something similar to this elsewhere in another column, but a monthly visit to Leo’s barbershop on Main Street, Bridgehampton, is not merely about getting a haircut. From the beginnings of conversation, either with Leo himself or another waiting customer, to the hot foam, towel and neck shave at the end of the procedure, this is a time to listen and learn about everything that is going on in our local community. For apart from the fact that there are very few people here that he does not know (and most local men have sat in his chair at some point over the past sixteen years of his business) Leo is also an authority on most things. This morning the subject was potatoes, followed by the ridiculous one course $19 Prix Fix at Bobby Van’s restaurant. Apparently most people have to order more, or else leave hungry.

It seems that in some places the price of Yukon Gold exceeds one dollar per potato. Surely not, I challenged! Leo fixed his eye on me, all the while running a cut-throat razor along the side of my ear, and explained in a heavy Russian accent that at $4 a pound in his local market, and you get about four potatoes in a pound, that means … Well even I could get that math. Unbelievable, and a crazy world, we both agreed as he went into the small back room to puff briefly on a small cigar and return with a handful of hot shaving foam. A crazy world indeed.

Leo shortly goes to Florida for a few weeks’ warmth. I will miss his counsel and conversations in early March, but upon his return we will no doubt solve another global issue, after, of course, he asks me about where I got such a bad hair cut when he was away.

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