It sounds like every man’s perfect fantasy. Take something boring – like getting a haircut – and turn it into something desirable by adding the magic ingredients of an ice cold beer (or Gatorade or soda) as soon as you arrive, your own remote control to your own flat screen TV, and gorgeous girl stylists ready to make you look and feel like a million dollars. That is apart from getting the best possible men hair style to sport among their peers.
In the fashionable Westside of Los Angeles, Major League Trim has given men the ideal excuse for regular haircuts, manicures, massages and hot-towel shaves. Opened about a year and a half ago by three guys who had had enough of women getting the breaks, MLT has a blue and red design, looks like a basketball court (complete with miniature scoreboard), and is dedicated to those two male obsessions: sports and lookin’ good.
From the paintings of Muhammad Ali, the Rolling Stones and a Bullitt-era Steve McQueen, shirts signed by Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson (yours for $900) and the 7-foot bobble-head statue of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, MLT is made for men who are man enough to need more than a bowl and a pair of scissors to get through life.
There are no dog-eared top-shelf magazines to read while you wait here; we’re talking Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Muscle Fitness;, Spin and Vibe as well as expensive shaving kits, hip flasks, travel chess and manicure sets on sale alongside the usual designer gels, shampoos and pomades.
On the day your intrepid Irish Herald reporter paid a visit he was welcomed by two lovely Irish-American lasses, Colleen Alise (nee Fagan) 23, and Rin (short for Erin) McDaniel, 20.
As the Rin’s “nippers” cut away the dead skin from my nails during my first ever manicure, Colleen showed me the shamrock tattoos on her feet, talked about her fascination with sharks, and revealed that men are just as picky as women about their looks – often more so:
“I think every guy secretly is concerned about that stuff, but in L.A. they maybe feel a little more free to express it.”
Born and raised in Southern California, Colleen knew that she wanted to cut hair since she was 14 years old, and has been working the scissors for six years:
“I love everything about it, and meeting new people is fun because each day is different from the last.”
Although she has yet to visit Ireland, she and her sister Shannon have strong connections to the Emerald Isle. Her great-grandfather immigrated to the US, and her grandmother Patricia lived in Southern California most of her life:
“We don’t go in for celebrating lots of holidays in my family, but I’m a real stickler for St. Patrick’s Day – I turn my mum’s house into a pub.”
Rin was born in Whittier and grew up in Downey. Her father was Irish, and she also has vivid memories of her grandmother, who passed away a year ago:
“She used to answer the phone by saying “top of the morning to ya!” Seriously. And she loved her corned beef and cabbage”. She first started training for her cosmetology license during High School, when she initially thought it would just be something fun to do:
“I didn’t realize how much I would love it, and now there isn’t anything else I’d rather do. I think men are relieved to have a place (MLT) that they feel completely comfortable in to get their haircut.”
Unsurprisingly, the clientele is overwhelmingly young men – lawyers, businessmen, students and even some television celebrities (they both remained tight-lipped on exactly who) – and an older guy came in too while I was having my nails soaked in oil, buffed, and filed.
As we talked, Rin and Colleen mentioned that they have been looking for a new Irish bar to drink at since Dublin’s on Sunset Boulevard closed, and that neither of them are interested in being a singer/actress/model/whatever – there are plenty of those in this town already. They saw cosmetology more as a way to travel the world, even (hopefully) making a trip to Ireland one day.
As for the future, MLT has plans to expand into the Valley area north of Hollywood. They are part of a small but growing trend of themed salons dedicated to men’s grooming and the trend of metrosexuality. Apparently a metrosexual man looks at his nails by spreading them out in front of him, whereas other men scrunch the fingers up like a gorilla for a good look.
I used to fall into the latter category, but no longer. After the manicure was over and I had drained my bottle of beer, I had to admit that my nails did look clean and tidy, and even had a bit of that Hollywood sparkle!
Before I left I asked Colleen if guys ever come in just to ogle or chat up the girls:
“If they want to stare at girls, they can go to “Hooters”. Men are hungry a lot more than they need haircuts, and if we don’t do a good job then they won’t come back. So many places cater to women that it’s about time the tables were turned!”
Apparently all girls love a man who takes care of himself, and I was beginning to see that getting a haircut was going to be a lot more enjoyable from now on….