That headline may be slightly misleading. When I say real haircut I mean a professional haircut. Not the one my wife gave me in the kitchen in late April. Thursday morning was the first time in half a year I actually walked into a place where someone was licensed to cut hair, and not with the old dog grooming tools my wife used from working her way through college.

But it was a surreal experience I’m sure many of you have already had.

I was met with a big sign on the door (a door that is kept locked) telling you that you had to call the shop if you wanted to come in. I called. I had to wait in the parking lot for someone to come out with a digital forehead scanning thermometer. I was 97.6. Next, still in the parking lot, I was handed a clipboard with a form to fill out. So far this haircut appointment felt more like a doctor appointment.

The questions were things like have you had a fever in the last 14 days? Have you been in the presence of anyone who is known to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days? Have you recently traveled to any known hotspots? Mine were all no’s except the last question about whether you had any underlying conditions, and with one of them listed being type 1 diabetes I answered yes. For a moment I wondered if they would refuse me over that. They didn’t.

Then you had to still wait in the parking lot until they were ready for you at which point they came out to get you. I was brought straight to the stylist’s chair as no waiting area was available anymore. Yes I had to wear a mask and one thing that surprised me was they made me keep it on the whole time my hair was being cut. When they would do the hair around an ear you had to take off that ear loop and still hold the mask over your mouth and nose with your hand.

Each station was sectioned off with temporary walls to block anyone’s potentially harmful microdroplets. Plexiglass was placed around the reception desk. The woman cutting my hair (Brenda, shoutout, you’re awesome!) told me how they were required to disinfect the entire work area after every single customer now.

So much added to their work day. So much stress for all of us during this pandemic. Yet so worth it. I definitely felt slightly more normal again getting, as I said, a real haircut.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.