Situated an hour north of Philadelphia, our previous home was in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Doylestown had a lot going for it on the outskirts of a major US city, but none was more evident than the tremendous number of hair salons. There were the chains such as Fantastic Sams and Haircuttery, the appointment only places out of peoples’ homes, the generic hair salon, and then the drop $75 in an hour places. The $75 places typically had pink walls, pictures and short bios of each stylist in the front window, and pictures on the walls of glamorous women with styled, poofed, and sprayed hair.
Beyond the ridge lines of Pennsylvania and over the Catskill and Taconic Mountains of New York, the Green Mountains have no such surplus in stylists. There’s one barber in all of Southwest Vermont that I know of and salons of various shapes and sizes are sprinkled about the towns. Some are in the parlor of mobile homes; others look respectable, but utilize bad puns in their names (eg. E-Clipz). All in all, the Vermont places get the job done but without the sissy colored walls, the superfluous information about those who clip, and the brushed up photos on the walls. What Vermont does have in abundance are the small grocery stores. While the Doylestown style can be found in the salons, Vermont style can be found at the small grocery stores.
The fact is that everybody goes to the grocery store down the road for something or other. Whether to pick up some beer or wine (no hard liquor though), a gallon of milk, or a bag of chips, you can find the locals at Poulins, Cullinans, Stewarts’, or any other corner store. And while the people of D-town always seemed to have their hair curled, brushed, and sprayed in the right position, Vermonters come just as they are.
To be honest, I can’t even imagine what some of these people do for work based on how they look. Maybe they sell lumber and rent out tubes for the river during the summer. Maybe they do construction and odd jobs, or clean or baby sit. Whatever the case, appearance is not a big deal. I even noticed that while in D-town I rarely went out without a nice pair of pants on, casual brown shoes, and a nice shirt. My time in Vermont has seen the emergence of sneakers, sandals, flip flops, dirty old t-shirts, beat up jeans, you name it, as my around the town uniform.
Maybe folks are more laid back. Maybe the natural beauty around us prevents us from showing off. Maybe the distance from a major town keeps trends a bit further away. Whatever the case, I’ll be home from work at 5:30 and the old jeans will come out, the sneakers will emerge from the closet, and I’ll be sitting on my front porch, yep, just sittin’ on the porch.