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Friday, November 10, 2006
Pimp Clothes and Barber Shops
I'm currently visiting Raleigh, North Carolina. A charming city, really. One thing that Raleigh's downtown has that Atlanta does not have is older buildings downtown. You know the ones that I'm talking about. Very old, brick buildings that have been there what must be forever, and keep being repurposed for different applications. Sometimes someone will put a nice restaurant in the bottom floor. Maybe you'll see a law firm or an architecture firm occuping the space. These days, you may see a complete renovation, leaving a nice loft building in it's wake. These are all signs of a progressive, thriving, always-changing city. Right? Right.

Why is it, then, that in a three-block span I saw no less than three shops selling pimp clothes, and three barber/beauty shops. What's more, each one had at least one person milling about on the sidewalk out front. They could almost carry on conversations with the employees from their respective shop on the next block.

The pimp clothes are...classic. 3/4 length yellow suits with brown pinstripes paired with patent leather day-glo yellow shoes, in the perfect matching shade. In the next block I saw the same suit, only it was yellow pinstripes on a brown suit, with the same shoes. One shop had this shirt in the window with such a wild pattern that I swear I saw it scare away a couple of pigeons. They were coming in for a landing on the sidewalk, and got just level with the shirt, and veered off in a totally different direction. I saw this lady going back into one of the stores after just finishing a smoke break in an alley. She was having a conversation with a coworker, and she got so much nicotine out of that last puff that she was still exhaling smoke with each word even after walking like 40 feet and talking the whole time! Quite disturbing.

Each of the barber shops had an identical set of three dudes standing out front. There was a taller large guy that probably goes by the name "Big Mike", a shorter guy with bright white tennis shoes that looks like he's never done a day of honest work in his life, and an old guy that everyone calls "Doc."

The thing is, all of this was going on outside. On the sidewalk. There was very little work being done. No body trying to convince a guy that he wanted the yellow hat instead of the brown one (because everyone knows there's no such thing as too much yellow), and I guess all guys in Raleigh have fresh haircuts because the barbers were wearing white smocks, and they were spotless!

Anyway, that's my first impression of Raleigh, North Carolina - Pimp Clothes and Barber Shops.

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