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Doug Clark: Egad, now it’s barbers with a little off the top

What’s going on around here?

First it’s bikini baristas.

Now it’s bikini barbers.

Once again, the mayor’s right. Spokane really is the “City of Choice.”

To keep you abreast of this bosomy business boom, I drove to Sprague and Stone on Friday to investigate the new “Bikini Barbers” shop.

Weird. The outside of the place gave off a used-car-lot vibe, what with all the shiny red, white and blue tinsel waving in the breeze.

Even a tree was tinsel-wrapped.

The giant window signs got to the point, however. Silhouettes of curvaceous bikini-wearing babes faced Sprague traffic along with the words …

“Bikini Barbers.”

It seems like yesterday when the City Hall chambers were packed with protesters wanting the City Council to crack down on T&A caffeine capitalism.

Sanity prevailed and the “No” votes won the night. But zealot forces are still waging this pointless war in Spokane Valley and lately at the county level.

We reported just last week, in fact, that Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn “has received numerous emails from constituents asking the county to consider a minimal clothing law for servers in java stands …”

Based on her low profile in office so far, I find it rather refreshing that Commissioner O’Quinn is receiving any emails from constituents.

But the bigger question is what if this bikini trend is only the beginning?

Will hapless citizens soon be confronted daily by the sight of:

Bikini bus drivers.

Bikini burger flippers.

Bikini bread bakers.

Bikini …

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not all that wild about going to some auto shop, say, and having to watch a half-naked chick tighten my lug nuts.

To be honest, I couldn’t even muster the courage to get a Bikini Barbers haircut.

That was my original plan. But a few minutes after arriving it began to dawn on me that this place was like no barbershop I’d ever seen.

I’m used to striped barber poles. I’m used to open-view haircutting.

I’m used to a roomful of barber chairs with cheerful stylists working away.

Snip. Snip. Snip.

Bikini Barbers looks like it was designed from a Dilbert cartoon.

When I stepped through the front door here’s what I saw:

A drab room that had been subdivided by those high-walled cubicles that all office workers loathe.

I saw one young woman who was cutting someone’s hair. At least I saw her blonde hair, which bobbed above the top of one of the rear partitions.

Another customer, a beefy lineman-size guy, was parked in one of two overstuffed blue sofas that might’ve come out of a mobile home.

A couple of tacky girlie posters were pinned to two cubicle walls that faced the couches. A sign offered “cash only” haircuts for $15 and buzz cuts for $13.

At 2:11 p.m. I wrote the following in my notebook:

“Creep factor beginning to set in.”

Haircut over, the customer, another large lug, emerged from the cubicle maze with the golden-haired barber. The young woman wore a yellowish bikini top and yellow short-shorts.

Does that getup qualify as a bikini?

I don’t know. That’s one of those truth-in-advertising issues that only Mike Fagan can decide.

About this time owner Chris Bowen showed up.

He called me a gentleman, so I knew he wasn’t a reader.

He also told me that all communication with media members would have to be conducted via email.

Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

I’d already seen all I needed to see.

Investigation over. I exited Bikini Barbers with my hair and my self-respect still intact.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or