What's this urge to shake when the trimmer gets near?
August 26, 2006 4:46 PM   Subscribe

A weird thing is starting to happen while getting a haircut. A strange urge to shake when the trimmer gets near.

It's the weirdest thing. I get a strange feeling at the core of my body that emanates out and causes me to shake right when I need to be still while the barber is coming at my sideburns/ears. It only lasts a second or two and is somewhat controllable. I don't know if it's me trying too hard to stay still or what but it's got me very very curious as to what it's all about.

Any barbers or hairdressers notice some of their clients doing this at all?
posted by prodevel to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think there's a French phrase that describes the chill down your spine-like phenomena that you're describing -- but it eludes me.
posted by geoff. at 5:16 PM on August 26, 2006

geoff., are you thinking of frisson?
posted by evariste at 5:31 PM on August 26, 2006

geoff, I'm not sure I know of such a French dicton. The closest that would come to my mind is $something à vous donner froid dans le dos?

Anyway, I don't shake when I get haircut, but maybe that is because I'm not thinking about anythin--- oh wait. Maybe I do actually.
posted by a007r at 7:04 PM on August 26, 2006

I am not a barber or hair dresser, but I have often felt the same sensation you are feeling. But you describe it as an urge to shake, whereas I feel more of a tickling in one of my sides near my hips. It would always happen whenever my hair dresser would bring the buzzing trimmers near my ear. I have also experienced the sensation when someone was whispering or breathing into my ear.

As a side note, this used to happen to me much more often as a kid. I would just get the most insane urge to squirm and pull away from the trimmer because of the tickle.

I have always wondered what was happening. Good question!
posted by Paul KC at 7:12 PM on August 26, 2006

I've had similar experiences, usually related to certain noises or sounds. In particular, I tend to get the same sensation when I suddenly stop a song on my mp3 player, but certain other noises - not necessarily delivered by headphones - cause the same effect. For me, it's usually accompanied by what feels like an odd 'fluttering' / 'trembling' sensation in my eardrums.
posted by planetthoughtful at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2006

maybe it has something to do with resonance/sympathetic vibration?
posted by blind.wombat at 7:36 PM on August 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

I had this with my old barber. I moved, and am more comfortable with my new barber. It rarely happens anymore. I think also the new guy uses a straight edge where as the old guy used an electric razor. Now the pressure is on not to move.
posted by maxpower at 9:12 PM on August 26, 2006

I once had a barber who was so sneaky with the trimmer that he was actually trimming me before I realized he'd started. Twice during one haircut, this caused me to jump -- I was waiting, and he didn't start, and he didn't start, and then I suddenly realized that he'd started right about when I thought he didn't start the first time and this shocked me. I'm sure he developed this technique to keep people from jumping, but it backfired magnificently in my case.
posted by kindall at 10:29 PM on August 26, 2006

I often get that when the trimmer gets close to my neck, right at the back. But yeah, I'd call it more of a shiver than an urge to jump or shake.

I get a similar feeling if something is about to touch me in between my eyebrows, for example if someone (stronger feeling if someone other than yourself does it) moves a pen slowly towards them.

It's odd. Good question.
posted by knapah at 5:46 AM on August 27, 2006

I get this. I audibly chuckled when I saw your question.

I don't get this when an MD is jabbing an otoscope in my ear. Only when clippers are buzzing around my ears.
posted by popechunk at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2006

I get a shiver/tickle, if that's what you're talking about, too. My cat used to be really good at purring in my ear in just such a way as to trigger the tickle, and I always have to jump or move somehow to make it go away. I find that the tickle doesn't happen unless my back is somehow exposed/vulnerable--some positions trigger it and some don't. never understood why.
posted by folara at 1:57 PM on August 27, 2006

This happens to me as well, but not just during haircuts. At some point in any situation I have to hold still, I'll have a little shake/shiver happen. I've believe it may be related to one of the six prescriptions I take on a daily basis.
posted by deborah at 4:53 PM on August 27, 2006

Makes me wonder how many of us also have RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) from time to time... I haven't for quite some time now *knocks on wood*
posted by prodevel at 9:57 AM on August 28, 2006

I do, prodevel. It's quite annoying when trying to fall asleep.
posted by deborah at 2:42 PM on August 29, 2006

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