Tom Aulisio is the co-owner and operator of City Cuts in Wilkes-Barre. He runs the styling salon, which is located in the Midtown Village, with his business partner, James Morgan. Aulisio, 48, is a native of Dalton and is a graduate of Bishop Hannan High School. He also studied at Empire Beauty School in Scranton. He lives in Kingston.
What first made you want to become a hair stylist? When I was finishing high school, my cousin owned a very successful shop in Old Forge, and it was something I thought about. And actually, I did not have good social skills when I was younger, and I thought it might help me come out of my shell a little bit and meet people, because you have to interact. I just thought I’d give it a try, before going on to college, and then I just stuck with it, because I liked it.
What do you enjoy about it the most? Conversations. I’ve had many, and varied. You can’t even begin to imagine the depth and the scope. About 99.9 percent of them are casual and fun, and occasionally they’re deeper. Occasionally, people have situations in their lives where they need help with, and they’re having some problems, and I have to say I am willing to and often offer my opinion and advice. And some people like that.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I used to cook a lot, but I’m getting away from that. Right now, in the back of my Jeep, are floor tiles, and I’m going to start cutting them out to tile my bathroom floor. That’s what I’m doing this Friday night. I’m going to cut them on Friday and lay them on Saturday.
Any hobbies? I don’t collect anything, but as you can see in the salon, I somehow got into plants. I don’t know if it’s the lighting, or what it is, but they do really, really well. I have them outside, and inside, and I have some as home as well, along with my fish. I’ve had tropical fish since I was 12 years old. I have a 45-gallon aquarium at home.
Favorite music? Because I’m a child of the ‘80s, I love ‘80s music, which means right now, I’m loving adult alternative. I’m loving The Mowgli’s, Neon Trees, Bleachers and Imagine Dragons. It’s interesting, because all of this alternative music that you’re hearing now has a complete ‘80s sound to it. If you listen to Bleachers, and you listen to “Rollercoaster,” you could put that in any John Hughes film. Listen to it, and you’ll go, “Oh my God, this was recorded in 1985.” But it’s new.
Favorite color? Black.
First car? A white 1972 Dodge Challenger, with racing slicks.
Favorite city? New Orleans. Every night was an amazing experience.
Favorite vacation spot? I’m a Caribbean person. I’ve done at least 10 to 12 of the islands.
Favorite thing about NEPA? I love the outdoors. I love the mountains, and the fall and winter are actually my favorite seasons. I like to be outside.
Favorite food? Italian.
All-time favorite movie? “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
All-time favorite TV show? “I’ve watched “Doctor Who” since I was a kid. I started watching it when Tom Baker was the fourth doctor. We are now up to the 12th doctor. It’s been on for 50 years.
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving.
Favorite quote or catch phrase? It’s something that I’ve said to many people, over many years, when we’re having discussions that might get a little animated: “You know me. I’m as subtle as a brick through a window.”
Favorite book or author? Tolkien, and “The Lord of The Rings” and “The Hobbit.”
Biggest pet peeve? “The way people drive in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I have an issue with the lack of turn signals. And, they can stand to use the accelerator a little bit more at certain times of the day. There’s a reason I get into work at 7 o’clock in the morning. It’s so I don’t have to deal with people on the bridge.
Guilty pleasure? I like to go shooting. I have a handgun and a carry permit, and I really like, when I’m stressed, to drive to the range and just shoot for a little while and relax.
Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends? Even though my politics lean to the left, I’m actually a member of the NRA. And as a kid, I hunted and fished a lot. I grew up in the country. My friends will say, ‘’You shot things?” And I say, “Yes, and I still eat deer meat.”
Do you have a defining moment in your life, or a most influential person? Over the years, my parents have helped guide me. My parents are older. My mother was 39 when I was born. They are members of what is called “The Greatest Generation.” Their values and their ideas on life are very different, and it’s taken me a long time to understand that. But that’s why I think I’m a little bit different from other people in my age group. I have more of throwback mindset to a different time in the country. You can go very wrong in life, especially in this business, where you encounter a lot of different people and a lot of different things, and having your parents keep you grounded – and still having them – is a very good thing. Especially for me.”
Alan K. Stout is a regular contributor to Weekender. In addition to the MEET feature, he also writes about the NEPA music scene.
MEET is a new feature in Weekender that profiles local people from throughout NEPA.