For the majority of my life ever since I can remember, I would go to one of those unisex salons to get my hair cut. I can recall clearly the ever-present smells of floral hair sprays and hair chemicals. First of all, I always felt like the odd ball in the whole place. I seemed to be the only guy swimming in the ocean of women and tanning beds. I would make my way in, quietly give my name to the girl behind the register, and sit in the awkward silence until my name was called by some chic. It was so awkward sitting in total silence while trying not to make eye contact with the woman cutting my hair. You know the feeling guys. Then to add to it, every time I went I never had the same stylist and I could never get a consistent haircut. I always ended up leaving disappointed.
Then I discovered the barbershop. My hair cutting days have never been the same. In my opinion every dapper gentleman should go to a barbershop. I will explain why, but first let me give you a brief back ground about the classic barbershop. Back in the 1880′s to the 1940′s was the prime timefor barbershops. The community barbershop was a weekly and sometimes daily stop for men. It just wasn’t about getting a haircut or straight razor shave. The local barbershop was their form of social media. It was a place for men to hang out, connect together, read the local news, relax, and share what was happening in their community. Is that what your unisex salon is like? I doubt it. These locations were upscale atmospheres. Imagine being surrounded by the smell of tonics, pipe tobacco, shave creams, and most importantly the smell of a man. Then sitting down in a stunningly carved chair with leather upholstery. This was just the start for the ambiance.
As years passed a new type of hairdresser emerged…the unisex salon. Places like “Famous Hair” became famous. This simple hybrid was a new avenue for hair that was available to both men and women. As these salons grew the barbershops slowly faded into the background until recently. Finally boys are becoming men once again and returning to their heritage of the barber. Every dapper gentleman has a barber. So you’re probably thinking “Hey thanks for the history lesson and short story, but why should I go to a barber shop?” I’m so glad you asked. Here is why.
It’s Manly. This is the number one reason why you need a barber. You need to keep your “man card.” Honestly, every time I go to the barbershop I feel manly and I leave feeling great. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but you’ll understand once you do. When you walk in it’s not just about hair, but you’re participating in a manly heritage and history. Plus it’s not a place to get a “petti,” a “manni,” or a facial. It’s a man’s place full of hair clippers, straight razors, shave creams, tonics, and friendship.
It’s A Barber. Barbers are trained to cut a man’s hair with clippers, a man’s tool. Barbers barely ever touch a pair of scissors. They are masters of the clippers. Cosmetologists are trained to use scissors. Their training is also focused on cutting women’s hair. Cosmetologists are experts in styling, coloring, perming, and foo-fu-ing. These are areas that no man on earth has need of or should engage in. Most people who work at salons are not trained barbers. They’re cosmetologists. There is a difference between the two.
It’s An Adventure. It doesn’t get any more adventurous than experiencing a straight razor shave. Many barbershops still give traditional straight razor shaves. There is nothing better than being reclined in an old school barber chair, having your face wrapped in a hot towel, and then allowing the barber to massage in some manly scented shave cream. After several more hot towels are applied to your face and you’re finally relaxed, the barber brushes on a warm lather onto your face. Next the barber takes a straight razor and in a skillful way shaves your face. It’s an adventurous and humbling experience. Does your salon do that? Finally another hot towel is wrapped around your face along with a final face massage with a soothing post shave cream.
It’s Communal. Honestly when I went to a salon for a hair cut it was all business and awkward. No one knew my name, it was hardly ever the same people, and I never talked to anyone, especially the woman who cut my hair. The barbershop is different. First my barber knows my name. He knows me personally because he took an interest in me. He just doesn’t know me, but he knows all of his clients. Barbers can tell when you’ve had a good day or bad day. It’s also where the community gathers. I have met men from all walks of life as well as their stories while sitting in the barbershop.
I will leave you with this gentlemen, barbershops are making a come back. As a man I cannot stress the value and enjoyment in going to a barber for your haircuts. Don’t miss out on this powerful experience.