A barber knows how to cut a man’s hair. If you’re like most men these days, you’re probably going to some unisex chain salon. Most of the time, you walk out of these places with a bad haircut. Sometimes, your haircut may look decent for the first week or so, but then it would grow out into a horrible bowl.
The problem is that many of the people who work at salons are not trained barbers. They’re cosmetologists. The difference between the two can spell the difference between a dopey-looking haircut and a great one.
A barber is trained to cut with clippers, the main tool in cutting a man’s hair. Cosmetologists, on the other hand, are trained to use scissors. Their training is also geared towards catering to women’s hair. They become experts in styling, coloring, and perming — things a man has no need for. That’s why when you ask the cute stylist to use the number 2 on the clippers, you walk away with a bad haircut. She’s probably not well versed in how to use them. But a barber can employ the clippers with finesse.
It’s a great place to chew the fat with other men. Barbers are interesting guys with interesting stories to tell. On visits to the barber shop, you may meet a retired Army Ranger colonel, a musician, or simply a man who is the third generation in his family to take up the profession. Each having fascinating stories to share. Guys read the newspaper and comment on current events. In between the banter, jokes are told and laughs are had. And everyone is involved: the barbers, the customers getting their haircut, and the customers waiting to get their haircut. Adding to the enjoyment is that a variety of men take part in the conversation; young, old, and middle-aged join in the mix.
I think there’s a good argument that barbershops are among America’s last civic forums. Where do people go today just to talk with others in the community? Coffee shops? Every time I go to a coffee shop, people are at their own tables minding their own business. The only other place that I can think of is a bar, but bars are now co-ed instead of being bastions of manliness.
You can get a great shave. Many barbershops still give traditional single-blade razor shaves. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the pleasures of a great shave at a barber.
It’s a great activity to do with father or son. Men need traditions that can help bond them together. Visiting the barbershop with your father or son is a great tradition to begin in your family. Many men have been going to the same barber all their life and have introduced their sons to the same chair and the same barber. What a great way to bond with the men in your life!
You’ll feel manlier. Every time you go to the barber shop you just feel manlier. Perhaps it’s the combination of the smell of hair tonics and the all-man atmosphere. But more so, it’s the awareness of the tradition of barbershops. Barbershops are places of continuity; they don’t change with the shifts in culture. The places and barbers look the same as they did when your dad got his hair cut. Just great haircuts and great conversation.