Real Men Go to Barber Shops

My header on this post is strictly tongue in cheek. Really. But we’ve had some laughs at our house over an advertisement in our mailbox for a new “barber shop” down the street. The flyer reads:

“Opening in October is a unique experience for the men and boys in your family. We will be offering:

Hot towels

Hot lather straight edge shaves

The latest in clipper and scissors cuts.

(So far so good, but here’s the kicker.)

50″ Plasma TV in the waiting area.

19″ TV’s at each station.

Leather Club Chairs to relax in while waiting.

Free Beer, soda and gourmet coffee.

Internet hook up for your use, or a laptop provided for you.

“That’s a spa, not a barber shop!” hooted one son.

“Internet hookups, leather club chairs and gourmet coffee!” jeered my husband.

“Laptops!” William shrieked with laughter.

So where do my men think guys should go for haircuts? They all have a deep affection for a grubby, once white little building in our old neighborhood where two Mayberry-style barbers in their early 60’s cut hair. One is named Mike, the other Jim. National Geographics from as far back as 1960 sit around in dusty piles in a corner. There’s a shelf where they still sell some sort of hair tonic and the old cabinet TV has to be kicked occasionally to correct the picture. The walls are a faded pea green color, and there’s a fly strip up in the stained ceiling tiles. In other words, it’s a real man’s hangout.

The customers are sometimes boys from the neighborhood, but mostly retired men. Jim and Mike don’t do hip styles. They still give boy cuts the old-fashioned way, clippered up short on the sides with a little left on top to comb over. Sitting in that shop through all the years of haircuts for my four sons, I have often had the feeling of time standing still. It’s as though it wouldn’t matter who was in the White House, whether the economy was collapsing, or what the price of gas was–Jim and Mike would still be standing there, talking about the latest football scores and occasionally asking a customer to whack the TV because the picture had gone wonky. The National Geographic collection dates back to the Kennedy Administration, but Mike and Jim are still there, clipping away. The only thing that changes is that the magazine piles get deeper.

In a world where some men now consider facials, eyebrow tweezing, and hair highlighting to be an essential part of their grooming, it’s nice to head over to Mike and Jim’s and revisit a time when leather club chairs and 19″ personal TV’s were unheard of at the barber’s. More importantly, the guys won’t find a single hair-stylist mincing around in heels, asking how the cucumber facial is coming along. Besides, Mike and Jim only charge $12.00 a cut. The new barber shop/spa charges $18.00. After all, somebody has to pay for the snacks, the leather chairs, the laptops and the 50″ plasma TV in the waiting area!

8 thoughts on “Real Men Go to Barber Shops

  1. Thursday's Child says:

    We send the boys to a barber shop where the cuts are 1 KD (about $3.75 USD).

    Men and women NEVER go to the same salon but he’ll cut the Diva’s hair though. She’s only 4 and has him wrapped around her little finger. Besides we only cut her bangs and even up the rest of it.

    Except the time the Little Prince cut her hair for her…then it was Pokemon kids salon (2 KD) because the barber shop was closed.

    You’re right…who in their right mind needs to use a laptop while getting their hair done? How slow is the barber?

  2. Marilyn says:

    Wow. It’s been a long time since I paid attention to barber shops.

    My husband hasn’t stepped into a barber shop in almost 15 years. I cut his hair at home. I’m not saying I’m as good or as fast as a barber, but my husband is always able to present a neat, professional appearance as needed.

    He cuts my hair as well. 🙂

  3. Christina says:

    Sad to say, I am not at all surprised. In today’s society it seems like everyone needs to be entertained all the time. There is no time to slow down and just sit, literally! My husband has been shaving his head since before we met…he is balding, so that saves money!

  4. vcdechagn says:

    a nice 150.00 pair of clippers (paid for in haircut savings) and my best friend’s wife take care of my and my son’s hair (as well has her husband and sons as well).

    The best haircut is a nearly free one.

  5. Les says:

    Wow, you’re description of the barber shop reminds me of the one my grand dad, dad and brothers went to when I was young. I really miss the smell of the shaving lather and cologne they used there. It was a sweet, spicy scent that I’ve never smelt since. I miss the ‘debates’ and outbursts of laughter as well. It’s sad to see this sweet little corner of civility pass way for the frou frou.

  6. Manfred says:

    LOL! What a spoiled bunch we are in this country. I try to live below my means, within budget, to be able to give to the Lord’s work. I go to a small, grubby barber shop that mainly serves men and boys, for $4 for a normal haircut. Vietnamese woman, with one or two men cut the hair. One TV in the corner, old magazines on the table. Cheap plastic chairs for waiting. I always give them a tip and try, occasionally, to witness to them. They’re a cheerful bunch.

  7. Mrs. U says:

    I LOVED this post!!! You write so well! I felt like I was sitting in that same barbershop with you as I read your words! 🙂

    Mr. U and our son, Joshua, used to visit our local barbershop that sounds remarkably like the one you described. But, about 7 years ago, I started cutting their hair. It’s quicker, cheaper and they can get it done any day at any time. Oh, and I LOVE doing that for them!!

    Mrs. U

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