I LOVE the barber shop …
It is said to be a black man’s safe haven. A community’s stories, history, fables and folklore are often shared created and retained through the conversations in the barber shop.
When I had locs, I would still go by the barber shop to check in on my peoples and get the neighborhood news, even as the barbers watched me with their mouths watering and their hands excitedly sweating as they lusted at the idea of cutting my mane of glory!
But, even with all the socio-historic interactions … at the root of the experience is The Haircut! Can we talk about this?
NOW … I’ve had my hair cut by a few people in my life. Some cuts were better than others. Some experiences were better than others. Some cuts came from barbers. Some came from licensed hair technicians. Some from people who were not licensed.
My father cut my hair until I was a senior in high school. He knew me. He knew every dip, lump, curl, curve, wiggle and wave of my head and hair. He set the standard for my expectations on what a barber is supposed to know, pay attention to and respond to.
A few weeks ago, I observed a stylist that had an understanding of how serious a haircut is. Not only did she seem to know about the science of hair and the products that should be used on certain types of hair, but she also was able to read a person’s personality. She asked the right questions about their habits and lifestyle. She seemed earnestly interested in giving truly educated and professional feedback on her client’s hair.
Those of you that came to the Hairscapades Meet-Up in NJ met her. Shelli dug her so much that she went and let her cut and layer her hair (see it here). I know that you know how big of a deal that is, so I don’t have to tell you! But, what you may not know is that I was gonna get my hair cut too. You see … the barber shop is great for the social aspect, but the quality of the work being performed often isn’t up to my liking. I prefer for my barber to look at my hair. Touch my hair. Get to know it before they start cutting. Know where my textures change. Know where my natural parts are. Know where my hair and beard grows in different directions. Know why my hair is longer in certain spots (translation: know where I’m balding!).
Again, why am I saying all this?
I’m saying this because, as dudes who cut our own hair or get hair cuts from others, as long as we’re close to the look we’re trying to achieve, we’ll be ok. Many of us aren’t really trying to get extra fancy with it and get a salon treatment. And most of the time, we are attached to the history and feeling of community we share in the barber shop experience. But … those of us who have experienced the difference and received a good cut with the full salon process, will rarely admit to the fact that we like it.
I’m letting you know this because, I was hurt that I wasn’t able to get my hair cut when Shelli got hers done. But I haven’t given up and am looking forward to Tameeka cutting my hair.
And for real … you can treat your significant other to a nice shave and/or a haircut (even bald dudes like getting nice shaves sometimes! Set ’em up … tell ’em you want them to try to grow it out and that you’ll give them a special treat if they do! Then, give them the treat of a nice men’s salon experience at a spot like www.THEARTOFSHAVING.com …
or, even better, at a local salon for men near you. Maybe we can work with Tameeka to work out a little men’s spa day day thingy? (hint-hint!)
I’m just saying … you get your hair done every now and then right!?! You treat yourself to a plethora of products and accessories whenever you feel like it. So, don’t wait for a “holiday” to treat him to a haircut!