The Barbershop is Disappearing! Should We Care?

Animation of a spinning barber pole

Image via Wikipedia

Just returned from a haircut, which is actually funny, because everyone around me jokes about how little hair I have left. Now they have something to really joke about because I look like I just joined the United Sates MarineĀ  Corps!

I had to locate a new barber as the old one finally closed up shop and it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m not the type of guy who wants what’s left of his hair “sculpted” in some ridiculously over-priced salon that blasts hip-hop rhythms while a guy named Chad tells me about his boyfriend Julio and their new Shih Tzu named Prince!

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I did find one of the last old-school guys around though; he had the spinning barber’s pole out front and the shop decor from the sixties complete with the brushes in mysterious blue liquid and the little transistor radio blasting phone-in talk shows. National Geographic from the 1980s sat in a pile on a metal table next to those old school chairs circa 1971.

He lived in the back of the building that housed his shop and you could hear his very Italian wife yammering on in Italian, of course. He closed the connecting door but her voice seemed to gain strength, as did the smell of pasta no doubt bubbling away in a nearby kitchen.

In other words, it was Heaven.

Why? Because while the modern world certainly has its advantages, (The web and WordPress, for example) there are qualities and professions that are rapidly fading from existence in a world that sorely needs them.

The old school barber may not be a hair styling Picasso like a guy named Chad but he’s friendly as Hell and he actually cares about every single customer that comes into his shop. He’s not just doing a job, he’s providing for his family and ending the day with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

The barber represents a simpler time when more people lived their lives according to a moral code. You just don’t see that as much in this day and age.

On a more personal note, someday I’m going to be gray-haired (They’ll be some left!) old bellman on the verge of being replaced by an automated cart that spouts out pre-recorded sayings like “How about all that flying car traffic, sir?” I wonder if anyone will remember the age I represent?

Until next time, this is The Hook, waxing nostalgic.

They are a cute breed, I just don't want to hear about them while I'm getting a haircut!

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
This entry was posted in Life, Postaweek2011, Social Commentary and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Barbershop is Disappearing! Should We Care?

  1. hi. thanks for liking my posts even though they are mostly ramblings about me. hahaha…

    but someday i will be able to write (again) with as much sense as you do. :)

    and, you are write. with the onslaught of technology certain profession are slowly disappearing. :(

  2. Bernie says:

    Thank you for the like. I must admit its rare I read other blogs to my husband. However, I knew he would enjoy this post. He was laughing about the “sculpting” He says the same thing about barber shops. They are a dying breed.

  3. echostains says:

    Hey thanks for liking my poem Hook – or should it be ‘The’ Hook! What a great blog you have here – glad I came across it :-) My Great Great Grandad was a barber and the whole profession fascinates me. Barbers poles can still be seen occasionally where I live. My Great relative kept having his smashed so he painted a wooden one and put that up….they set fire to it :-0

  4. Tom Huff says:

    Great barbershop post. lol! I did a post on a barbershop that I found here in Largo FL. Great little Barbershop. They had a Larger then life Santa Clause by the window as it was around Christmas time. I love old school barber shops!
    If your interested, it is at:

    http://tomhuff.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/the-haircut/

  5. melsar93 says:

    I completely agree with you sentiment. There are a few old school barber shops where I am, but I have to admit I usually go to one of the chains because they are more convenient. Maybe I’ll have to rethink that.

  6. mindslam says:

    Yea, haircuts have gotten crazy with the prices. I messed around a couple of years ago & did my hair myself with those electric clippers & have been doing it ever since. The only bad part is that the girl that cut my hair for years actually has her own shop now & I’m not supporting her. It really is easy to do & cheap now!

  7. Kim says:

    Sorry, but I just hve to tell you that this Shi-Tzu is just too adorable!

  8. michael hill says:

    Great post, Hook! I haven’t been to a real barbershop in I don’t know how long. For the last 15 years I have been buzzing my hair with a $10 clipper set bought in a Walgreens in Florida. Two years ago my girlfriend convinced me that I would be much more handsome, dashing and sexy if I grew it out and styled it a bit, so now it’s gassed back, nice and neat and I must admit looks and feels better than my old Buddhist monk look.

    Here in Squamish (you’ll have no doubt seen it in various movies masquerading as some small Alaska town) we have a traditional barbershop on the main drag downtown. I may go there just for the experience in the spring. But for now my multi-talented girlfriend trims it up.

    Shi Tzu’s are cute, but I wouldn’t have one.

  9. vedekdrew says:

    I miss the old fashioned barber shops. The smell of clipper oil, and old coffee. The buzz about neighbourhood info (gossip – aka male style). Stories about days gone by. Mustn’t forget the feel of the hot towel before a shave with a real razor. ahhh, the good ole days.

    The pooch is cute, but well…no. :-)

  10. Pingback: The Perils of Modern Technology, Thieving Seniors, and… a Hard Core Aquaman? « You've Been Hooked!

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