A good 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 like (insert generic chain salon here). Most of the time, I’d walk out of these places with a crappy haircut. Sometimes, my haircut would 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. And it can be the difference between between a dopey-looking haircut and a great one. That’s why I took a big timeout from the work filled day and hit TRUMAN’s Gentlemen’s Groomers in NYC. For the most epic “grooming” experience EVER!
It’s also a great place to chew the fat with other men. When I went to hair stylists, I hardly ever talked to the woman who cut my hair. I’d chat about my family and theirs and that’s about it. The woman who cut my hair usually ended up chatting with the other women in the salon, while I sat there awkwardly.
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. So, if you are wanting to get your thumb on the pulse of civic life in your community, head over to a real barbershop.
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 like TRUMANS. I reclined in the plush old school barber chairs that had ash trays in the arm rests, a throw back to a time when people could smoke in public places. Then my shave commenced. The barber first wrapped a hot towel around my face
After that, several more hot towels were applied. By then, I was feeling nice and relaxed, on the verge of falling asleep relaxed. Next, the barber brushed a warm lather into my beard that smelled like tabacco mint and not like that crappy artificial goo you buy in a can. The barber then took a piece of razor sharp metal and scraped my beard off for the closest, best shave I’ve ever had. Allowing another man to hold a razor to your neck is a good way to remind yourself that you’re alive.
To finish it all off, I got another hot towel wrapped on my face along with a final face massage with a soothing vanishing cream. When I stepped out of the shop, I felt like a new man, ready to take on the world.
It’s also great activity to do with your 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 I go to the barber shop I just feel manlier. I don’t know what it is. 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. It’s a straightforward experience with none of the foofoo accouterments of the modern age. There are no waxings, facials, or highlights. Just great haircuts and great conversation.
When you walk out of TRUMAN’S with a sharp haircut, you can’t help but feel a bit of manly swagger creep into your step. So next time you spot that familiar red and white striped pole or TRUMAN’S bulldog, stop in. You’ll be glad you did.
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