The old-style traditional barber shop has become a difficult thing to find in today’s world of women’s salons and quick-clip joints. Many younger men have never experienced the pleasure of the old-style traditional barber shop. All they have experienced is going to a quick-clip shop where they wait for the next available woman who quickly cuts through their hair cosmetology style and they are out the door in 10 to 12 minutes. They rarely get the same person to cut their hair because they have to take the next available chair.
The old-style traditional barber shop is making a comeback. Real men are tired of going to a women’s salon and having to listen to the latest gossip. Even worse real men hate the smell of women’s perms and other stinky hair chemicals. Why should a gentleman be subjected to such torture? Why should a man have to be forced to smell finger nail polish and overwhelming hair sprays?
The old-style traditional barber shop should have absolutely no feminization of salons. There should be no waxings, facials, highlights or unpleasant smells of a perm. A gentleman should have the right to an all-man atmosphere where they encounter ‘Just great haircuts, shaves and great conversation!”
When I was a young man in my early teens, I was fortunate to go to a traditional men’s barber shop in Salt Lake City. I had never experienced anything like that before and I loved every visit to my barber. I remember times when I went to that traditional men’s barber shop and I really wasn’t that concerned about the haircut. I was always anxiously awaiting all the extras which I received from my barber.
It wasn’t a salon or a quick-clip shop at all. It was a traditional men’s barber shop for men. They treated me like I was a man even though I was probably only 13 when I started going there. It was decorated like a gentleman’s shop and not a salon where your mom dropped you off and then picked you up later. I really appreciated the manly traditional men’s barber shop and all the new services which they provided customers.
My favorite service after the haircut was the hot-lather straight-razor shave around my neck and ears. For some reason I loved the feeling of the hot lather and the razor going over my neck. It was pampering like I had never experienced before. Then my barber splashed on some fantastic after shave which was a really nice touch. I had never had that before either.
But then the final touch on that great haircut experience was an electric hand massager which he used to go over my neck, shoulders and scalp. I felt like I was the most important person in the world to receive such special treatment. That old-style traditional men’s barber shop was the only shop in my life which provided all those services. I never was able to find such a shop until the current resurgence of the traditional men’s barber shop.
Today the traditional men’s barber shop is making a comeback. Men are demanding it. The golden age for the traditional men’s barber shop was in the 1880s to the 1940s. In this time period the barber shop was an all-male gathering place and barbershops rivaled saloons in popularity. Visiting the traditional men’s barber shop was a weekly and sometimes a daily habit.
Getting a haircut or a shave was often secondary to socializing with friends and staying connected. The traditional men’s barber shops of that time were high-class settings with often stunning surroundings. Marble counters were lined with colorful glass-blown tonic bottles. The barber chairs were elaborately carved from oak and walnut, and fitted with fine leather upholstery. Everything from the shaving mugs to the advertising signs were rendered with an artistic flourish. The best shops even had crystal chandeliers hanging from fresco painted ceilings.
The traditional men’s barber shop of that time remained homey and inviting despite the level of decoration and luxury. Patrons enjoyed a manly aroma of cherry, wintergreen, apple and butter nut flavored pipe and tobacco smoke mixed with tonics, pomades, oils and talc powders. The moment a man stepped inside, he was enveloped in the warm and welcoming familiarity. He was immediately able to relax, and as soon as the hot lather hit his face, his cares would simply melt away.
The comeback of the traditional men’s barber shop today is simply the desire of real men to return to the barber shop experiences of the golden age. It is a completely different experience than going to quick-clip joints and women’s salons where you can smell chemicals and perfumes as well as enjoying the latest women’s gossip. Manly men want to get away from these unfortunate trends of recent decades and return to more traditional men’s surroundings.
Men want a return to an establishment where the professional licenses read ‘BARBER’ and not ‘cosmetologist.’ Men would rather smell hair tonics, after shaves and colognes, talc powder and other smells of a traditional men’s barber shop. And I can tell you from experience that men hate the nasty smell of women’s perms. The same goes for nail polish and other chemical smells. And women stylists are more likely to be having conversations with other women stylists and not speak to a man in their chair.
If you are a real man and haven’t had the unique pleasure to visit a traditional men’s barber shop recently, it will be well worth your time to search one out. You will forever more be grateful for the experience and you will wonder how you ever put up the salon scene for so long. Welcome back!