09 July 2012

The strip malls of America are littered with multiple franchise chains of hair cut shops and have relegated the humble father and son barber shop to a thing of legend and lore. But if you look carefully, you can still find a real all- American barber shop in most cities in America. Here’s some selection criteria to guide your search.

####whats in a name?

First, the name should be the first or last name of the owner: Billy’s barber shop, Rick’s Barber Shop, Smith’s cut and shave, Jimmy’s, Habeeb’s and sons… Whatever the nationality, you’re buying a person’s expertise not a ‘hair philosophy.’ And preferably a male’s name, although the best haircut I ever got was from a lesbian barber. But her name was Sam, somewhat proving my point yet again.

Second, it should never contain a hair or grooming pun: ‘From Hair On’, ‘The Mane Event’. Ick. Run, don’t walk, in the other direction. Third, never a misspelling of cut or clippers. ‘Cutz’, ‘Scizzors’… Ew. My second grade teacher of a mother would take a red pen and correct the signs and letterhead. If you can’t be trusted to spell you profession correctly, I don’t trust you with my hair. ##Interior Upon walking in the front door, it should be clear that this is a place where real men have been discussing women, religion and politics since the Reagan administration. There should be no ‘theme’ in the decor other than barbershop. If there’s a television, it should be on sports.

If there’s a radio, it should be news or country. Never Fox News and never right-wing talk radio. There should be nothing offensive or overly sales-y. It should not be clear what political party any of the barbers belong to. All political signs should be local: ‘Elect Charlie Fox, City Council’ ‘Vote yes on Referendum 41: our kids deserve better schools’. It should be clear they care about their city or state but not in a ‘beat you over the head with it’ sort of way. There should be no large photos of stylish people doing things outdoors. If there’s any advertising it should be for grooming products that men use.

####more soon