Believing in a better barbershop?

The Puddinette sent a pretty interesting link my way yesterday, one that I found needed sharing with just about everyone I’ve ever met.  I posted the thing on the facebooks and the twitters, and I emailed it to friends, family, and, for good measure, that girl that turned me down for prom in 11th grade. I considered taking out a big billboard ad or, at least, getting one of those sandwich board things to stand on a street corner, but decided it might not be financially prudent.

What link?  Oh, sorry.  This one:

If you don’t feel like reading that story right this second, the quick summary is that a couple, Rita and Jimmy, that has run a barbershop in Latonia (the southernmost neighborhood of Covington here in the NKY) for years plans to offer beer, wine, and sandwiches to go with your shave and a haircut later this year.

This has me giddy for two reasons:

1) I’ve been saying someone should do this for nearly as long as I’ve been drinking beer and getting haircuts (oddly, though, I find that the more years I’ve been drinking beer, the less hair I have to cut).  The combination of a bar—not a big, loud, crazy place, but a quiet, laid-back, saloon-type of affair—and a barbershop is almost too perfect together.  The image of a guy comfortably idling away his afternoon beneath a striped pole, waiting for his turn to have his ears lowered has been a piece of Americana since before Floyd went doddering about Mayberry on our parent’s and grandparent’s TVs.  And what could possibly be more fitting than for that fellow to have a frothy pint in one hand to go with the newspaper he’s reading in the other?

2) The barbershop in question is my barbershop.  Well, or, um, ahem, it used to be my barbershop, back before I got too busy to appreciate it.  In my foggy, mostly-forgotten bachelor days, I lived around the corner from it.  Jimmy cut my hair a day before my marriage.  And even as I matured, moved away, and started a family, I kept going back.  At some point, though, I realized that, on average, I had more tasks in any given day than would comfortably fit into its waking hours.  When that happened, it became impossible to lounge around happily, sports magazine in hand, until my turn came for the big chair.  That’s when I became an appointment guy; nowadays I find some random hair place I have little attachment to (but that has convenient appointments), walk in, get my trim, and get back out the door in 15 or 20 minutes. 

It’s quick, easy, and sterile.

Just like getting your taxes done, your car washed, or your pants hemmed*.

Not much like the romanticized Norman Rockwell version described above, is it?  Well, I miss that version of a trip to the barber.  If you ask me, life could use a little slowing down now and then.  The thing is, though, a haircut, is an occasional nuisance;  it doesn’t mean enough to me that I’ll wait for one.  That probably isn’t going to change, either, since  I give my hair roughly as much thought each day as my kids give income taxes. 

But if you put a bar in the place, and give me a a game on TV, a comfortable stool, and a good sandwich?

Well, in that case, I’d happily make time to sip on a pint or two waiting for my turn.  As long as they keep a few better beer options available, of course.  Hopefully, that’s a requirement for anyone building a better barbershop.

If they do, though, well, I’m betting I find excuses to get my hair trimmed a lot more often.

Care to join me?


*Does anyone still get pants hemmed anymore?

6 Replies to “Believing in a better barbershop?”

  1. There’s a barber shop in Portland, Oregon (several locations, actually) named Bishop’s where they have High Life while you wait and while you get your hair cut. Not the highest quality beer, but I wasn’t going to complain!

    Love this idea.

  2. New Invention! The Pint glass shower cap to keep the hair out of the beer.

    I cut my own hair quite often so there is always the opportunity for a better beer.

    I will say though that I’ve been to a real barber shop a couple of times and nothing beats a hot towel and a straight razored neck line.

  3. Gents,
    To begin, I couldn’t agree more. It’s a concept that was once part of the man’s day. Since the late 60’s, we’ve seen a decline in many of the traditional sartorial services. Patience, my friend, is a virtue. We are in the process of building just that right here in Cincinnati. Haberdashery meets speakeasy meets barbershop meets boutique. Stay tuned.

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