Saturday, July 24, 2010


1920 Barber Shop
Richardson, Texas (Wiki)
As much as I am a feminist, I am also a masculinist (not a real word). Genders combine nicely together however both need their own space. I think that is why they invented barber shops originally? It was a place for men to gather and discuss the near and far of world events. They felt cozy and relaxed in such conversations. The barber served as a conduit for oral news, heard previously, and passed along to the present crowd of men that were sitting in either the barber or waiting chairs.

Third Street Barber Shop -- Dansville, Kentucky
Main Business District -- 2010

Now the unisex salons are taking business away from the existing barber shops. Young men are the new customers of the salons. I guess, they like the dull drone of ladies discussing their hairstyles? Or perhaps they feel they are getting a better haircut. Not so! Cosmetologists are not trained in the art of barbering mens heads. It's true!

Third Street Barber Shop
Old barber pole exterior advertising sign

But have no fear men, although the barber shops are in decline, you still have a place to go if you happen to live in a town that still has one. Enjoy it for now.

Old painted name of barber shop on entrance glass door
Third Street Barber

Many states have certifications for cosmetologists but no longer for barbers. Why the change?

Third Street Barber Interior

So men -- enjoy the comradeship of your gender while you can.


  1. Of course you know that down the street from those traditional barber shops where were beauty shops -- well before they became "hair salons" or gave themselves cutezie names like Hair We Are and such. While the Mister went for his haircut, and in ritzier places, a shave, the Missus went to the beauty shop for a set or a trim or a perm. Each had their style of gossip of course, and their place in the town's social life.

  2. P.S.Barbara -- I only just read your excellent list of nonfiction books. Do you know that Linda Hogan also writes novels? I've read three, each set among a very different native American group [in Florida, Oklahoma, and Canada]. I think she's brilliant.

  3. June - Where I am from, we called what the women went to, "beauty parlors." Funny name I think. Barber shops today always seem to be tucked away in some tiny nook. What is fascinating to me is that many of the barber shops that I run across always seem to be in unusual small buildings.

    I am not a big fan of fiction, but based on your recommendation I will give Hogan's fiction a whirl. If they are written as well as, The Woman Who Watches Over The World, I surely will enjoy them. Thanks for the reflections and recommendation -- barbara

  4. You know, Barbara, I am guilty of robbing barbers of their clientele! I've been cutting MM's hair for 42 years! Of course, it doesn't look as good as a haircut from "downtown" and he sure doesn't get much gossip and news via his "barber!" It's not a job I really like, either, never having had much of an eye for what it's supposed to look like when I'm finished! So, I've thought perhaps if I did a bad enough job, and made it really, really awful, he would consider going to the barber...then again, probably not. I know one thing, though...if he ever did decide he needed a "real good haircut" he would not go to a "salon." The name alone with make him instantly bald! Great post! How I adore the topics you choose, girl!


  5. Wonderful post! I remember accompanying my grandfather to the barbershop. Like Elora, though, I have always cut my husband's hair -- and my boys' too back when they lived at home. And my husband cuts mine. It's a matter of economy plus a dislike of the time it takes to get to the barber or hairdresser. Admittedly, we miss some great gossip...

  6. Elora -- WOW you must be a professional barber -- after 42 years. I bet it looks real good! I have tried to cut mens hair and I find it difficult.

    I must admit I cut my own hair and have for about the last 18 years. A cosmetologist told me how to do it and from that day forward I have never had a professional haircut. Mathematically, I figure I have saved around 3000.00?

    Men can still get a decent haircut from a barber for $10.00 or so. Maybe not in New York City but in some small towns around the country. But men would not need a barber if they had a wife like you.

    Thanks for the nice comments -- barbara

  7. Vicki -- It's interesting that people cut their own hair. I know several women that cut their own hair and their cuts look great. I also knew an older man that cut his own hair.I started cutting my hair to save money. Of course if home cuts becomes a trend then not only will barber shops be in trouble but salons as well. Thanks for the comment --- barbara P. S. Your haircut looks wonderful!

  8. Barbara,

    I live in the NYC area and my husband and boys all go to our local barber shop to get their hair cut for $18 apiece. If they were to go to a local salon, it would cost upwards of $100. For that reason, the barber shop in my town is very popular and crowded, sometimes with eight guys at a time waiting to get their hair cut on a busy Saturday morning.

    Your are right about that many barber shops are found in unique buildings and locations. Ours is on the ground floor of streetside apartment building, filled with old time chairs with pictures on the walls from the 50's as if time stood still. The barbers are all in their 60's themselves and I wonder who if anyone will take their place when they are gone.

    Being cheap myself, and seeing the sign out front of my local barber shop proclaiming they do cuts for men, kids and women, I ventured inside and asked if I could have my hair cut. It was a slow time of day and all of the barbers looked at each other and pointed at the most experienced barber, saying he could do it. As I sat in the chair with curious men looking in my direction, I asked the barber when he last cut a woman's hair in his shop. "Oh", he said," I have cut some little girls hair before. Sometimes girls come in with their fathers and want their hair cut" he said. Oh, I thought, so I am the only woman brave enough in this town to have a barber cut her hair. That or the only woman cheap enough.

    Thanks for the great post!

  9. Hey Darcy, You are one brave woman to have your hair cut in a barber shop. But I think it would be interesting to do so. You would get an earful of the conversations. Can't believe the prices you quoted for a woman to get a haircut in the NYC area! Thanks for the informative comment Darcy -- barbara

  10. If I were a man, I would be at the barber shop for sure. I would love the simplicity of it, no 'fanciness'...just what it is.
    Have a great day.

  11. Love these old barber shops, they harbour so much secret mens business ;)
    Barbers were once surgeons, with their red and white striped pole representing blood and bandages.
    Yep, let the menfolk natter away about their operations all they like lol.

  12. Suz- I agree with you -- no need by men to have all that fanciness. My question is do women pay more for a hair cut because of the fanciness? Thanks for the comment -- barbara

  13. Jayne -- didn't realize that your country had the barber poles. They are becoming a collectible item here in the states. I wonder if the pole was an English invention? -- barbara

  14. I used to take my elderly Dad to get his hair cut at the local barber shop. It really did seem like entering an alien world. I would be happy to have a no-nonsense cut too.

  15. barefootheart -- the day I took the photos of the barbershop, the shop was under renovation. Luckily, I did not have to feel like I was entering an alien world. But, I agree with you, a barber gets you in and out with no nonsense unlike a salon where they try to make you feel like a princess and then sell you expensive products and then hand you a bill that will knock the socks off of you. -- barbara