Wednesday, August 20, 2014



I tend to get my haircut when I get so shaggy that my wife insists.   We are going to a playhouse this afternoon to see a production of Figaro.   Being wild and wooly, and wishing not to be too embarrassing to be out with, I got up this morning and went to the barbershop.  

Our barbershop is pretty generic – like the waiting room in a dentist office.  There is a coat rack on the wall when you enter, a half a dozen chairs along the wall, a table with magazines, the local rock station playing on the radio, three barbers chairs with three women barbers displaying pictures of their families on the counter in front of mirrors.

I can’t help thinking of the barbershop in Rolling Fork, Mississippi where I grew up during the 1950’s.

The barbershop in Rolling Fork was the original man cave.    There was no café in town so the barbershop was a place where older men came to hang out and young men came to get their hair cuts.  There were deer heads and mounted bass on the wall, along with one calendar with pictures of tractors and one with pictures of scantly clad young women.  There were two spittoons on floor for tobacco chewers and the atmosphere was always full of smoke.   There was one older, skinny, shriveled up barber with orange nicotine fingers that cut your hair with a cigarette hanging from his lips.   The counter where he kept his clippers was full of bottles of colorful hair products with exotic names like Lucky Tiger, Jerris, and Wild Root Cream Oil…   The talk in the barbershop was always man’s talk: stories from deer camp, hunting, fishing, farming or veiled comments about women. 

My grandmother would give me seventy-five cents at the beginning of school to go and get a haircut.  As a young boy with no father the barbershop was my contact with the society of men.   I always got a friendly ribbing when it would be my time in the chair, but it was part of the initiation to manhood. 

I know that era wasn’t good for everybody; but back then men had an identity; today the rolls between men and women are blurred and we live in a homogenized gender society.   That special camaraderie and primal identity that men had then doesn’t exist today…

Today the barbershop is a place to get your hair cuts.

I just saying

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. Maybe it's a Southern thing, the Floyd the Barber in Mayberry thing. I don't remember the barbershop as a place to hang out, then again very few of my haircuts in my youth were in a barbershop. Mostly it was go in, wait your turn, get a haircut with some chit-chat, pay and leave. Don't remember anyone staying after getting a haircut.

    1. It was the south, and the time and place. A bypass era.

  2. Car repair shops are different today than they were then, too.

  3. I have to admit, the last time I was in a barber shop was in 1972. I was an apprentice chef in a fancy restaurant in Toledo and I had shoulder length hair and had to stuff it up into my chef's toque. I was never a "hippy" and I hgad decided that I wanted short hair. I went to a barber shop in a mall and let told the dude what I wanted...he snipped away and after a half hour, voila! I looked in the mirror! The person looking back at me had nothing with the person looking into the mirror...maybe it was the brillcream? I'm not sure, because that's when I snapped! What the fuck did he do to my head? I was out of control, I refused to pay, needless to say, the party broke up....I have never been in a barber shop again. I cut my own hair, what's left of it.......

  4. btw, haircuts were always a traumatic thing for dad used to cut my hair and I was always afraid he was going to take off an ear.


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