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,
where I grew up during the 1950’s. Mississippi
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