Thursday, February 21, 2008

Barbershop Culture

Even though I grew up in the town I now live in, I still make discoveries. Today I ate lunch at this NY-style pizza joint that everyone has been raving about lately. I thought it was nasty.

But one of my more favorite discoveries recently has been a barbershop near my home. It has a bit of an off-putting name: "Unisex." Sounds like some kind of a retro, new-age hairstyle joint. But it's the total opposite: an old-style barbershop. Allow me tell you about this place...

When you walk in, unless you get there at just the right time, you're going to wait. And wait and wait. So far, I've had to sit there & wait an average of a half hour to get a haircut. But it is worth it. Obviously, these folks are good with hair -- I've never left the place with a bad haircut. But there is more than that. After the cut, they give you a hairwash. Then a blow-dry.

Then, there is this divine experience called a head massage. The hair artist slips this machine on their hand that vibrates violently, and then they run their hand across your head for about 3 minutes. I know it sounds a little risque when you put it into words; just trust me, it's fine. It looks like this. Friends, there are no words to describe how wonderful this head massage feels. I feel like I want to stick my tongue out like a dog being petted. It is heavenly. If Heaven is better than all we can ask or imagine, I just can't wait to taste the goodness that is better than this head massage.

OK, then, after the head massage, the barber gets some warm lather & spreads it on the back of your neck. And with an old-style razor, he/she shaves your neck so that it feels baby's-bottom smooth. Then, they tease your hair just right, put a little gel in, and you're good to go.

And how much does this royal treatment cost, you ask? SIX BUCKS! I know. It is outstanding!

But there's one other thing I appreciate about the experience: the long wait. This is not a "get in, get out, get on with your life" kind of place. This is a "slow down & smell the roses" kind of deal. And there are all kinds of folks there waiting for a haircut. It's a great way to be in the community, meet people, and be a positive representative for Christ. Lots of times, the folks are talking politics, so I always get to be "the preacher" in the conversation, which gives me the opportunity to show that not all believers are fundamentalist, compassionate-less know-it-all blow-hard's. It's fun to surprise people & subvert their expectations.

Anyway, it's nice to be forced to slow down from my normal frenetic pace. To sit. To listen. To chew the fat. To savor. To get a crock-pot-like haircut instead of a microwave-like trim. I like barbershop culture. It's almost like a little piece of the 1950's preserved right here in the 21st century. And sometimes a dose of that old way of life isn't so bad for us.


Matt said...

Hey, we have one of those head massagers and they are great! Missy's dad had an extra one and gave it to us...thanks pops!

III said...

I'm jealous

Mark said...

Sounds like a nice experience! I have a friend who's been telling me that I would really enjoy getting a pedicure. But so far, I just haven't been able to get myself to do it. I just envision myself going in, then having person at the counter say to me, "What you doing here? You man! You no come here!"

By the way, I followed your advice about trying some tea at Starbucks. I didn't get the black tea, but I tried the passion tea in some concoction where they mix it with lemonade, and it was incredible.

Lloyd said...

The barbershop I go to here in town is very much like that. (minus the head massage... and I won't lie I'm a little jealous). But everything else you get, including the old-school razor shave, which let me tell you, is a lesson in trust! Anyway I appreciate your comments about slowing down and whatnot... we are far too busy in this life and that which allows us to slow down and interact with folks is probably a good thing.

III said...

I don't really care for that passion lemonade tea thing. Sorta fruity & girly for my taste. Venti Sweetened Black Iced Tea, Mark. Almost all other iced teas won't be any good after you've had that. ;)

Anything that gets our noses away from the computer screens & out of our books from time to time is a good thing.