When I started taking T, getting a barbershop shave was high on my list of exciting new life possibilities. Since I have many months to go before a beard really takes hold, I content myself with looking at pictures of excellent barbershop haircuts, examining the interiors of noveau-shops (like Temescal Alley in Oakland, Gornik and Drucker in LA, the Blind Barber in NYC and F.S.C. Barber in NYC and SF, and State Street Barbers in Boston and Chicago), and contemplating the appeal of a classic cut.
Barbershops make me think of unfussy yet considered aesthetics, tattoos, blue jeans, clean lines, and an afternoon in 1995 when an old guy treated me with tender respect–basically, they are a reminder of my most handsome, gentlemanly aspirations.
Also, in a world where “men’s spaces” are generally associated with sports, strip clubs, and drunks, it’s refreshing to think of more refined touchstones of masculinity enjoying a revival.
And why not? My not-wife Michael always complains that she wishes there was a barbershop for women (a million dollar idea if there ever was one), and that would surely be fantastic for her and other ladies with short hair who don’t want to pay $60 and drink cucumber water at a salon.
But I love being in a space where a tattooed guy or an old school, silent type will shave me with a straight razor without ever questioning my masculinity.
And barbers! The nouveau barbershop movement has created shops that are hipper than any salon and barbers in Backyard Bill.
Style icons like Nick Wooster wears all the markers of a barbershop fan: very trim, clean lines, and a haircut that needs weekly upkeep. At $20 a pop, you can bet he’s getting that cut at a barber. I bet he even buys his guy a Christmas present every year, because that’s the gentlemanly thing to do.
There’s so much wrong with the world, and so few places of refuge. Consider getting the guy-type in your life a shave and a haircut this holiday season, or treating yourself. Get in touch with your inner gentleman, and the world will thank you.