The Tweets
The Tweets

The little Barber Shop of memories

About a week ago I went to a Barber Shop for the first time in what must be close to twenty years. It wasn't even a conscious choice, more one of convenience. It turns out, a bigger city means longer waits for appointments and salons don't take walk-ins as happily.

For all of the new updates and changes that have occurred since the last time I visited the most "manly" of grooming establishments--online booking and Square payment through a phone being at the forefront--there was a palpable sense of coming home again. The smell of whatever Barber Shop specific cleaning products for example apparently cannot be improved on as that particular smell was the first thing to hit me as I walked in the door. Other than the too obvious attempt to make this a place for "men," I felt at home there. I had forgotten how much I missed the sounds--and sights--of scissors cutting at a rapid and seemingly random pace. As with most things nostalgia related, I was reminded of my dad and how we would go to the barber as a father/son bonding activity when I was younger. In fact, part of the reason I stopped going to this type of shop is that my--and my father's--longtime barber retired and the experience was such a positive one, I didn't want it soured with the uncertainty of a new person. That should give you a little insight into how my brain works.

Beyond the memories, the really interesting part about my visit was how it brought up all of these confusing gender identity questions in my head. I had forgotten just how distinct the gender lines can be, even in 2016. A Barber Shop is a place that men went to do "manly" things while the Hair Salon is where women went to do "ladylike" things. In my attempt to be more of a modern human being, I sort of stepped out of that bubble for a while and it's weird coming back to it after all of these years. The really confusing thing is just how welcoming it felt, and I can't quite figure out if it was the nostalgia factor, or if the experience triggered something else inside me, down in that place where rye and Frank Sinatra live.

Unfortunately, I got the one barber who didn't speak English, so I didn't get the full chat while they cut experience. This might warrant another visit to figure out the mystery. Only 4 more weeks until it's justified!

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