I have learned that the two places where I most naturally feel at home are the high mountain desert or Philadelphia. I’m not really in either of those places too regularly these days. I doubt my geography will change any time soon, or maybe ever, so I am open to adjustment.
I recently discovered a place that may help me do just that.
This discovery came right after I discovered, or realized, that my hair was slipping well past hip and right on into hippie. Time to hit the barber’s.
For the past eight or so years when in need of a trim I would walk down to the corner of the block and take a seat next to a grumpy old man at Ricco & Son’s Barbershop. Ricco was long since retired but son was still there. Sitting in their chair getting a straight razor drug down my neck is where I learned my picture was in the local paper. It was that kind of place. They knew everyone by name, they read the local paper, and they would trim your eyebrows without warning you first.
It’s a little too far to walk there now.
I know of another place nearby that is trying to be what Ricco & Son’s naturally is, but it is expensive. Men’s cuts should not be expensive.
Men’s cuts should also not be at Great Clips, or similar places. But in a land of strip malls and Olive Garden’s what choice is there?
I stumbled upon the Barbershop.
That’s the name of the place, the Barbershop.
I find it amazing that a place that has only been open a year or so could be the first to claim that simple name. Perhaps it speaks to the newness of the whole neighborhood.
It is in a poorly located strip mall, mostly big box distribution centers for neighbors and the front door faces the parking lot and not the street. I drive past the place every day and look over at the lawn sign that reads “barbershop. Now open.” So I gave them a shot.
I’m glad I did.
The place is new so what it lacks in generational patina it makes up for in cleanliness. It had no real artwork on the walls, I have ideas for that, but the angled mirrors stretching both sides of the shop work quite well. When I sat to wait my turn I realized Handel’s Water Music was playing on the sound system. I know it was Handel because that is about the only classical piece I recognize. It was maybe amateur hour playing choosing that for the background music, but it was exactly what I needed that day. I relaxed a little bit. It told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about that one barber who approaches you with a “Yo I can do you up with the flyest cut on the streets!”
I have nothing against fly street cuts, they just don’t match my normal work wear.
When it was my turn they listened to what I wanted. Not the head nodding that proceeds whatever cut the barber intended to give all along, but the kind of listening that included restating my request. I have learned the hard way that this isn’t universal at barbershops.
They did a good job. Better than passable. There was no eyebrow trim but there was a straight razor.
And there were beards.