11/14/2007

A Post About Barbers...

As you've probably noticed, my posts lately have sucked donkey dick. I just haven't felt creative or inspired. I got a haircut yesterday, which prompted me to remember all the people who have cut my hair over the years. Except for a brief stint in high school when I went to a unisex salon-type place, I have gotten my hair cut by barbers. I'm not guaranteeing anything funny or even mildly amusing, but who knows?
  • The first guy my mom took us to was Vince on Spring Road. I remember he had a sort of bullfighting theme going on in his shop. I had to sit on a booster so I was up high enough. He usually had a Cubs game on. I seem to remember him being a bit of a bigot. He was the master of the straight bowl cut, like the one in my avatar. You got one sucker and one Bazooka when you were done.
  • While at University of Illinois, there was only one barber shop I could find - Terry's. For my fellow U of I alums, it was right next to R & R's Sports Bar. Terry had Playboys to look at while you waited. He was also the first one to shave my neck with a straight razor and hot shaving cream.
  • During summers, I had abandoned Vince and went to Charlie. He was old as dirt, but he cut my hair really short, which I liked. Plus, he was super-nice.
  • While studying abroad my junior year, I let my hair grow out. Charlie had given me a near buzz-cut before I left, so by April I was sufficiently shaggy. We were traveling in Italy (Florence) when I got up the guts to get a haircut. I found some little shop on some side street and asked if they spoke any English. They did enough for me to explain what I wanted. They were amazing. They didn't use electric clippers, but the speed with which they used their scissors was almost equal. One of the best haircuts I ever got.
  • Between college and moving to Michigan, I went to York Barbers (Charlie had died by this time). It was an talkative Italian guy and a quiet Greek guy. The Greek guy was the better of the two, but it was all luck as far as who you ended up with. Like, if the Italian guy was free, I would never have had the nerve to tell him, "It's OK, I'll wait for the other guy." Kind of like that one Seinfeld episode.
  • After I moved here I went to Louie. He was another old-school guy. He'd do the straight razor neck shave and he'd always use some sort of old man hair tonic when he was done. One day I went over to get a haircut and he was gone. I think he died.
  • Occasionally, if I knew I was going to be in Chicago, I'd wait and get my hair cut by Tony Schwartz. His shop was right by Paulina, Lincoln, and Roscoe. He was an old guy who had cut hair in Germany for lots of politicians and entertainers. He had even cut Irving Berlin's hair. I actually got my one and only full straight razor shave from him. It is an intense experience with the hot towels and face massage and everything. It feels like he's gonna cut your face off. Every guy should get one once in their lives.

15 comments:

vikkitikkitavi said...

Wow, your post reminds me of Billy Bob Thornton's barber character in the "The Man Who Wasn't There." His best performance, I think, and such an underrated movie.

mixednut said...

As far as the straight razor shave, I'm lumping that into "things to accomplish before I die". Like bungee jumping or skydiving.

'Bubbles' said...

My grandpa (dad's dad) was a barber. His shop was in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

When you are a little girl, you don't want your barber grandpa to cut your hair. I looked just like your avatar.

My grandpa's shop didn't look like a place any woman had ever been. Ever. Actually, by the time I ever saw it, he was so old, that if anyone was letting him cut their hair they had to be nuts!

There was some super cool stuff in the basement when they were dead and we had to clean it out. Boxes of straight razors that looked as old as forever, and the sharpest scissors ever - you could use them for weapons. I wonder what my mom did with all those scissors? Hmmmm. I'll have to 'casually' ask for a pair of scissors at my siblings' houses... hmmmm.

SkylersDad said...

Great post Chris, reminded me of a joke I posted over at my place...

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I miss those old time barber dudes.

Distributorcap said...

chris if you come to NY i will take you to Astor Place Barbers for the haircut of a lifetime.....

Hot Lemon said...

hmmm... I could do something w/this as my childhood barber was a diehard NRA member, had a fishtank the size of a waterbuffalo and was in the ground floor of a 2 story parking garage, so it was always pleasntly dark and almost eerie in there.

Cooper Green said...

The guy who has been cutting my hair for the past 20 or so years always finishes with the most amazing scalp massage. He does the usual massage thing with his fingertips then kind of whacks my head with backs of his knuckles, and finally squeezes my skull between my forehead and the back of my head. Tough to describe, but it's a wonderful thing.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

is this Tony Schwartz guy still around? I should go

Grant Miller said...

I visited Vince often. He was kind of a dick.

Dale said...

I'm pretty sure a couple of my barbers have been blind but that didn't stop them! I'm glad there's very little photographic evidence of their handiwork though.

Dave said...

Chris,
I enjoyed this post. It made me think about the places and people I sought out to cut my hair. After a quick inventory I realized that I habitually went to salons and had my hair cut by the prettiest girl I could find there.

Johnny Yen said...

The first barber I remember was Sol, an old Jewish who had a shop at Lawrence Avenue, near Central Park, in the Albany Park neighborhood, where my family lived when I was a kid.

I took Adam for his first non-grandma haircut when he was about 4. I let him watch me get a haircut; he freaked when my barber pulled out the straight-razor and trimmed, but calmed down when he found out could skip that part.

SkylersDad said...

You OK Chris? Not like you to go this long without a post!

Mnmom said...

Go to Decorah, Iowa and try Bob Smock's barber shop.