Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Location: Brazier's Barber Shop

As a service for their undoubtedly cultured readers, Esquire printed a tongue-in-cheek piece entitled "How to Talk with a Barber." Besides a sidebar listing various questions you can ask the barber to avoid the awkwardness that can sometimes creep over you as you sit in the barber chair ("If you had my hair, what would it look like?"), the magazine gave a couple examples of what is usually said to a barber and a couple counterweight examples of what should be said to combat the bad 'do brought on by miscommunication. For example, instead of saying simply "Just a trim, buddy" you're supposed to say "Take off a little length and give me a lot of loose, disheveled layers." And instead of asking how Nosferatu would have his hair done, you're supposed to tell the barber to cut it with "[a] lot texture, with choppy, short layers."

All of which is useful advice--unless you're a regular at Brazier's Barber Shop.

That's because the conversation in the Main Street shop is effortless; a small mental pouch of inane conversation-starters ("Whatever happened to mousse?") is not required. Nor would a Brazier Boy dare to refer to the three Matrons of the Razor as "buddy." And, of course, thanks to the shop's unique Roladex, even the most laconic of Westbrook's fine men (or girls looking for men's haircuts) can trust their specifications will be met with little negotiation.

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. The price of a haircut will go up to $12 starting tomorrow, so I got my $11 haircut (#2 all-over) on the last day it was available--mark this day in history. Anyway, the last time owner Dianne Brazier raised the price was October 1, 2005.

P.P.S. Read Christopher Benfey's essay "Close Shave: The Barber and the Meaning of Life," an excellent cultural history of barbers, particularly when they had easy access to an exposed jugular.

No comments: