The Last Citadel of American Civility

When one moves to a new city or town who do they rely on to find the ins and the out’s of the city? Usually it is a relative. Normally it is a relative or friend of that relative, perhaps a relative that one has not gained a relationship with; doesn’t know all that well; the sort of person that one is not altogether comfortable with.

That is precisely the reason we want to honor and salute America’s Barber Shops! How can one tell if it is the right Shop? Look at the chairs; are they comfortable, worn-in, yet possess that “…I’m relatively new…” look to it?

There is something additional about the chairs, but we’ll address that portion later. But for the time being how else can a person know and realize that they have found the quintessential fortress? The one Shop in town that has out-lived all of the other shops?

In many cases several big cities cannot possibly get by on just one of the coveted mainstays and normally it goes by north, east, west, and south. But still…how does one know they’ve hit “the mother lode,” “the stronghold,” and “the place that has it all – from the simple shave, to the humming of clippers, the springing of shears, and yes of course, the stylist who does almost everything with a straight edge blade.

Some examples you ask? Films: In the film Rounder’s (Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovich) Damon and Norton go on a 28 hour gambling bender and all they want to do is to get to the Barber Shop for some hot towel wraps, a shave, and a cut.

In the genre of film it goes way deeper: Barber Shop (Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer) really quite pleasing about social, economic, and some things pleasantly racial. Much the same with Barber Shop 2: Back in Business (Ice Cube, Cedric…) much the same of the first offering only more of it.

Even the female side of the issue (Barber Shop) is revealed in films such as Beauty Shop (Queen Latifah, Mena Suvari) and who will ever forget the performances in Hairspray (Brittany Snow and John Travolta)?

And this much we will give credit where credit is due…The Godfather and just about every mob, organized crime, mafia film has featured the best of the best in the Barber Shop (Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and with compliments to Michael Douglas). The only thing that may be missing from your Barber Shop is perhaps the aroma of Ma’s apple pie drifting slowly beneath your nostrils.

The American Barber Shop is definitely the meeting place, or at other times in history, the old watering hole, but certainly the greatest attributes earned by every successful shop has got to be the selection of magazines, ESPN on television, the camaraderie among the regulars and definitely the “Maestro of Hair” himself, your barber.
If you ever want or need the inside scoop on any city – find the barber with the best track record, he/she is your strictest confidante, and don’t forget to tip them well.

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