Thursday, May 19, 2011
Making the cut.
Finding the right barber is like finding your soulmate; it usually happens when you least expect it. For me, it was a new shop in my neighborhood whose ambiance was a clear sign that attention to detail was a main focus.
First and foremost, cleanliness is a heavy indicator of the work you can expect from the man who'll be handling your head. Not that things should be surgical and pristine, but there should definitely be some effort taken into consideration.
For instance, regularly swept floors insures that no one will be slipping around with a pair of scissors in their hands. Likewise, windows that are cluttered with objects, trinkets or sun-faded posters of hairstyles from yester-year are good to avoid. A shop that doesn't have open windows that peer right in, won't be getting too much daylight coming through either. Tools that are properly maintained might not be as easily detectable, but spotting large glass cylinders of blue liquid called "barbicide" means that there is at least some effort to prevent the spread of bacteria from combs and scissors. When it comes to clippers, they should be layed out on display with cords knot-free and pushed off to the side. Less clutter means fewer chances for accidents.
Once you've given the shop a good glance, the next thing to consider is obviously, "can this guy cut hair?". Well, what does his hair look like? Obviously, not all guys can get the back of their heads as easily as a pro, but does he go to another shop for a line-up or does one if his other barbers hook him up? Merely taking stock of the people who work at a shop will say more than any referral. If the image of the staff isn't of importance, check out whose leaving. Customers walking out the door will be another great indication of handiwork. Especially if you've noticed the same person going in week after week.
But there really is nothing like trying it out for yourself. For those experiencing a bit of hesitation, try a style that isn't as much of a commitment. Personally, I go back and forth between really shaggy and total jarhead, so I don't mind a bit of experimentation. But if you're very accustomed to one particular look, ask for a slightly longer clipper attachment or a scissor cut. This way, you still look cleaned-up, but the style will grow out faster which means less commitment-time. Finding yourself content with the overall look will be a great indication that you should return for a shorter/longer lasting version.
Considering all the factors that make a good barber will lead to one of the best relationships you can hope for and the effort will be totaly worth it in the end. After all, a good barber is hard to find.