The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Barbershop

Glenn's been all over the story, but both miss one all important aspect.


Or more precisely, Playboy

Which my barbershop has (along with Hustler and Penthouse and SI and Outside and The Sporting News) for his patrons to peruse.

The conversations good too (and my wife likes the haircut). Of course, I never stopped going to the barbershop.

Interestingly, and in a sign that other's lead the pack, its owrth pointing out that WAAAAYYYY back in early May, Xavier and Chris were talking barbers.

I go to one too (my 5th in 34 years), though I don't believe he has a spinning pole out front.

First baber was Mike's Baber Shop in Rockaway New Jersey. I was a kid and would go and get my hair cut by Rocky, an old Italian fellow. Loved it there, it was a small shop with a spinning barber pole. They ended up moving to a strip mall closer to Dover and we still went. Eventually, Rocky and the older guys all retired and Mike moved to the Rockaway Townsquare Mall. Turned it into a "Beauty Salon" and hired a bunch of big haired Jersey women and sterotypicalgay guys (not that there is anything wrong with that) to work there. I wouldn't send my kid there now, but my father still goes and I saw Mike a few years ago when I went with my Dad. He remembered me and introduced me to everyone in the place as one of his first ever customers. Good guy.

Eventually, we moved and I began to go to Carlos's Barber Shop in Boonton, NJ. More old Italian guys, spinning wheel. Lots of talk at this time about the Yankees, Giants, and local high school sports. When I started going to Carlos I started to get what he called that "Ivy Cut". Its basically the same cut I've been getting since - short (almost military crew cut length (a #1 or 2 on the buzz clips) along the sides and back and a bit longer on the top (done with scissors: long enough to brush, but thats about it). I liked Carlos's a lot and still stop by on occaision when visiting the family. He basically cut my hair throughout college.

In law school, there was an old guy with a single 10 x 15 room around the corner of the main store building in South Royalton, VT. He was from Fairlee (do you know him Jeff?). He was very much what Xavier has described - the spinning pole, the blue leather barber chair, a gun and old old deer head and some Korean war memorabilia on the wall. Cut my hair for three years. Don't know his name - never did get that but he was a fascinating guy to talk with.

At one point during law school, I worked for the Justice Department and there was a barber shop on H Street between 14 and 15th that i started going to - Anton's. He had the spinning pole and the guys. Sports and girls. I would go get my hair cut by Louie, a good guy and we would always talk about guns. Went there for 5 years or so when Anton decided to sell the place. Didn't sell it to Louie though, some woman took over and the first thing she did was get rid of the playboys. Then, she introduced an electronic cash register and started running the place like a Salon. I left, and it was only a matter of time before Louie and the others left.

Still, it left me barberless and I began to visit a family friend at Andre Chreky. Classic gay guy hair stylist. He'd charge me $25 because we are friends, but I felt bad. His normal rate for a guys cut was like $60 or something. Ouch!!!!

Then, one day, while walking to lunch at Loeb's I noticed Wall's Barbershop. its been around for 60 years or so, and is the classic african american babershop. The guy was out front sweeping the sidewalk and talked me into a hair cut. That was 2 years ago and I haven't looked back since (and don't have any doubt that they'll keep the playboys well stocked).


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