Talking (Barber) Shop
Of all a man’s monthly appointments, the barber should be at or near the top of the list. And we say “barber” because we definitely do not mean salon. There’s a reason why we’ve seen a resurgence in traditional barbershop culture: they’re trained specifically in the tonsorial technicalities of masculine cuts. Plus: Who doesn’t love those swirly pole things?
Pledge your allegiance. When you find a barber, follow him (or her) to the ends of the earth. But how do you find one and when do you know? Referrals are the easiest. Ask a well-coiffed chum. And remember, you’re not looking for a conversationalist, you’re looking for an exceptional cut. Keepers always have a great memory. If they understand your hair by the second visit (i.e., growth patterns, the way it falls), and the cut is noticeably better than the first, you’re well on your way.
Show up early, expect a wait. On barbershop etiquette: a man’s haircut takes time. A man’s haircut is important. And therefore, a man should not be perceivably sore if their barber is behind schedule. Likewise: show up early. Respect their schedule.
Be overly descriptive. “Just a little off the top.” “Uh, clean me up.” “Whatever you want. Something simple.” These are things no barber wants to hear. Get personal. Tell ‘em what you don’t like and ask how they can fix it. Ask them if there’s a term for that. And do not be abashed by bringing a picture. Ten out of ten barbers say it really does help.
Tip well. Tip always. Goes without saying. Standard is $5. Anything more, they’ll remember you and take note.
Hair Products, Decoded
Are you a Dapper Dan Man or Team Fop? Hair products are many and their effects distinct. It’s easiest to evaluate them by two criteria: hold and shine. The former denotes strength, the latter, well, shininess. Here’s a quick guide:
Cream: Medium shine, medium hold. Good fur curly hair. We like Baxter of California Grooming Cream.
Gel: High shine, strong hold. Very ‘90s boy band. Very not recommended.
Paste or Putty: Low shine, medium hold. Port Products makes a good’n.
Pomade: High shine, medium hold. Try The Byrd.
Wax: Low shine, strong hold. Go with American Crew Fiber.
Spray: Best used to “set” or “finish” any of the products above.