Fixing My ‘Do and Getting My Fix at the Barber Shop

Since I started wearing my hair short in college, I have often gone to a barber shop to get haircuts. It can be quite troublesome trying to find a good salon when I move to a new place, but I can usually find a good black barber shop with ease. And, I KNOW somebody “up in there” can cut my hair. In fact, I went to the barber shop today to “fix my ‘do” and to “get my fix.”bbshop

I had to fix my hairdo (or my ‘do) because my TWA had gotten a little raggedy. I like a nice fade in the back, and the taper had definitely grown out. However, living in Iowa has made me appreciate my barber shop in some unexpected ways as well.

  1. The belonging. It’s like Cheers, “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.” ( I may be dating myself with the Cheers reference.) When I walk into the shop, the barbers know my name. They speak or nod their heads, giving me the silent “what’s up.”
  2. The politics. I usually get a good dose of politics when I’m there. They supported Pres. Obama in his re-election campaign, and they also support local candidates for office. I appreciate the historical continuity of their activism in the community.
  3. The events. Concerts, poetry slams, fish fries, etc. I would have never known that some of these events were taking place if I had not gone into the shop.
  4. The conversations. Dramatic sometimes, often comedic, I get a kick out of barber shop conversations. I love the street scholars who know everything about everything. The debates are epic–sports, politics, music, television. You name it; they’ve argued about it. Think of Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy playing the barbers in Coming to America. Think of the Ice Cube movie Barbershop.

I used to find these conversations infuriating, but now I hear the black oral tradition when I listen. I hear “toasts,” and urban bad men tales like “Stagger Lee,” and “the dozens” (or snaps). The barber shop is where I get my hair fixed and my cultural fix.

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3 thoughts on “Fixing My ‘Do and Getting My Fix at the Barber Shop

  1. Since, I cut all of my perm out, I do not go to the salon and I miss it terribly. It was my place of relaxation, and I appreciated every minute of getting away. In recent years, more salons have taken an interest in making their shop feel like a spa. I think that is a great move for them because it provides a spa opportunity for folks who otherwise could not afford the experience.

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