Barbershop Etiquette, Part 2…

Some more words of wisdom. Part 2. I mean no harm, so don’t get offended, alright?

This one is a classic. And for most barbers, it will guarantee an in-audible sigh. Maybe more. “I want a haircut, but I don’t want it to look like I got a haircut.” In all fairness, we know what you mean, but we just don’t like to hear it, I guess. Probably because that is where we get a lot of satisfaction is seeing a transformation of some kind and to not ask for it kind of feels deflating. And it is really hard. And people who ask us to “make it look like I did’nt get a haircut” are usually really really picky. So it doesn’t make any sense. Don’t cut it, but cut it perfectly. . .

I might as well add this one, on a similar topic. “Im trying to grow my hair out, but…” You should just stop there, and make room for someone else. If you want to grow your hair, then don’t cut it. It is hard, I know. You should know when you begin the adventure down the road of long hairedness , that it takes most of a year, or more, and don’t come see your barber. Or complain to anyone.

Pictures are great.  Really, bring in a reference photo if you have one. Or even show us an old picture of yourself with the haircut you want. If you feel like you are bad at communicating what you want, which we all struggle with I promise (barbers too), then just pull out your camera phone and show your barber a pic. It’s cool I promise. But my word of warning is this- if you have hair like Richard Simmons, then don’t show them a picture picture of David Beckham and say, “I want my hair to look like this”. Unless your barber is Harry Potter, in that case, ask for whatever you want.

If you want to go shorter, tell us sooner than later. Its ok to tell us if something is not how you like it, just let us know sometime before the very end. We don’t like doing five haircuts on the same person. And it is possible to do this without being a jerk, too. Don’t make the cook want to spit on your burger.

I once had a customer ask for a ‘high and tight’ but that he wanted me to use shears, not clippers. Its a ridiculous request for many reasons. But he said it was because when his hair gets cut with clippers instead of shears, his hair grows back faster. Literally. He said that his hair grows back thicker AND faster. A biological miracle. If that were the case, barbers would be doing buzz cuts on balding men using clippers 24 hours a day.

Basically, don’t ask your barber to get carpal tunnel using shears, when clippers will do the job just fine. Sometimes shears (scissors) are the correct tool, longer hair for example, but let your barber be the judge. Barbers don’t get paid by the hour. If you want your barber to take their time, don’t slow him down and make them only use scissors, just tell a good long story and be pleasant instead. Don’t ask your roofer to use a hammer for a ‘better finish’, when a nail gun will do. Push mowers don’t cut your grass better than riding lawn mowers. Go ahead and ask your wife to hand wash your clothes instead of using a washing machine if you want to, but she won’t be happy. In the amazon they sometimes use piranha jaws to do haircuts, and its not because they don’t like clippers, I guarantee it. Technology guys – keep embracing it.

Believe me though, I know that scissor cuts can look great. But not all the time, and not exclusively. There is a time and place, and hopefully you have chosen a barber that knows when that is. Be happy with the finished product, or unhappy, but don’t worry about what tools are used. Just find some one you trust to cut your hair, and be loyal.

If you are very particular about how your haircut is done, its ok, because in the end you are the boss. We know that. Tell us what you want. Everything I have said about etiquette is just to make your visit to the shop more pleasant for everyone, but it can be ignored, because you are the paying customer. We value your business. And you are always right. Sometimes.


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