Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wanted: A Tough Sumbitch With a Razor

When I lived in Norman, I used to get my hair cut at Dale's Barbershop. Dale was one of a dying breed: an honest-to-God barber. Not a stylist. He never went to no fancy beautician's school. He never said, but I assume he learned to cut hair as Blackbeard's cabin boy, or more likely on a Marine transport bound for Guadalcanal. He was a tough salty old sumbitch, but he could cut hair like nobody's business. A haircut was eight bucks, and a shave was five more.

The shave was done with a straight razor, one of the kind that you can fold up to put in your pocket and then whip out to trim some offending stubble or sever someone's Achilles tendons. The first thing he'd do is get some hot shaving cream out of what looked and sounded like the love child of a Hoover and an espresso machine. He'd lean the chair way back so you were looking at the ceiling, slather hot shaving cream all of your face, and then pile hot wet towels on you so only your nose was showing. Then he'd leave you to cook for about 5 minutes. Afterwards, your facial hair was transmuted from something akin to copper wire into a soft fuzz like the down of unborn geese. I don't know what happened to the first round of shaving cream. Possibly it was absorbed by the hair or the towels or simply sublimated into molecules of warmth and satisfaction. Anyway, after 5 minutes the towels came off, another round of shaving cream went on, and then he would shave your face with a 5-inch piece of deadly sharp steel. After that, he'd slather your face again, with various arcane balms and salves, and then put on more hot towels. By the time you came out the other side, your face felt like it was carved out of butter.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I'm hoping against hope that somewhere around here (Berkeley, that is) one of Dale's old war buddies (preferably WWII) has set up shop and is providing real manly haircuts and straight-razor shaves to the public. I'm in the market. If you know anything, let me know.



Blogger Dan Dascalescu said...

If you're a DIYer, you might want to try

11:59 PM  

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