Growing up in a small town, my mother deferred to the local Beauty Salon to get my hair cut as the nearest Barber Shop was about 20 minutes away. She likely prefers to recall scenes from the Salon where I was propped up in a booster seat, sitting perfectly still and quiet, but I remember things differently. My memories of that Salon involve killing time by playing astronaut, which involved sticking my head into the large hair-drying units, as well as pretending the roaming mounds of hair on the ground were some sort of monster or pet. And then there was the day I was asked for an opinion about a new hair style that had been freshly applied to a mother of the bride who was on her way to the chapel. I responded with an innocent joke and proclaimed that I thought she looked like a shaggy dog. Needless to say my attempt at humor was lost on mother, the stylist and the remainder of the crowd at the Salon. After that experience, my mom welcomed the 20 minute drive to the Barber Shop, where I could read Sports Illustrated, listen to classic rock, and talk about dude-stuff with the male Barber.
I have many fond memories of the Barber Shops that I’ve frequented over the years. By and large, the good ones are all the same in that the decor is horribly dated, the coffee-fueled staff are mildly surly, while conversations range from topical to deeply philosophical issues. Since landing in Kingston, I’ve tried out a few different places and Barbers, which there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of. Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:
Which local Barber Shop do you prefer?
- Vecchio's (38%, 43 Votes)
- Dino's (32%, 37 Votes)
- Sir Johnnies (11%, 13 Votes)
- Generations (11%, 12 Votes)
- University (formerly Olympic) (8%, 9 Votes)
- Tom's (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 114
Barber Shops are institutions that have survived the test of time. If you drove down Princess Street 50 years ago, the colorful Barber Shop polls would be spinning just as proudly as they are today. Sadly, the same thing cannot be said for shoe and TV repair, lawn dart merchants and the local record store, who have all gone the way of the dinosaur. Unlike Salons who are constantly evolving with endless shelves of luxurious products, and pamper their clients with hand massages and mimosas, Barber Shops stick to a simple formula. Sure, some throw in pleasant add-ons such as a hot towel over the face, post-cut scalp massage, back of neck shave with a straight razor, but in the end it’s all about the simple $10 hair cut, no appointment necessary. A few local Barber’s such as Generations encourage lingering and minimize the pain of waiting your turn by offering a pool table in their shop. I have yet to find a Barber Shop with a working Street Fighter II arcade machine, but when I do, I will have found the perfect Barber Shop.
Which Barber Shop and Barber is the best in Kingston? Are local prices fair in comparison to other cities, and what is your stance on tipping your Barber? Share some love for your favorite Barber in the comments below.
Thanks to dave416 for today’s photo.