Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Old Barber Shop

Remember these old barber chairs? Accompanied Other Half and Son for their haircuts today. Yup! The males in our house still go to the traditional barbers for their haircuts! A place which is slowly being replaced by the new and swanky hair salons which have gained so much popularity in the last decade or so. I wonder too whether establishments like the one in the picture still exist in the big cities. Many of the younger generation (and I supposed some older ones too) prefer to have their hair cut in the 'newer' establishments, most of which are unisex.
I remember in my younger days, Mum and Dad would tell bros that boys must go to the barbers where as hairdressers were for girls. Well, those lines have crossed today. I have friends who would not even dream of sending their sons to get their haircut from these traditional barber shops.
When we were really young, my first recollection of barbers was that of a barber on bicycle. There was this barber who would come by in the afternoons on his bicycle. I can't really remember how we would know he would be coming but it was quite amazing to watch him work. He would have this box which he carried around on his bicycle, and out of that box would appear a stool for his customers to sit. His bicycle would be one of those with a really big seat at the back.... like the ones that my grandfather used to cycle to tao rubber.
Haircutting was done al-fresco style. And it was a whole neighbourhood affair cos the boys would soon be waiting for their turns. Then when bros got bigger, the barber of the bicycle barber stopped coming. That was when Dad started bringing them to the Indian barbers. A haircut was only 50 sen back in those days! These days a haircut at the Indian barber is RM8 for adults and RM6 for school kids. Son still qualified, apparently for the student discount. Cheap and clean.
Which brings me to this point.... Unisex hairsalons are expensive. But I guess these days, guys want to do their hair too, colour it especially. Not sure whether guys are going for the other stuff like technical rebonding but I am sure some are trying the curls too. Places where to cut one's hair used to be clear cut last time. Guys go to the barber. Girls go to the hairdresser. In English we learned that too... What do we call guys who operate the hair salons today? Definitely not barber, right? I guess hairdressers have also assumed a unisex trait today... Evolution? And there is a new term - hair stylist, even though sometimes all they do is just cut hair.
As for me? I still prefer to go to the hairdresser for women only.... but that too is a dying business. 8(

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