When is a barbershop not a barbershop? At what point does one refer to a company as a hair salon instead? And how come there are so many barbershops in small towns? Is there a connection between hair cutting and community?
Small Town Feel
In little towns, you see a lot of these shops offering limited services to a regular clientele. Customers visit every weekend or once every two weeks, sometimes with their sons and grandsons, looking only for a trim or another shave over their bald heads. Men could do this for themselves if all that’s needed is a razor; their wives, sisters, and mothers could do the job. The thing is, consumers are not always visiting for the service alone. People make a barber’s shop special.
One part of the United States where you see a lot of these little service providers is Delaware; a state made up of small cities and towns rather than huge urban centers. There are fewer divas, fashionistas, and affected individuals trying to create a highly individualized persona and more authentic men and women engaging in the community.
A barbershop is a bit like the community pub. It’s a place where men gather to talk about news, local events, argue about issues, and to chit chat without women around. Then again, a few barbers are, in fact, women, but some of them were raised in the barbershop at the sides of their fathers and uncles. The customers know these women, and they fit in like one of the guys.
Services in a Salon
Where is the cut-off between “Barbershop” and “Salon?” A few barbers offer special cuts and ornate shaves, but usually, those services are reserved for “hair salons” where customers read books about hair fashion in order to be inspired about the sorts of work they want done. Here, they will get hair color or a perm. More often than not, the majority of customers at a salon are women too.
A barbershop does not usually cater to females. Your barber might be skilled enough to provide an interesting cut, but his usual customer is looking for a simple trim in one of about half a dozen styles. He might want a shave. The cost is low. Several people wait on the bench right inside a shop, taking part in the chatter, so the time goes by quickly; maybe more quickly than they want it to. This could be a social stop rather than a commercial enterprise.
It’s possible that a Delaware barber will carry hair tonics, shampoos, and shaving gels. He might offer a selection of electric razors and combs. His magazine collection, free for anyone to read, is more likely to include hunting and fishing magazines than Vogue and Cosmopolitan, however, and materials on the walls (if there are any) show when the store is open and costs, perhaps black-and-white photos showing the shop 70 years in the past.
Choosing a Barber
What if you have moved to New Castle or Smyrna and are looking for your first Delaware barbershop; how does a person select one? It doesn’t have to be located very close since the state is smaller than some major cities. If you can make an appointment, that might encourage you to visit a store with great ratings located in the north when you live in the south. Often, you don’t know which barbershop is going to feel right until, upon arrival, the people and the place simply feel natural and comfortable. Price is a potential factor, especially in a home with several males. Older people and members of the military appreciate special rates for seniors and service personnel. A few places even give rebates to members of the police force, firemen, and paramedics. Fancy décor is not important; accessibility and quality are more in line with what men tend to look for.