Few things are as satisfying on a busy day as walking into a barbershop just as the only customer is getting out of the chair and arriving just before four others walk in.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. J. Hamilton Beamish says:

    Reminds me of Mark Twain’s “About Barbers”, though Twain was not so lucky.

  2. Argon says:

    A sentiment I echo wholeheartedly. Especially if it’s a Saturday.

  3. dcs says:

    We ought to pray for those poor benighted souls who don’t even have a barber in their area and are therefore deprived of a manly haircut.

  4. Tommy P. says:

    Funny you should post this today Father Z!

    Thinking barbershops had all but disappeared in the wake of unisex parlors in the malls, I’ve been getting my hair cut in what amounts to nothing less than a women’s beauty shop for the past twenty some-odd years.
    But just yesterday while shopping for my wife’s retirement-party gift, I noticed that I had parked in front of a real barber-shop! A real barber-shop,….with the red and blue striped pole out front!

    I’m tired of sitting in a chair getting my hair cut by a woman, while listening to other women talk about girly stuff, enduring the awful smell of perms and hair-dye!

    The barbershop I happened across yesterday may be twenty miles from the house, but having fond memories of the early 1960’s when you could go to the local barber and listen to the men talk about the Mets and Yankees and get one of only three haircuts for less than a buck; a “crew cut”, “flat-top” or a “regular”,…..I’m going there next time!

  5. Roland de Chanson says:

    Reminds me of the old barber and priest joke. First, the Latin, then a vernacular.

    Franciscanus quidam in tonstrinam init. Capillis tonsis, rogat quotam esse impensam. Tonsor dicit se numquam pecuniam a cleris sumere. Franciscanus gratias tonsori agit et postridie tonsor invenit panarium panibus plenum e pistrina Franciscanorum.

    Augustinianus quidam ab eodem tonsore tondetur. Tonsor dicit se numquam a cleris pecuniam sumere. Itaque, postridie tonsor accipit butticulam vini e cella vinaria Augustinianorum.

    Iesuitus quidam in eadem tonstrina tondetur. Iterum dicit tonsor se cleros gratis tondere. Postridie mane pervenientem in officinam tonsorem expectant XII Iesuiti. [RCR! Ridens clare rideo!]

    A Franciscan goes to a barber for a haircut. He asks what the charge is. The barber says he never charges the clergy. The Franciscan thanks the barber and the next day the barber finds a basket of bread from the Franciscans’ bakery.

    An Augustinian gets his hair cut by the same barber. The barber says he never charges the clergy. The next day the barber receives a bottle of wine from the Augustinians’ wine cellar.

    A Jesuit gets his haircut at the same shop. Again the barber says he never charges the clergy. The following day there are twelve Jesuits waiting for the barber when he gets to work.

  6. Jon says:


    Just got back from the barbershop myself this morning; the chair, the straight razor, Field & Stream magazine, and Clubman’s Bay Rum…ahhh! I even got a sucker when I was done.

    I’ve got to consult Aquinas. Will there be barbers in heaven?

  7. Frank H. says:

    Can’t quite make out the name of your barber shop in that photo, Father…

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    Thinking barbershops had all but disappeared

    Not out (or down) here in the heartland. Never, not a single time, have ever gotten my hair cut except in a real striped-pole barbershop with a Field & Stream magazine for real men to read if no one’s talking about what phoney baloney global warming is.

  9. jarhead462 says:

    There is nothing finer than the “Manly Arts”! My barber is an old-school Italian (as all of mine have been, save for the fine barbers I had in the military) who gives a “wet-shave” around the ears with a straight razor (the way God intended) and puts out a few bottles of cordials during the holidays. These are great things that we should pass on to our sons. Never mind all of the effeminate, SAL-on, metrosexual garbage we see everywhere. Following is a list of manly things that need to be preserved:

    Barbershops-(women need Beauty Parlors)
    Shaving Brushes
    Straight (or safety) razors – just as close or closer than my Fusion, for FAR less money.
    Tie-on BOW ties with formal wear(or anytime you need a tie)
    Shoe-shines (and ownership of a shoe-shine kit)
    Bar soap
    After -shave
    Knee-high socks (nobody wants to see your hairy legs under the trousers of your suit)
    Properly tailored trousers (pants should NOT bunch-up at your ankles!)
    and I could go on and on, but I will close with:

    Semper Fi!

  10. Jon says:


    I actually had a theological discussion while getting the ears lowered this morning. My barber asked if I’d heard that Obama was now being openly acknowledged as deity.

    My barber’s politics (of course) are identical to mine. Needless to say, the conversation got interesting.

  11. Banjo Pickin' Girl says:

    I go to a regular barber shop for my haircuts just cuz they give you what you want (shortish, shaved neck, off the ears) for cheaper. And they put up with my hunting tall tales too about The Big Scary Deer Thing! 8-)

    I gave up on my little limpwristed hairdresser when he tried to convince me I was being abused by the Church cuz I can’t be a priest. ha ha…

    Oh fun, my anti-spam word is “identity,” snicker.

  12. Romulus says:

    (pants should NOT bunch-up at your ankles!)

    They won’t if you have the bottoms finished with cuffs (thanks, Dad).

    I used to get my cheap haircuts at a classic shop where the old Archbishop went. Had to quit because there was only one chair and my Saturdays are precious to me. I found another place that doesn’t have quite the same old-time feel — even so, the clients are all male and there’s still a striped pole out front.

  13. Alessandro says:

    I just got back from the barber shop…a greek guy and an Italian

  14. Lucy says:

    I love it when a plan comes together.

  15. Fr. Anthony says:

    Here in Yvetot, France, I\’m lucky to have a traditional barber who cuts my hair, a good short back \’n\’ sides for 12 Euros (a lot cheaper than those \”limp-wristed\” hairdressers\’ parlours). Just the same system – first come, first served and no nonsense. They are rare, but they exist.

    My barber won the Normandy championship a couple of years ago. He starts with scissors, a bit with electric clippers and finishes off with a cut-throat razor – immaculate finish! Just like some of those old barbers I have known in Italy.

    Fr. Anthony

  16. Catholicman says:

    Growing up, I always was at one of those fancy type salons. Haircuts weren’t bad, but as I moved into my 20’s, I found that they were a little too un-manly. Since moving to the Twin Cities area, I’ve been going to a great barber over on Como Avenue. Dead animal heads and stuffed fish on the walls, sports magazines, tv for baseball, basketball or golf, and good conversation and jokes. What a great place! Just moved, so it’s 15 miles instead of walking around the corner but I’ll still be making my trek to Pete’s every 5-6 weeks!

  17. GOR says:

    My old barber Andy (RIP) had an old Irish Setter who sat in the barbershop all day. It was a beautiful dog, placid and friendly to everyone. You could tell he was old as a young Setter would never ‘set’ for very long. After Andy passed away, there being no real barbershops within easy reach, I frequented a unisex ‘salon’ for awhile (as did my wife).

    Finally some years ago I purchased a hair trimmer and now perform the function myself – a mean ‘high and tight’ flat-top. Of course it gets easier as time goes on – there being less and less to trim…:)

  18. John F. says:

    I look forward to the barber visits. I am lucky here in that I have had the same barber cut my hair since my first haircut 37 years ago. I actually fly back home to get my haircut rather than try to find a real barber when out of town. He also has great stories to tell. Bob is 84 and was a guard at Nuremberg trials after WWII.

  19. A Random Friar says:

    Classic Onion: “Area Man Just Wants Regular Haircut Without All the ‘Frou Frou'”

  20. Paul Q says:

    “Few things are as satisfying on a busy day as walking into a barbershop just as the only customer is getting out of the chair and arriving just before four others walk in.”

    I find it even more satisfying to never have to enter a barbershop as my dear cuts my hair (of course there’s very little left to trim – sigh).

    Paul, Edmonton

  21. Robert says:

    I’ve cut my own hair since I was in the Army band in ’75. I went to a salon once. After the woman offered to trim my perfectly normal eyebrows, I didn’t return!

    I did go to a real barber shop once, though, and the barber was a woman, trained in a real barber school. She did a good job, and the shop felt pretty much like a barber shop.

    And no offers to trim my eyebrows.

  22. Paul Q says:

    That was supposed to read “…my dear WIFE cuts my hair”


  23. TomB says:

    Travelling last week, and needing a haircut before attending a wedding, I found a gem of a barbershop in New England, and, like you Fr., I walked in just in front of everyone else. A real barbershop is wonderful to find!

  24. Thomas says:

    So what did you get, Father? Mohawk? Dreadlocks?

  25. Fr. Totton says:

    Wow! I thought I was all alone in lamenting the demise of the traditional barbershop. It is still common in smaller towns (though even there, they are a dying breed) and in the urban core – barbershops in suburbia, on the other hand, are non-existent. Even many traditional barber shops have given up the straight razor though. Many years ago I stumbled upon an old-fashioned barbershop where the barber still uses the razor. He charged 3.50 for a haircut. The rumor is that his ex-wife’s alimony is based on his income and he doesn’t need much to live! I don’t know whether that is true, but it sure was the least I had ever paid for a haircut – and a good one at that! Unfortunatley said barbershop is on the other end of the diocese and I don’t often have occasion to happen through there – maybe if I went down to Clear Creek more often…

  26. There is nothing to compare with the experience of getting a shave in an old-time barber shop.

    My barber owned the entire building and there was a bar next door,it was not uncommon to have a beer while getting a trim.

    The crude language in those old-time barber shops is the only thing I can do without.

  27. Fr. Daniel Haugan says:

    Fr. Z,
    So nice to see you go to Mike at the Grandview barber on the the corner of Grand and Fairview in St. Paul. The difference between a good and a bad hair cut from Mike is about two weeks to let it grow out. going to the grandview is like going to Floyd’s in Mayberry. I keep expecting Dept. Barny Fife to walk in.

  28. Roland de Chanson says:

    Fr. Z,

    Gaudeo quod ioco fructus es. Re vera, eum mihi narravit Iesuitus, qui me poscente eundem Latine iteravit.

    (Glad you liked the joke. It was actually told to me by a Jesuit. When I asked, he repeated it in Latin.)

    I’ll have to remember that RCR!

  29. RJSciurus says:

    My wife and I were married in Columbia, Missouri. She was living there and I lived 2-hours away. She thought I agreed on the location since it was convenient for her. In reality, it was because I knew that the best barber I’d ever had lived there and I would be able to get a “Hey Bill, I’m gettin’ married today!” haircut.

  30. RJSciurus: You old romantic!

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