Real Barber Shop!

It’s such a pleasure to be at a REAL barber shop.

Behold, my old shop in St Paul, Grandview Barber Shop. I’ve been coming here (when in St Paul) for over 30 years!



Many priests and seminarians come here.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rob in Maine says:

    Father, for great barbershop info and tips, check out The Art of Manliness:

    Rob in Maine
    p.s. I don’t want no FOP… I’m a Dapper Dan man!

  2. Rob in Maine: Good old-fashioned barber shops are getting harder to find.

    Where I am hanging my hat right now there I haven’t yet found a good shop. These older guys… they are great. They do what you ask and they do it in half the time as the… whaddya call ’em? … stylists?

    When you move to a new area it is always a challenge to find a new doctor, auto-mechanic, dentist and … barber.

  3. JARay says:

    Do they do shaves?
    I remember the first time that I went to Seville (in Spain) and I said to myself “I must find the Barber of Seville and have him give me a shave”.
    I found him….or one of them…..and he gave me a shave. At that time it was part of the Spanish way of life for men to go to the Barber’s shop in the morning for a shave and then on for a coffee. Of course he used a real razor….what you call a straight razor and what I call a cut-throat razor. I have three myself and I do use them but I’m not too steady with one around my lips. I’m fine on my cheeks and my throat.

  4. JARay: I asked Mike about that this morning and, yes, he still does shaves.

    I asked when I saw him touch up the edge of his straight-razor on a whetstone and then leather strap.

    Once upon a time, in Rome, I had an old barber who did the entire haircut with a straight razor.

  5. mike cliffson says:

    Queritur : what is the “atmosphere ” at a traditional (man’s) barber’s?I don’t know about stateside barbershops,( I can’t imagine a British one ever breeding chorales, except somewhere like Wales where the only way to have stopped them singing was stomping them hard with the 20th century, which has been done,) while cant stand the poofy atmospher of unisex (ie ladies’ hairdressers who admit men) ones,yeah sure, the sex whose presence civilizes ours, but howsoever over-sporty or over-racy the chitchat, there’s times you can do without those who share gender with your womenfolk.
    Anyhow my idea of an American Barbershop comes from a muchread short (cum-detective) story wherin a smalltown barber laments the loss of the really nasty local practical joker( a bram bones in Satan’s service) in a masterly monologue. I remembered it was O’ H enry, wrong, in fact it’s Ring Lardner’s “Haircut”.Anyhow, is it faithful?
    Faithful to America, to American barbers, etc .or what?
    Short back and sides , Sir?

  6. mike cliffson: You usually find sports, fishing and car magazines and a couple newspapers for the men who are waiting. On the walls and shelves, some kitsch and tschotskes. I’ll bet most places have an old transistor radio tuned to an oldies station and/or a older model television with the volume turned down. Real barbers understand what “taper” means, as well as the word “trim” and “a little”.

  7. acardnal says:

    Oft’ times the transistor radio is tuned to the Twins’ game!

  8. Cathy says:

    I love the wallpaper! I found a new stylist that charges half what it used to cost to get a haircut, and I actually get a haircut I like. She probably makes more in an hour than those who cut hair in a spa-like setting. No frills, no nails, no pedicures, no massages. Cuts and styles hair!

  9. JohnW says:

    Real men go to barber shops. I’m a 32 year firefighter who has always went to a barber! They are harder and harder to fine.

  10. Matthew the Wayfarer says:

    I have 2 ‘barber shops within 5 miles of where I live. Strange as I live in SoCal where stylists abound. I have visited both and although neither is like my grandpa’s barber shop back in Akron, Ohio they are all right. One thing I noticed is they don’t have comic books for the kids or us adult kids. Now I just shave my own head.

  11. acardnal says:

    Speaking of magazines found in real barber shops, I remember “Argosy” and “True, A Man’s Magazine” being popular. Full of high adventure and sports stories. Now both are out of print.

  12. ray from mn says:

    I go to a barber school that is near me. I agree that barbers don’t know what “light trim” means. You’d think that they would love having me come in 15 times a year instead of 12. Maybe they should add “personal economics” to the barber school curricula.

    I knew a guy from Detroit in its halcyon days. The people in his office always got their hair trimmed once a week with the instructions being, “cut it so it looks like I will need another haircut next week.”

    Once I talked to a student who had gotten laid off from a large nationally known corporation in his small town. Think Spam. He was in his 40’s and didn’t want to move. But driving around town one day, he observed that “barbers always seem to have nice cars.” Thus he chose barber school and negotiated to replace one of the oldest barbers in his town who was ready to retire. He commuted 120 miles a day, each way, for the 9 months that barber schooling takes. He went through two cars.

    But he was committed to his town and his new career. And I’d bet he knows now what “light trim” means now.

  13. mike cliffson says:

    Sounds fine!
    And you look more civilized after, with it!

  14. APX says:

    When you move to a new area it is always a challenge to find a new […] barber.

    Stylist too! My stylist moved 3000 kms away, but she knew good stylists in the city to refer me to. Then I moved away to the big city. I first asked my friends for a referral, but they all go to people who work out of their basements and wouldn’t refer me. Every stylist I went to messed up my hair, so I quit getting my hair cut until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I finally gave in thinking they can’t all be bad and tried again. I asked for an experienced hairstylist who was competent at cutting hair correctly.


    She accidentally cut twelve inches off my hair (I went in for a trim), cut it uneven, didn’t blend the layers, and did not know how to cut angle bangs. I had to stop her while I still had bangs and tell her how to do it. She still couldn’t figure it out, so I told her to go find a stylist who knew how. Well, only 3/4 of my bangs were actually cut, which I didn’t notice until I got home and the wind messed up my hair.

    Vanity always has been an issue for me, and I was pretty attached to my hair (I was blessed with great hair). Since I was trying to get over it, I didn’t lose it on her. I just told her it was just hair and it would grow back, but when I got home and realized how much she butchered it, I cried for hours…until I realized two things: 1) It was still long enough, that if I straightened it, I could put it in a ponytail and hide most of it. 2) It was way less maintenance and didn’t take 45 minutes to blow dry anymore.

  15. Matt R says:

    The Art of Manliness article cited an article by Melissa Harris Perry; for once she is talking about something interesting. Ernie Chambers, the most liberal member of the Nebraska Legislature is a law-school educated, African-American barber in Omaha. He was featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary A Time for Burning .

    I go to a real barbershop now. It feels wonderful. The best part is when he uses the straight razor on my sideburns. And, he doesn’t fetter about how complicated my haircut is unlike virtually every ‘stylist.’ And actually, I would like to learn how to use a straight razor. I will have to find one in Steubenville!

    Also, Charles Schultz’s father was a barber in St. Paul…Peanuts is my favorite cartoon; Calvin and Hobbes is very funny, but I never got into it at a young age.

  16. Matt R says:

    Oh, a few more thoughts: barbershops are great community places. Flannery O’Connor features a story set in a barbershop in one of her first stories. One gentleman in the barbershop last week graduated from St. Xavier in 1944; he is good friends with my neighbor who graduated the year before him. Two or three generations of men knew the other men, other absent customers, and everyone’s families. The close-knit nature of Louisville can be overwhelming, but it is a good thing too. We need more of this, in our families, our parishes, and with our friends and neighbors!

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    Rob in Maine, boy do I love that movie! Oh Brother Where Art Thou is so totally captivating! All of it, everything, except where the toad is stomped. So many fantastic lines to quote…
    Well ain’t this place a geographical oddity…two weeks from everywhere!
    I nicked the census man! There’s a good boy.
    Geez, can’t I count on you boys for anything?
    Oh no Son, you didn’t gamble your everlastin’ soul!

    Too excellent.
    And I love the look of any shop that retains the old timey flavor many of us remember so fondly. Walking in is like having a time machine and it feels tremendous. One reason I watch I Love Lucy pretty much every night before I go to sleep. The set looks so familiar. So does that Barber Shop.

  18. JARay says:

    It is impossible to find a Barber’s shop in Australia, where I live, that will do shaves. There are perhaps a couple of reasons for this. One is “Health and Safety” rules. The razor would now have to be sterilised as are all instruments used by surgeons in hospitals and that was never the case in the Barbershops of old. The advent of electric razors has driven the practice of wet shaves very much into the sidelines. I, for one, do not like electric razors and I have kept up the practice of wet shaves over many years. And, as I said above, I still have my straight razors and whetstone and strop although I do resort to disposable razors around my mouth and chin because my hand is not as steady as it was.

  19. robtbrown says:

    The last time I was in a barbershop was in the Summer of 1970 at Ft Leonard Wood, Mo. While waiting, sitting on the floor with me was a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, Roger Nelson. Good guy. Very funny. With him was someone who worked in the office and was then a nobody. Later, he became GM of the Royals then of the Braves–John Schuerholz.

  20. Facta Non Verba says:

    Does Twins catcher Joe Mauer go there too?

  21. JonPatrick says:

    We still have a couple of real barber shops in Gardner Mass, the one I go to (City Barber Shop) still uses the straight razor to trim the sideburns, and it’s the kind of place where they know everyone that comes in. Hunting/Fishing, car magazines, and newspapers on the table, Only problem is I’m moving to Maine so hope I can find a new place.

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