Barbers

Posted: March 5, 2011 in Life in the UK

Finding a good barber can be one of the most difficult and annoying tasks one has to take up when moving to a new place, let alone a new country! Growing up I used to go to an older gentleman, retired navy guy. So I’ve always been most comfortable trusting my hair to older men (hmmm, that sounds kind of creepy….oh well). Of course there have been times when I’ve had to go to others just because I really needed a haircut and was not close enough to home to get to my old barber. Usually this would turn out poorly. No offense to the women out there, but I have rarely had a good haircut from a female (granted its only sample size of 3). So you can imagine how much I dreaded trying to find a barber now that I’ve moved to England. All the assumptions you make about how things work, even the most minute ones, tend to be thrown out the window here.

When I first moved to the UK I was in dire need of a haircut as my wife and I were in a mad rush over the previous few weeks trying to get all our shit together just to move out of the country. So I just went to the first place I found on my local high street that had the word “barber” out front. There was a nice young lady who cut my hair…unfortunately, it was the worst haircut of my life (and I’m really not altogether that picky about how my hair looks as long as it’s essentially non-descript). So I wasn’t altogether pleased that I was stuck with making many first impressions with folks at my new University with an awful looking rat on my head and I dreaded the next time I had to get a haircut (I like to wait awhile between cuts, saves a few bucks/quid).

Recently I came across a place that had a classic barber shop look to it, with old leather chairs, a barber pole, and everything fashioned of wood. This morning I finally got up the gumption to get my haircut there. The barber was male (although much younger than I was anticipating or would have liked) and we had a pleasant conversation while he cut my hair. Apparently the barber shop was 105 years old (nice!) and has been independently owned by various families the whole time.  I just can’t believe I found a decent barber on my second try. In my previous city it took me 2 years to find a decent barber. Next time I go back to this place the barber said he’d give me a list of decent restaurants in the area as he agreed that most of them are quite horrendous (Cha-ching! It’s nice to find out that it’s not just us snobby Americans who think the food here is pretty terrible on average! It is exceedingly difficult to find good restaurants here…but that’s another post…). So while things have been going to crap for me in the lab over the past week, at least something has been working out for the better here in ever-cloudy, UK!

So if anyone is actually out there reading this…how long has it taken you to find a good barber and/or stylist in your most recent move?

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