A jacked up haircut can ruin a Black man’s entire week. I’ve witnessed many male friends in literal hair depression over an imperfect line up, crooked hairline or misshapen fade. As a woman obsessed with her mane, I totally understand. Your hair is an extension of your style. It’s one of the first things people see. A haircut is not as easy to fix as a sloppily done press ‘n curl, and, for most, a barber is their spiritual guru, relationship counselor, political informant and all around good friend. It’s much deeper than the cut.
We asked a few fellas around the nation to weigh in the coveted cut and why finding the right barber is life and death kind of situation. No, for real, it’s that serious…
"Trust is the most important thing when it comes to choosing a barber. No reason to take chances on my ability to look good, I need perfection every time I sit in the chair. Same price, same quality, same barber." Daryl, 32, Pittsburg, PA
"As a man, your haircut is one of the first things you learn to take pride in. If you come to school with a bowl cut, or with a messed up hairline, people WILL make fun of you. But if you have a tight cut, it will take precedent over wardrobe (to an extent). It shows people that you care about your upkeep and it's one of the first things girls will notice. It's a literal frame for your face so why would you trust it with a random person. For most guys, your first barber is your dad's trusted barber, so it can be a generational relationship. I used my dad’s barber until I grew facial hair and decided to go on with a new barber named Fats." Jason, 28, Richmond, VA
"Please understand that really good barbers are the equivalent of civil rights activists. For a Black man, a barbershop is a rare place of welcoming acceptance where society’s cursed brown and beige skin, African noses, crescent lips, woven curls locks are twisted, trimmed, and smiled upon without fear – restoring our quadriplegic self-esteem to walking levels of confidence." Rashad, 28, Atlanta, GA
"Appearance is the first thing someone notices, so, obviously, you want your haircut to look good. If you can find a cool barber, he can become your therapist. You keep going to the same person because you know you’re going to leave looking good and possibly with some good advice." Sean, 41, Washington, D.C.
"When a barber learns the shape of your hair texture and your preferences in haircuts, he’s a keeper. Barbers that can consistently and accurately create what you want every time you sit in the chair are far and few between. Not to mention, a barber is the closest thing Black men have to a therapist. That’s the dude we talk to about the week’s happenings with. You lose that connection when you jump chair to chair." Nate, 28, Atlanta, GA