Just asking…

Does anyone go to a barber anymore?

Barber shops are an endangered species, since most men these days have their hair cut, styled and body-waved at a salon than traditional barber shop.

I remember my small-kid-type visits to a barber shop, a four-or-so chaired facility, on the left side of the old Liliha Theatre on Liliha Street. There was a box office in the center of the theater lobby, and some kind of retailer occupied the right side.

The barbers I went to were of Filipino ancestry; I don’t recall how much a basic cut was, but likely more than $1. That’s why that ol’ “shave and a haircut, two bits” refrain was born,  the “two bits” meaning  25 cents or a quarter. Those were the days.

 The  basic cut included a hair wash, with the barber using both a pair of scissors or one of those classic barber shears to trim.  And if there was hair around the neck, the cutter used a brush and some baby power to finish the session.

At a very young, say 3 or 4 years old, I think I sat on a “booster” seat  in the hair chair to get to a certain height.

As I got older, I sat in the actual seat, got wrapped with a white sheet to shield me from the hair cuttings, and had one of those shavers to finish by sideburns.

I had a left-side parting with straight hair; the trim was basic; when I was in high school, I had kind of a buzz cut to conform to ROTC protocols. And no hair around the ears;  had to be cut or shaved, like a fender over a wheel.

There were many elderly barbers, male and female, and if you liked yours, you were a regular for years. I remember the comforting hot towel wrapped around your face, when you were nearly done.

Some of those barber chairs were exquisite furniture, with armrests, cushiony seats, and the chair with foot rests, could be fully reclined, too, if your cutter so decided.

Nowadays my stylist of more than four decades, washes, shampoos, trims, and body-waves. About 20 years ago, as the black hair started turning grey and white, I had a dye job, too—too messy and unnecessary so the salt-and-pepper look is a matter of  choice. My body waves – during every other visit, perhaps in four- or five-week intervals, cost $75-nowadays, tip not included. Somewhere along the way, those old-fashioned hair dryers were dismissed, but I recall sitting next to a woman getting her locks curled and dried, too. Is this gizmo still utilized?

Of course, you’d add a trip for your stylist.


  1. Been going to Hawai’i Kai Barber & Styling for almost thirty years. Yes, I believe they still have one of those old fashioned hair dryers. Top notch! Ken and his team are amazing!

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