My new barber, located one block from my house at the Santiago market, is a very stark contrast to my barber in Minneapolis. I am seen in the mirror waiting for my shave and a haircut (el afeitado y corte de pelo). Surrounding the mirrors are pictures of my barber’s favorite movie stars (mainly from the 50s and 60s). You can see the ad hoc nature of the wiring, his antique chair, his assortment of blades, scissors, tissue, powders and lotions. He does the entire cut by hand except for some touch-up with an ancient electric razor. For each customer he prepares a new snap-in straight razor blade. All of the fine trim work is done with the straight razor. The straight razor shave and haircut are $4.90 USD (70 pesos). Contrast that with a haircut only in Minneapolis (after my bald discount) of $15.00.
What is fascinating is how strikingly similar his shop is to my grandfather’s barbershop and radio/TV repair shop. Boyd Scherer worked in the same shop for over 50 years and rode his bicycle to the shop everyday. He was diehard Cardinals fan. He finally closed his shop when he was 80. He finally replaced the outhouse in the early 70s. He is an article about his retirement:
Here is an image of him in his chair and in the doorway of his shop. He gave me all my haircuts until I was 16–including my first “butch cut” (including the butch-wax) that made the hair stand up. After the Beatles hit the scene I wanted my hair long–and he would not just “trim” me. He was a terrific grandfather and I still miss him.