Barbering

I have always been a rather quite reserved person with a love for nature. It is possible that if I had not chosen my profession that I could easily have been or become a recluse or hermit. I do like people and working with my hands, so cutting hair as I like to call it forced me to interact with people and kept me from retreating in the woods except on weekends.

My Passion has always been architecture, engineering and design. Frank Lloyd Wright was my favorite architect. As a child I had this hobbie where I drew and designed and entire city, also I drew and designed cars that I saw years later on our roads, my Ideas were from my imaginationand I had to feel that they would work, in other words they could not be just for looks. I still see my designs and and ideas being used in cars today. Math and arithmetic were my week subjects in school so I did not feel that I had the back ground to peruse a carrier in architecture or engineering.

In 1966 I headed to Jackson and for the next 8 months or so, attended The Jackson Barber College,I finished in April of 1967. JBC was considered at the time as one of the best in the south, there were 85 students in my class.JBC was owned by a group out of Texas, they had several barber colleges about the south.

There are those who do not know that one has to be licensed to practice the barber profession; It is very strict. In the state of Mississippi one was required to get 1500 hours practice, take a strict test, work one year as an apprentice and go back to Jackson and take another test to get your Masters license. Then one had to work as a Master barber for two 2 years before they could own their own Barber Shop.

I did not realize it but I entered the Barber Profession at a time when it was to undergo a transformation and by this I mean the entire industry, not just the cutting of hair. If I could have looked into the future and seen what was coming I am not sure if I would have taken this path.

The Beatles.

The Beatles were the driving force at the time and influencing men from the way they wore there hair to the way they dressed. The way men wore there hair would never be the same! I love music, I have an appreciation for all music, except rap. Sorry, but I don't consider that music, I say music is life, it is said that it is an universal language. The Beatles were a force that helped alter the world!

Beatles.

New ideas were being conceived and coming into being, mens hairstyling emerged, The Roffler franchise, originally from France, introduced the idea of cutting hair with a very special straight razor. This was not the same straight razor used for shaving the face, but was made of a special softer metal. I have studied Roffler. I only did this because I was working in a Roffler shop in Prattville. Ala, this class was expensive, almost cost as much as my year for barber school, I never liked Roffler but it was popular in the south. As the story goes, a barber had a customer who was an international commercial pilot and when this pilot was in France he got his hair cut. His American barber asked him about the cut he was getting in France and learned that it was cut with a razor. This barber went to France and studied this technique of hair cutting and brought it back to America.

The Sebring Concept (Sebring International) was popular on the west coast, and is, unlike Roffler, an American concept. The Sebring Concept was started by Jay Sebring of Birmingham Alabama and became the hair-style for the stars. Jay Sebring was ahead of his time in setting the pace for future men's hair cutting. Sebring's cutting method results in hair which falls into place naturally. Not only was he a talented hairstylist, but he was a progressive businessman as well. The Sebring method is one I like and my method of cutting follows the Sebring concept

If Jay Sebring had not been murdered I may have moved to the West Coast to work and study their concept of cutting hair.

Jay was a Manson Family Murder Victim. He was born Thomas John Kummer in Alabama and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan. He served in the US Navy for four years and was a veteran of the Korean War. While in the Navy, Sebring developed the hairstyling skills that would make him famous. He was a barber in the Navy. When he arrived in L.A., Thomas changed his name to Jay Sebring - the J for the first initial of his middle name and Sebring from the race car. According to some accounts, he was the first person to open a male hair salon in the counry

His cutting edge style of men's hair care attracted big name clients. At Kirk Douglas's request, Jay was the stylist for the movie "Spartacus." In 1960, Jay married a model by the name of Cami, they divorced in 1965. In 1964, Jay took martial arts lessons from master Bruce Lee. Jay took a tape of Bruce to producer William Dozier (of Batman) and Dosier signed Lee to be on the TV show "Green Hornet," which made Bruce a household name. Also in 1964, Jay met actress Sharon Tate at a Hollywood party and they began dating. Upon Jay's divorce, conflicting accounts abound of whether Jay proposed to Sharon, and others that state that Sharon wanted to get married and Jay was hesitant. The matter was decided when Sharon went to London to film "The Fearless Vampire Killers" (a/k/a "Dance of the Vampires") and fell for the movie's director, Roman Polanski.

Visit the Classic Bands site for an interview with Larry Geller, the barber stylist for Elvis.

These are pictures of Jay Sebring and Sharon Tate.
The picture on the right was Jay when he yas just a kid.

This is a picture of me when I worked in Logans Barber shop
in Maywood Mart, Jackson around 1972.

I don't have a clue what I am doing in this picture, I keep busy, have never been bored a day in my life, really! I worked here for about 2 years, I was drawn to move back home, my father and mother were living on our Oakland place at that time. Dad had retired form farming the delta place and wonted to live back in the hills on his Oakland property, he was thinking about raising cattle. This place was a section of timber-land between Charleston and Coffeeville. I was not there long when dad passed away of a heart attack, I was with him at the time, it was a cold snowie November night. I stayed and worked in the Coffeeville barber shop for over a year, this was where I got my first hair cut, I never thought that I would ever work there, Interesting, the twists and turns life takes!

I got engaged and married on December, 13 1975 to a dear friend whom I had gotten to know while living and working in Winona. We had know each other for about 6 years when she moved to Meridian to attend some special training as a counselor, she was a youth director for the Baptist church.

So I moved to Meridian and started working at the Navy Air Station, this was my first time to work on a military base, it is not what people think. I worked in the barber shop in the Navy Exchange and we had customers form all walks of life, what they call dependents, retirees, civilians and of course the military, both Marine and Navy. I enjoyed working at N.A.S Meridian, it was a good experence!

Today I have worked in every type of barber from down home small-town back in Coffeeville, Mississippi to up-scale in Prattville, Alabama which was a Roffler shop and so is the one in Meridian, Broadmoor Barber Shop, I studied Roffler while in Alabama.

This is a picture of me and a friend at the Navy Ball one year, Barber Mandrell and her husband was the guest of honor that year.

At the Navy Ball.

The History of Barbering

The Barber Pole

In the Middle Ages, hair was not the only thing that barbers cut. They also performed surgery, tooth extractions, and bloodletting. French authorities drew a fine distinction between academic surgeons (surgeons of the long robe) and barber surgeons (surgeons of the short robe), but the latter were sufficiently accepted by the fourteenth century to have their own guild, and in 1505 they were admitted to the faculty of the University of Paris. As an indication of their medical importance, Harry Perelman points out that Ambroise Pare, "The father of modern surgery and the greatest surgeon of the Renaissance," began as a barber surgeon.

The barber pole as a symbol of the profession is a legacy of bloodletting. The barber surgeon's necessities for that curious custom were a staff for the patient to grasp (so the veins on the arm would stand out sharply), a basin to hold leeches and catch blood, and a copious supply of linen bandages. After the operation was completed, the bandages would be hung on the staff and sometimes placed outside as advertisement. Twirled by the wind, they would form a red white spiral pattern that was later adopted for painted poles. The earliest poles were surmounted by a leech basin, which in time was transformed into a ball.

One Interpretation of the colors of the barber pole was that Red represented the blood, Blue the veins, and White the bandages. Which has been retained by the modern Barber-Stylist.

Barbering has an amazing history yet today it is a dying profession, first let me tell you a little history.

It goes back to tribal days, The history is strange and interesting. If anyone is interest to know this tribal history I will be glad to share, just ask. In Greece, barbers came into prominence as early as the fifth century, BC, beard trimming became an art and barbers became leading citizens. During the first centuries of the Christian era, The most learned people of the times were the monks and priest who became the physicians of the dark ages. There were no professional surgeons at that time.

Bloodletting was the popular method for curing all ills. The clergy enlisted barbers to assist them, the clergy were forbidden to draw blood on the grounds that it was sacrilegious.This was the first step in the upward progress of the barber profession.

Blood letting.

Barber surgeon bleeds a woman: 1520.

In the middle of the 13th century, the barber companies of Paris, known as the Brotherhoods of St. Cosmos and St. Domain, founded the first school ever known for the systematic instruction of barbers in the practice of surgery. This school was later enlarged and became the model for schools of surgery during the Middle Ages. Many of the foremost surgeons of the times were students of the School of St. Cosmos and St. Domain. The establishment of this school was one of the greatest contributions ever made toward the progress of humanity.

The oldest barber organization in the world, still known in London as the "Worshipful Company of Barbers," was established in 1308. Richard le Barbour, as the Master of the Barbers, was given supervision over the whole of his trade in London. Once a month he had to go the rounds and rebuke any barbers whom he found acting disgracefully or entering on other trades less reputable. The master of a city company not only had this power, but he successfully prevented unauthorized persons from practicing the barber profession. The Barbers Guild of the 14th Century was undoubtedly more powerful than any of the modern unions. The King and Council sanctioned the Guilds and so they could enforce their regulations. It was not uncommon for violators of Guild regulations to suffer prison terms for their misdemeanors.

Also in the old days of Europe the Dorctor Surgeons wore long white coats and the barber surgeons wore short white coats, one can still find this today.Before I learned this I used to wonder why, back not so many years ago my medical Dr. wore the long white coat and I wore the short white smock as we call it in the trade, and I have wondered many times what was the purpose for this without knowing it is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years.

Greek barber giveing a shave.

The Legislature created the Board of Barber Examiners in 1930 to regulate the barbering profession in Mississippi. The board is designed to meet the consuming public's expectation to be protected from the spread of infections and diseases while receiving acceptable barber services from competent and skilled professionals. After the creation of the Board of Barber Examiners one was required to acquire a Barbers License. To get your license on has to attend a credited Barbers School and get the required number of hours, for Mississippi this is 1500. States vary, some may require 800 another 1000. At one time there were a few states that did not require license or you only needed a license to practice in certain counties. Alabama was such a state.

A few years ago I heard that according to Federal Government the barbering profession is listed as one of the dyiing professions in the country.

People get the cosmetology and barber profession confused they are two completely different entities, each has there own school and state boards and licenses. There are school of cosmetology/ beauty almost every place, we have 2 in Meridan. A lot of cosmetologists are cutting mens hair yet the cutting of mens hair is not the specialty in a school of cosmetology.

A Colonial barber gives a shave.

Some tips about haircuts and selecting a barber shop. So many men don't have a clue as to what to tell a barber about the cutting of their hair. The beauty of hair is that it always comes back it is not like getting you hair cut too short is permanent, I have had some short haircuts in my life, I never will forget when I went in to a local barbershop to get my weeding hair cut. This shop had a good reputation in town. I told the barber what I wonted and in our conversation I told him that I worked at the base, I think that in the course of our conversation there was a misunderstanding because I left with a nice close-tapered haircut.

If you are looking for a shop, look for one that has several barbers with diverse experience, this is especially true if you are looking for a shop for you family. I am good with flat tops, crew cuts, tapered hair cut, military even Marine and I am good with mens hair that has natural wave and curl, I know or understand it because that is my hair. Another barber in the shop has had both cosmetology and barbering so she is good with womens hair and some of the longer cuts for boy and men, the other barber is more into some of the trendy cuts.

It is kind of like going to a Doctor, you don't go to a MD for brain surgery, Doctors specialist and so do we, so do bakers, tailors and auto mechanics.

There are some haircuts and styles that are very casual, the spike cut, bowl cut or a cut that is created to look unkept, the bed head look, just depends on what you want and need.

A nice casual spiked hair cut.

Tip 1: Know how to spot a bad haircut. Two of the haircuts below are bad, one is flawless. Here's what's wrong. 1) In the first photo, there is a visible line between the clipper section and the section that was cut with shears and the neckline is blocked crooked and too high. Blending is poor and the cut looks uneven. 2) In the middle photo, there is a highly visible line in the side of the haircut. A properly blended haircut will never have visible lines of demarcation. Here's what's right. In the third photo, there are no visible lines of demarcation, the neckline is expertly tapered and the finishing lines behind and around the ears are clean. After your next haircut, go home and look in the mirror. If you see visible lines, bad blending, or sloppy finishing (blocking, trimming around ears), find a new barber!

A bad hair cut and a good tapered & faded cut.

Remember this is a short tapered haircut, believe it or not a lot of men don't know how to ask for this cut, they dont have a clue and when you try to explain it to them they get confused. So many don't know what a tapered haircut is.

Tip 1: Be nice to your barber. Do you really want to make the person who's cutting your hair angry or upset him? It is amazing just how many people are rude the their barber.

Tip 2: Know what you want and be realistic. Your barber's not a mind reader. Have a clear idea of what you want and communicate clearly to your barber. You can communicate more clearly if you know the terms. Also, don't expect your barber to give you a George Clooney haircut if you've got Anthony Edward's hair. A barber cannot change your hair texture or create a new hairline for you. Also be aware that some men use products in there hair that really make a differance, products to add body etc. The quality of the products makes a difference, don't be afraid to experiment, I shampoo my hair with a moisturizing shampoo every morning then put a little mousse and gel in it just about every day, let it dry naturally and comb it out, it looks natural and holds, if it gets messed up I just comb through it and I am ready to go.

Tip 3: Know the difference between a blocked and tapered hairline. The examples below show how a blocked hairline can add the illusion of width - not a good thing if you are heavyset or have a thick neck, but probably a good option if your neck is long and skinny. The second set of photos shows a hairline a few days after the haircut. Notice how the tapered haircut looks clean while the blocked cut already looks sloppy.

A tapered neckline and a blocked neckline.

Tip 4: Find a barber who cuts your style well. Looking for a good barber? Here's the easiest way to find one: Just Ask! If you see a guy with a great haircut - one that's similar to the style you're looking for - ask him where he got it cut. Just walk right up and say: "Hey man. Cool haircut. I've been looking for a new barber, who cuts yours." Yeah, it might be a bit awkward, but you might just find a great barber in the process. Oh... and regardless of what you might think, the guy will consider it a compliment that you asked.

Tip 5: Find a real barber or men's salon. Barbers cut only men's hair, so they've got more practice with it. Often, salons squeeze men's cuts in while another client's color or perm is processing. You'll get better results if you are the focus attention. Also, stylists are trained to create soft, round, pretty styles on female clients. Barbers are trained to create lean, masculine shapes. So, even for longer hair, you're likely to get a better cut at a barber shop or salon which focuses on men's hair.

This last statement is so true. This is the reson I dont cut woman's hair, there is a fine line between the masculine look and not masculine. Some women like that, some don't. I never will forget when I was working at the Navy Air Station two young navy women came in for a cuts, they wonted short cuts, I gave my customer her cut at first she liked it, then all of a sudden she decided that she did not like it, too masculine, next thing I know she is crying and very angry, I had only followed her directions..

More information about hair-cuts for men you'll find on the Hair Cuts For Men site. You'll also find a lot of information on the Cool Mens Hair site. This site has a lot of pictures of mens styles and cuts.

1910.

Image: Michael Griffin.

1920.

At one time bobbed hair cuts were popular
with women and the barber shop was the only
place where they could get this cut.

A Barber Shop I like.