Phil the Barber


So I've been putting off getting a haircut since moving here because I can't bear the thought of spending $12 (the cheapest I've seen). But I couldn't wait any longer (read: Lady Steed couldn't wait any longer) so I went to the local guy down the street. Final cost: $25.

The shop is owned and operated by Phil the Barber, son of Bert the Barber. Phil grew up winding up the barber pole sleeping on a bed in the back room of the shop. He graduated from the high school I teach at fifty years ago ( he went to the anniversary just this week), attended Fresno State, then barber school, has been cutting hair ever since.

Being in Phil's barber shop was like being in a foreign country: Mansmansylvania maybe.

Phil played football and most of his college friends went pro--his best friend played for the Chargers in the nascent American Football League.

The old guys hang out (only two early on this weekday, but I hear tomorrow morning the place will be packed) and talk about the good old days when women didn't drive cars. The walls are covered with photos of a local baseball team whose players went on to play for the Oakland Oaks and the New York Yankees, a postcard of a local fan dancer from back in the 40s, a dear head and a bonus set of antlers.

I learned how many bars used to be here back in the days when people went from San Francisco to the East Bay to party (and watch fan dancers).

Phil and a partner own two race horses; thus the reading rack has magazines on thoroughbreds, as well as some muscle mags, National Geographics and Playboys.

The pace is slow and leisurely--Phil was friends with the guy who started SuperCuts, but being the McDonald's of haircuts is not for him. He likes to talk and have friends and just get on.

Plus, he gave me a really great haircut.

How good? Good enough my wife will think I'm sleeping with a stranger. Or, even better, that she's sleeping with a stranger.


Traveling is fun!

the flag of mansmansylvania


  1. Funny, I don't think I'd like that place.

  2. .

    It really was amazingly foreign--like no place I'd ever been.

    And if the previous description wasn't butch enough for someone, consider this: The comb he used to come my hair was the same comb he used on the last guy. And when he dropped it on the floor? He just picked it up and kept using it.

  3. We've been in need of a new set of clippers. I tried buying a cheap set from Costco and it was not good at all. So I took it back. I just got a nice $50 set from a beauty supply store and it works much, much better. At first I was put off by how much it cost. Then I thought, this is 2 hair cuts!

    I'm glad your haircut turned out well! Sounds like a time warp in there though...kind of cool.

  4. wow...wow...it's a good haircut and it sounds like the experience was worth the $25.

  5. Using the same comb w/o sterilizing is, um, gross. I hope you don't get lice.

    At least you got a good hair cut.

  6. I did a fan dance once.
    I kept my dress on, though....