Barbershop offers cuts without the small talk

Originally published at: Barbershop offers cuts without the small talk | Boing Boing


Love it. I for one dread the conversation during haircuts, and my sister is the stylist!


Just respond with the bare minimum without being rude. They stop, they don’t want to talk either.


I don’t mind some level of conversation. Complete silence seems more awkward for me, but i certainly would not totally love to have a barber or stylist that’s a chatter box. But that said if they have a personality that i can handle i would be ok, i rarely go get my hair cut but the times i have generally i’ve gotten some pretty cool stylists and the conversations have been pretty pleasant.

That said if someone’s tired, in a hurry or whatever i can see the appeal for this kind of service.


Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you find a stylist you look forward to seeing.



Complete transcript of a typical visit to the barber when I lived in Japan as an obvious foreigner who (less obviously) didn’t speak much Japanese:

Me: “Konnichiwa!”
Them: “Konnichiwa.”
Them: “¥1500, onegaishimasu.”
Me: “Domo.”

Edited to add: When I write “them,” I’m not being non-specific about gender — there were literally three people who were involved, and those two lines were the sum total of verbal communication from all three!


I wish this was standard everywhere. My favorite haircuts have been when there was a language barrier between the barber and I, so no conversation was possible. I think part of it might be taking my glasses off and not being able to see the expression on the face of the person I’m talking to while they can still see me, but it also might just be that I don’t like small talk all that much.


¥1500 for a haircut! That’s sub-supercuts! It might be 50% supercuts.

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I think it was ¥1500; might have been a bit more. But that was also in the mid-90s. These days, it could be quite a bit more — and I need a barber quite a bit less.


I’ll give you some credit. When I was in Japan in the early 2000s, I didn’t have the courage to try a Japanese barbershop. I wound up letting my hair grown long. But I was 24 years old and I could rock the look. Today would be a different story.


I haven’t been to a barber or hair saloon since covid, my wife is getting really good at cutting my hair plus it’s a lot more fun.

I hated chit chat, I would always be polite and talk but it was so nice to close my eyes and get a quick hair cut without any interaction after…

“Off the ears, off the collar, the part is on the right”

But just in case they thought I was rude for not talking I always tipped a lot.

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Barbershop/Hair stylist talk can get interesting. The Italian-American barber I went to back in Williamsburg once uncharacteristically began talking to me and in great detail about the song that had popped up on the radio we were listening too. It was some traditional Italian song (quite regional) that reminded him of when he was a child living in southern Italy. Much later (soon after moving to the San Fernando Valley) one of the first hair stylists I went to, out of the clear blue (and meant for anyone in hearing distance), confessed that the only things that currently gave her any comfort were her cat and vibrator. (!!) Italian traditional songs, cats, and vibrators. Interesting things to ponder whilst getting your hair cut.


Mad Magazine predicted this many years ago, with a pic of a barbershop with three choices, the (heavily implied) gay guy, the sports-talk guy, and the no smalltalk guy.


I had my hair cut by Bruce Lee’s former barber in Oakland once. The guy’s hand wasn’t as steady as it used to be so I left with an uneven trim but a lot of stories (and conspiracy theories).


I’m sure he felt compelled to do his best on Lee, or else…

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What is supposed to be the oldest recorded joke in history has been attributed to Philip of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great):

Barber: How would you like your hair cut, sire?

Philip: In silence.


Okay, fine, be like that…

…I didn’t want to be a barber anyway.
[tears off barber’s jacket]


There are still places where you can get a ten minute haircut for 1,200 Yen. In fact, there are two nationwide chains. Most of their locations are in or near train stations and shopping malls. They can’t do anything fancy, but they get the job done.

HOLY SH*T! I looked up the barbershop on Google Maps, and GUESS WHAT?!


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