Wednesday, September 25, 2013

iPhone Diaries #652: In search of the best #2

I shouldn't complain. After all, almost all women pay significantly more for the same service than men do. It is so bad that "Denmark, that bastion of gender equality, has ruled that price differences between men's and women's were illegal". 
Yes, we are talking about haircuts.
Women pay anywhere from $45-$100+ for the same styling that men pay $25-$45+ for.
I pay $10-$25 for a #2 (all-around), which refers to the clipper guard or the rotary clipper blade, with the  hair all over the head cut at #2 guard length. 
Here is my review on three of the ones I like:
The Terminal Barber Shop (no, it's not for your very last haircut), is an experience to be savoured. Although a #2 can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, you will want to set aside an hour, and you will want to be served later rather than sooner. You will want a lineup. You will enter a world of Old World charm seldom found even in the Old World. From the crisp cotton uniforms, to the magazine collection (National Geographic Collector's Editions, the thick ones), the vintage period chairs and antique furniture, to the subtle aroma of  humidor, exotic spices, and my late father's Old Spice, steaming hot towels, and cosmopolitan conversation (depending on your barber), the Terminal Barber is a refuge in from the busy corner of Dundas and Bay, where it is located. It is quite literally a big hole-in-the-wall, but oh what an experience! A barbershop with it's own website and a barber who hails from the same hometown in Algeria as French soccer legend Zinadine Zidane!
But is it worth $25 (+tip) for a quick #2? Not on a monthly basis, but yes if I want a treat for myself.
Vince's in Guelph is your stereotypical Italian barber. Four chairs, utilitarian furnishings, yellowed and fading Azzuri (Italian national soccer team) posters on the wall, Sports Illustrated, Macleans, and the Toronto Sun for reading material. Efficient, light (Canadian) banter (weather, commute, local gossip) makes for a nice monthly, Saturday morning ritual. The haircut is even and uniform, and clipper handling is gentle. Neck (and ears) shaving is included. $18 (+tip).
The Merchandise Building Salon and Spa, is within the Ryerson University Campus. I can only talk about the barbershop experience. The barbershop/stylist portion is also a DVD rental place (hiphop, reggae, pop, XXX Adult), as well as a great source for unique trucker hats for the hiphop crowd. Unique because you won't find these hats at the mall. I was the only customer in the shop but my barber rushed through, rough on the scalp, used a microclipper where a shave was asked for. The chair had no footrest (hold on to the arm rest or you will get the sensation that you are sliding off). I also did not appreciate my barber interrupting my haircut with high-fives for people who walked in and out, and the one guy who watched TV while seated 3 feet away from my legs, when there was plenty of room away from me. The haircut is mostly even, no shaving. $18 (+tip). Apparently, it's $10 on Mondays but  I fear the lineups will be long and the service will be even more rushed and haphazard.
I'll take Vince's any day, unless I'm rushed for time, in which case I'll spring for the Terminal Barber.
Sept 24th.

1 comment:

  1. Close to Ryerson is the Church Street Barber Shop (368 Church St/ Gerrard). I watched the barber give my husband a face shave, with a straight razor - the man has some deft moves. I think most barbers do. But one thing that stood out, the #2 cut is very personal. He seemed to mathematically map out the shape of the head and did the fades accordingly. Love to hear your review.