Being a barber is a far more complicated career than many people think that it is. Barbering today involves really listening to clients and their needs. In the past, your barber may have given you a buzz cut and sent you on your way.
Today, he’s worried about how your hair style works with your lifestyle. Building a relationship with your barber means that he’ll always be trying to help you look your best.
Literally barbers have been around for as long as men have had hair. There are razors found at historical sites that are thousands of years old. And depictions on everything from cave walls to tombs in Egypt show barbers cutting the hair of other men.
The word barber derives from the Latin word for beard, “barba”. Over the years, though, barbers have done quite a bit more than just trim a little bit of hair now and again. In fact, barbers of old had a very complicated job in the grander scheme of things.
What Barbers Used to Do
Barbers in the past had quite an important standing in the community. They used to perform surgical procedures, dental procedures, and even bloodletting with leeches. In fact, the red and white barber pole that is still used today was a symbol of the barber’s location due to all the various bloodletting practices he engaged in.
For some societies, barbers were responsible for keeping demons from entering the body through your hair. A pretty important job, that.
Henry VIII was famous for quite a few things, and in the barbering community he’s famous for banning barbers from doing surgical procedures any longer in England. They still bathed their customers, pulled their teeth, and took care of their hair, however.
Barbering has always been complex, but eventually some of those other activities gave way to what we think of as modern barbering.
The Story Now
In the past, barbers may have simply apprenticed with an established and experienced barber to learn his chosen trade.
Now, it’s far more complex.
The board of cosmetology in every state has specific guidelines that dictate how many hours of training barbers must receive and what they need to learn.
Barbers are masters of cutting and trimming hair, styling hair, and even some cosmetic concerns such as facials and manly manicures. Barbers learn how to handle scissors, clippers, and a variety of other tools.
The barber shop that your grandfather went to was pretty cut and dry, while today’s barber shop is likely to have a more metrosexual feel about it. Much like modern salons that cater to women, today’s barber wants his customers to feel pampered. Life moves pretty fast in the modern world, so it’s important to take that pampering where you can get it.
If you’re interested in becoming a modern barber, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to find an accredited school in which to learn the trade. You’ll be able to tackle just about everything your clients need, short of a root canal, of course.