Barbering history and vision entered my life only by chance. Walking by a station at the right moment at Paul Mitchell The School-Colorado Springs, I encountered Learning Leader Mr. Ricky divulging every facet of what and how barbering came to be. From the history of the barber pole, to how revered barbers were back in the 1800’s, to the craft and art of draping the cape with grace around the neck of a guest who came in to be mesmerized and pampered–all of it fascinated me. It was then that I realized barbering is a platform to show others how honorable a role of service can be. I was incredibly impressed by barbers who are humble and who understand the true art of serving in the service industry. Those men, like Mr. Ricky and Mr. Brett, who are Learning Leaders at the school are the people that I aspire to be like. I want to have a deeper understanding, to see that it is not “just cutting hair,” to view it more as an opportunity to encounter men in a vulnerable space and to treat them with dignity and respect while educating them, by engaging them in a show so enchanting that they leave convinced that they must indeed come back to you. It is the history and the men who have encouraged me to become a part of making history by joining as a woman. By 1986, over 50% of the students in barbering classes were female. It seems that women were starting to make a mutual impact on the Barber society, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the first woman was inducted in to the Barber Hall of Fame.
Some might argue that it’s not a woman’s role to be in a Barbershop. I believe women can have an outstanding impact on the barbering culture. Besides–adding a little class to anything never hurt!
The respect that comes with wielding the razor is something immeasurable. It is an honor and a responsibility to hold a razor, and to watch a razor being used properly is riveting. When someone is performing a shave, he/she is revered. All eyes are on him/her. When I was in school the Learning Leaders were serious in stressing the sense of honor involved when providing a service to another human. Some of the speeches/mini-classes would echo with responses of amen and mhmmhm’s. I came to realize that the understanding this band of brothers shared was something that cannot be taught, that it is based on mutual humility and respect. I have also realized that regardless of whether it is a “man’s world” or a “woman’s world”, mutual respect can be given. In the future of Barbering, we together as men and women can bring the revolution of Barbering to a new point of view.