I read the Art of Manliness article about reviving the barbershop. After I was done reading it, I went to the barbershop in my town, and the barber had me sit down and asked me what I wanted. I told him that I would like my hair scissored; the barber immediately grabbed his clippers and was about to run them through my my hair when I had him stop. I asked him that I wanted scissors, and his whole attitude changed toward me. He rudely told me that he only used clippers, and he grabbed me out of the chair and escorted me out the shop then he told me to go back to Supercuts and slammed the door in my face.

Now on to my questions

Do all barbers use clippers, or do some use scissors too?

After the way that barber treated me, I feel like getting your hair scissored is girly now. Is it not manly to have your hair scissored?

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Just out of curiosity, why were you so insistent he use scissors?  I mean, the idea is to make your hair shorter than it is.  Why does it matter, so much to you, which tool he uses to accomplish that?

 

Clippers are generally used to remove the bulk and to start defining the shape.  Scissors (shears) are used for a number of reasons, usually thinning shears are used to remove thickness, and regular scissors are used to trim off stragglers or refine the shape.  Clippers, with finer blades, are also used for "precision clipper cuts," but that's not what you're describing.

 

I don't think I've ever been in a barbershop where the majority of the cut was not done with clippers.

 

I think you insulted him.  It would be like having me over to fix your computer, and telling me I was only allowed to use 5.25" floppy disks or DOS.  Or, calling a plumber, and only allowing him to use a hammer.

Clippers are generally used to remove the bulk, with scissors being used for precision and final shape.  Think of it like anything else, for rough work you use the big tools, the finer the detail and more precision required, the smaller the tools.  With that, comes more manual labor.  Think about what that increased labor is going to do to a man throughout his career.

The main insult, I think, was probably in you telling a professional how to do his job.

And, understand, there are many tools you can use to remove hair.  Here's the most manly option I can think of, even more manly than a straight razor.

Mark,

It sounds like to me there are two problems here.  *Disclaimer - this is based only on what your post stated.*  Clippers are used as stated by the others to remove bulk this is true.  You need to understand that scissors can only be used where it is feasible.  That means that the existing hair must be long enough to 1-hold in your fingers, 2-Even if it is long enough to hold there needs to be enough length to cut.  IF not clippers are the option.  Scissors can be used all over if the hair is long enough.  Barbers however are not typically trained in this.  Barbers are traditionally trained in clippers (both sides and top) and scissors on the top.  Now that there is an understanding of when scissors can be used, the next question is how long is your hair?  Specifically on the sides?  It would be easy for a barber to assume that by stating that you want your hair "scissored" that you meant the top, this is pretty standard.  I am under the impression that he was planning on using clippers on the sides and scissors on the top.  Now the two problems:  1)  The barber in this situation appears to have failed at doing the proper investigation.  Every barber should have a clear understanding of what the client wants in a final product.  IF he did not gather more information about the look you wanted, the length, how you style, etc, then he failed.  2- It would be helpful for you to understand both what was discussed above as well has how to explain what you want in a hair cut.  Unless you know the "lingo"  this can be difficult, but most barbers have gained enough experience that if you just try to explain is in as much detail as possible they will be able to figure out what you are looking for.  Just simply saying I want it scissored is not a good description of what you want.  Again as already mentioned tell the barber how you want your hair to look, but don't tell him what tools or methods to use in order to achieve that look, he knows better than you what tools/methods should be used.  I will finish by saying this, from what you posted, you and the barber were wrong.  More so the barber than you (the customer is always right, or at least always in need of being educated).  It sounds as though he was very unprofessional and did not do the work to determine what you were wanting.  He should have known better than to send you out the door because he not only lost that service, but all future opportunities from you.  All he needed to do was professionally explain to you why he would use clippers and ask more questions about what you wanted.  You just need to work on how to explain what you want.

It appears that I am a bit tardy for this discussion, but I feel the need to reply. I am replying as a professional and barber.

1) All barbers, as well as hairstylists, should be trained in the art of using both shears and clippers. A barber will tend to be a bit more comfortable with clippers, due to the volume of clipper cuts he/she might do. A hairstylist is going to be more versed in yielding shears due to the amount of cuts done in that manner.

Typically when someone sits in my chair I asked them what they like and what they don't like. I then ask them how they might typically go about getting to the finished results. i.e. "Do you mind if I use clippers, clipper over comb or scissors/shears ?" If they do indeed prefer one over the other, I try to oblige. If it's something that I'm not necessarily comfortable with, I might offer up another method to get close to, if not the same end result the person was looking for in the first place. All it takes is a few minutes of basic conversation: "What do you usually do for your haircut?" "What do you like?" "What don't you like?" "What's too long?" "What's too short?" Sure, sometimes it doesn't work out. But there certainly no doors being slammed in someones face.

2) There's nothing "girly" about having your wig split with scissors. It's what you prefer. No one else. You're the one that has to live with it for 2-4, or however many, weeks. The act of getting a haircut is still the same. Just the preferred method might be different.

If you like the barber shop, go to a barber shop. If what you're seeking is the aroma, the feel and the camaraderie of a barber shop, go. And get your haircut how you'd like. Maybe just ask if they do scissor cuts prior to sitting down. And make sure the door swings shut from the outside.

 

@ B.A. thanks for the insight.  I agree and I think you nailed it with the fact that it takes conversation.  My barber does scissor over comb on top and clippers on the sides, with clippers over comb to blend it. 

Sorry, I forgot to check back in on this post. At Supercuts, they used to use clippers on my hair, but it always cut too short, and I was using number 5 clippers. I asked the lady if she could go longer, but she said that clippers only went to number 5. Thats why I was insistent on getting my hair with shears. 

She's wrong.  Her set of clippers only had guards that go up to a #5, but that's not true for all.  After #12, some even start in with letters.

http://www.amazon.com/Wahl-Clipper-Attachments-Guide-Combs/dp/B000F...

 

And, besides, the use of clippers is not limited to snapping on a guard and running them flat against your scalp.  Clippers, when used by professionals (real barbers) are versatile tools, often used freehand.

 

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