My wife hates when I get my hair cut. It isn’t a preference for longer hair, she simply doesn’t like how it looks when I come home. I can’t argue with her, I’ve gotten some hack-jobs over the years from a variety of bargain salons.
Growing up in Philly, everyone had their guy (or in my case, their woman). You went to that one particular barbershop all the time and got to know the person cutting your hair. It didn’t take long before you could walk in, sit down, and not even have to explain how you wanted it cut. You were a regular and this was one of the perks of repeat business.
When my family moved from Philly to the Reading area over 15 years ago, a lot of things changed. Vitelli’s barbershop was a distant memory. I was introduced to the Cost Cutters, Supercuts, and Lords & Ladies spread out in strip malls for miles around. When you walked in, you had to hope you didn’t wind up with the stylist fresh out of beauty school.
As I got older, I started hanging out in a Kensington Tobacconist (sadly, it is closed now). We would sit around smoking cigars while solving the problems of the world. Every now and again the guys would talk about their barbershop, Anthony’s in West Reading. They would tell me I had to check it out but it always came with a warning ‘The place gets busy kid, you could wind up waiting for an hour or more’. Who has time for that?
Despite the glowing recommendations, I never paid Anthony’s a visit. I try to avoid places with that kind of wait-time and continued to give my business to the local bargain salons.
For the past year I’ve been using a local Supercuts, exclusively. There are one or two girls that do a decent job but it never failed, whenever I came home my wife would look at me and see problems. Sometimes it was something as simple as having hair all over my shirt. Other times she would see spots that were uneven. It never failed, there was always something wrong.
Don’t take it the wrong way, my wife is not a difficult person to please. She simply saw this as sub-par and wanted me to go someplace else. I didn’t disagree with her but I’ve been dealing with this sort of thing for years, I was used to it.
This past weekend I was in desperate need of a cut. Things have been monumentally busy as of late and I was a couple of weeks past due (it is also worth mentioning that my hair grows fast). I stopped into my local Supercuts and saw two women in the chairs and a couple more waiting. This is a red flag and I knew I was looking at an hour wait, at least. I turned around and walked out the door.
I came back the following day, 5 minutes before they opened, and there was a short line forming. Again, I would have been behind a few women, so I pulled out of my parking space and planned on coming back later. I wound up spending most of the day running errands and missed another opportunity.
On Wednesday I left work determined to get my hair cut. I felt like Shaggy from Scooby Doo and it was driving me absolutely nuts. This time I was going to try something new, I was going to finally visit the barbershop close to home. I’d never been there before because they are Cash Only (I rarely have cash on me these days) and it always looked busy when I drove past.
I walked into Calvaresi’s Barber Shop and immediately like what I saw. The barber and customer were laughing and having a good time. Best of all, the waiting area was empty. I wasn’t seated for more than a minute when a second barber (I’m pretty sure this was John, the owner of the business) came walking in from the back room and was taking care of me.
It was a thing of beauty, all I had to say was “Number two clipper on the sides and take about a half-inch off the top” and he went to work. There was no “Do you want round or square in the back” or, my personal favorite, “You want to keep the sideburns attached to your beard, right?”
My timing was perfect, about half way through my cut there were four other guys seated in the waiting area. Everyone knew one another and barbers were greeting them by name. Being a quiet guy, I just sat back and enjoyed the conversation.
When the barber was finished with my hair, he commented that my eye brows were looking pretty bushy and took care of them for me. After that, warm lather was applied to the back of my neck and I was being cleaned up with a straight razor. I was blown away, I hadn’t received this kind of service in years.
In under twenty minutes, I was ready to head out the door. I had received the best haircut I’ve had in years and the most amazing thing of all happened when it was time to pay the bill. I handed my barber a $20 bill and told him to keep the change. He looked me in the eye, thanked me, and shook my hand. For years I’ve been paying more (tip included), and the most I got was a bland ‘thanks’ after paying.
I can’t believe I waited so long to try Calvaresi’s Barber Shop. The service is fantastic. After this experience, I’ll never go to a bargain salon ever again.
When I got home, my wife gave me a hug and kiss then started looking me over. “Your haircut looks good and you don’t have hair all over your shirt. You didn’t didn’t go to SuperCuts, did you finally try that barber over on Kutztown road?” Great service and Wife Approved, Calvaresi’s Barber Shop has won my business.
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