What you learn in a small town barber shop

I will admit, before today I had never been in a barber shop. Sure, I’ve been in a salon lots of times. I’m an eyebrow waxing, hair styling, sometimes tanning girl just as much as the next lady. A barber shop, though? Nope. And let me tell you, it was a whole different experience.

Today, my car was in the shop to see what was wrong with the air conditioning (thankfully, we figured it out–it’ll just cost me $400. But, I digress), so I had to ride home from a full day in my ag class with my dad. Of course, before we could go home, he needed to get a haircut. This is where the barber shop comes in. My dad’s barber is a dairy farmer in our county who also barbers (is that a word?) on the side. When we parked outside of the shop, my dad asked if I was going to come in with him. After telling him I was, his only response was “Okay…you might learn something.”

Holy. Gossip. Central.

Now, when my dad uttered that little sentence, I thought for sure he meant that it was a guy hangout and the barber was going to talk a little dirty–you know, guy talk. Well, I was wrong. In our hour and a half in the shop (yes, you read that right. One. And. A. Half. Hours. Of which, 20 minutes actually involved cutting my dad’s hair), we talked about everything from Guernsey cows and how much they milked, the barber’s divorce, the oil spill in the Gulf, the volcano in Iceland, quotas on milk, big agriculture, Farm Bureau, how to get the barber’s son in my dad’s ag class, and everything in between. Wow!

Not only did we talk about these things, but the barber (and the barber shop patrons) had an opinion on everything. The opinions included conspiracy theories, gossip, and trash talking. Now, I know that back in the day the beauty shop was where you got your gossip, but I never would have guessed that this tradition continued through to today. Yes, in small town America, the barber shop is still an excellent place to talk about the latest news of the day and weigh in with your two cents. And while I didn’t say a whole lot and did quite a bit of listening, I will say that it was a pretty neat experience.

A pretty neat experience, indeed.

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