Sunday, June 03, 2007

Barbershop Banter

I've been on the hunt for a new regular barber shop ever since Richard, my barber of 10 years, seems to have disappeared from the shop I normally frequent. In fact, most of the barbers I knew from there seem to have flown the coop over the past six months or so. I recently heard through the grapevine that Richard and a couple of the other guys have opened their own shop but due to some top-secret hair dressing confidentiality agreement, no one can tell me where it is. So my search continues. But if anyone knows where Richard from Free Time Haircutters on Christopher Street is, please let me know! But I digress...

The other day I tried out a new shop with the fussy name of Mr. Joseph's on Greenwich Avenue between Chirstopher and 10th Street. I was attracted to the shop because of the kind of youngish, cute but not overly stylish guys who work there. They also had quite a few men waiting for haircuts which is always a good sign, too. The three barbers all appeared to be Eastern European immigrants, Romanian perhaps, one of whom is the present owner of Mr. Joseph's, but not actually Mr. Joseph. While Franco was cutting my hair, in a walked an older gentleman; a regular who probably knew the original Mr. Joseph some 40 years ago judging from the sign out front. He was a gruff but good natured fellow with a lot of coarse wavy grey hair. He plopped himself down in the barber chair next to mine and began the typical barber shop banter of women and sports as he was getting his hair cut. Somehow the subject of age came up.

"Ya know what I heard today?" said the old-timer, "Joe Namath turned 64! Can ya believe it?" The foreign barbers were nonplussed. "Ya know who Joe Namath is, right?" The barbers admitted they did not.

"He was only the greatest quarterback the New York Jets ever had!" said Mr. Old-Timer in a beautifully pure working-class New York accent. "Predicted they'd win the Super Bowl when no one believed it."

"That's right, he won the '69 Super Bowl," I piped in wondering where the hell I pulled that fact from. I must have heard it on Jeopardy. I'm not sure why I felt compelled to participate in the conversation except in an effort to educate our cute foreign friends.

"Yep! He was a character--used to stand on the sidelines wearin' a fur coat!" the old guy added with a chuckle.

"Broadway Joe they used to call him," I said, still wondering what phantom sports nut was possessing me, causing me to blurt out 40 year old sports trivia.

"That's right, Broadway Joe!" Said the old guy.

I decided to leave it at that thinking it best not to mention that the image of Joe Namath I'm most familiar with is his pantyhose commercial.

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At 10:24 PM, Blogger Red7Eric said...

Don't edit the good stuff, Michael! It's good for their growth and development. Besides, they're all sitting half a block away from Christopher Street; you think they've never met a 'mo?


Apropos of nothing, I saw "Knocked Up" tonight and it was very funny.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Curtis said...

That advert cause a lot of confusion to me when I was younger, but somehow I thought Joe and I could share secrets.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Brechi said...


At 8:31 PM, Blogger Donnie said...

I hope you find your wayward barber, Michael. I go to one of the Fantastic Sam's here in town because the manager has been cutting my hair gor years....I love her.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger kevin said...

I hope you got the hair cut that you wanted.

In fact, i'm finding it hard to get a good hairdresser here in NZ at the moment. My last one put his prices up too high and my previous one to that left town.

With you mentioning all those NY street names, it is making me reminise about my trip to New York last December. mmmm beautiful city.

Kev in NZ

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your posts make me want to get back to NYC, a city I used to call my second home. That feels like a life time ago as my life is so different.

Thanks for the comments on dreams, as I find it a difficult topic about which I can be very grandiose or profound.

I'm finding it's more like sharing at a meeting for successful recovery: how to do things in your life, and adapt and grow in a way that you can realize your aspirations despite the curve balls that get thrown in our direction.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger BigAssBelle said...

"Broadway Joe they used to call him," I said, still wondering what phantom sports nut was possessing me, causing me to blurt out 40 year old sports trivia.

that's so sweet. i laughed out loud. isn't it amazing what things lie dormant in our brains?

i used to think he was the most gorgeous man on the planet. i was 12 in '69 and he was THE man of the hour. gorgeous.

love your barber shop story. i've been trying to get the barber next to my warehouse to cut my hair, no go. the barber shop is incredible: totally retro (but originally so) with ancient barber chairs, mission oak benches, a fabulous old ornate brass cash register. my husband says his cuts suck, but the experience of sitting in that aqua barber chair would be something.


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