An Unauthorized History Of

News-and-Society The Good Old Days When You Could Get a Manicure or an Appendectomy! Remember when the neighborhood barbershop used to be the center of the community? Sure the town haircutter had power then, but, back in tribal times, when men were really men, the barber was also something of a high priest. People believed that long hair was a sign of "evil spirits," so the barber had the scissors – and the spiritual power – to free them of any bad juju just by chopping their locks. If only it were that simple today. Because if it was, there would be more than a few Washington politicians and Wall Street tycoons that should have their heads completely shaved. In Greece, around 500 BC, the barbershop really became the cradle of civilization – from a man’s perspective, that is. The barber (the word "barber" comes from the Latin word for "beard," if you’re wondering) would trim and curl noted gentlemen’s beards and add scents (yes, there were grooming products even back then). And, wouldn’t you know it, the guys would talk about sports, as guys apparently always did after whenever the first ball was invented. A barber’s talents were so important back then that a big deal Greek politician actually lost an election because his opponent’s beard was more neatly trimmed. Shades of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate! The Romans continued the Greek tradition and created their own version of the barbershop franchise, taking the tonsorial parlor to new heights. Some Roman gents would spend hours a day at the barbershop, which included such bonus services as massages, manicures and all sorts of ointments and cosmetics. And once again, it was the central gathering place for the most notable Roman men. As a matter of fact, Romans elevated barbers to such a status that they put up a statue dedicated to the first barber of Rome. You sure don’t see many barber monuments these days. The whole barbershop business took a left turn during medieval times though, when barbers used to cut more much more than hair. Do you know how the design of the traditional red and white barber pole originated? You may not want to know, as this is information that may disturb the squeamish, but barbers during medieval times used to also be in charge of bloodletting – the charming practice of cutting people so they bled a lot. In those pre-Blue Cross days, it was the common belief that that was how you could rid the body of disease, a practice that went on for almost two thousand years (and if you think we’re smarter today, remember there are still a substantial number of people who think the Chicago Cubs will one day win a World Series). Barbers, interestingly enough, also decided around then they were dentists as well as surgeons – so when you went in for a shave and a haircut, you might leave missing either a vital organ or tooth. People complained – at least the ones who lived did – but the King of England upheld that a barber-surgeon was a good thing. Probably the Romans were smarter to limit the extra services to the massages and manicures, rather than allow a barber to literally have a license to kill. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that barbers were once again limited to cutting hair. The barbershop model that the Greeks and Romans celebrated evolved into the All-American barbershop so familiar to all of us from our childhood and old movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, it fell out of favor after the 60’s, when men’s hair became longer and more complicated. Suddenly, guys were sneaking into beauty parlors to get the same kind of service as their wives and girlfriends – or getting a quick hack job at the new unisex haircutter franchises and businesses. Fortunately, that classic barbershop is making a bit of a comeback, combining the best of the old and the new. Copyright (c) 2008 Kennedy’s All-American Club About the Author: 相关的主题文章: