More than Just Cutting Hair
The barbershops and salons of the world have a pretty fascinating history, and for as long as there have been people with long hair, there have been people who require that haircut. The first record of haircuts happening is in ancient Egypt, where the nobles of the country would get their hair cut by using sharp shells and flint. Certainly, not the coolest way to cut hair, but for them it worked.
As the middle ages came along, barbers still kept their role as the people that performed haircuts but were also doctors and surgeons. They would dress wounds and provide medicine for people who needed it and were often called barber surgeons.
Separation of the Jobs
It soon became clear, however, that the jobs of a doctor and a barber needed to be separated, and in the 14th century, a law was passed that separated the two jobs. While a barber could still pull your teeth, someone couldn’t practice surgery and barbering at the same time. It took over 300 years for the job of a dentist to go to a dentist, and in 1745 the jobs were finally separated.
The 19th Century Shops
Barbershops in the 19th century were primarily social gathering spots. Men could really be men and talk about the important things in life all while getting straight razor shaves or haircuts. It wasn’t a place you had to go to when your hair got too long, but instead was a place you went for fun and to talk with other men. They would engage in battles of wit, good-natured teasing, and just escape from the pressures of the world. Some people would play board games, talk, gossip, and generally have a good time. In the present day, the barbershop still fills some of those roles but is primarily focused on cutting your hair effectively.
Looking Back at the Past
Still, if you go into the shop with an open mind, then the barbershops can resemble the shops of old. Where you catch up on news, talk with friends, and even get a massage and a hot towel wrapped around you. In fact, the pole at the barbershop even pays homage to the history of barbers, with the red representing blood, white representing bandages, and blue representing veins. A nice little piece of trivia for the past of the barbers.