Recently the proud wearer of a big, bushy beard contacted me looking for a barber referral. He wanted me to send him, vulnerable and needy, into the clutches of a third party professional to whom I believed he could entrust the trimming of his hitherto untinkered-with month-long growth.
It was a lot to ask.
I am perfectly confident and comfortable making suggestions to the readers of this blog based on my experiences, research and wisdom culled from years of grooming trial, error, triumph and tragedy. I have no doubt to the truth or validity of the grooming tips I offer, because they are mine. Moreover, my suggestions for better grooming are generally those one would perform on himself. So if he messes up the line of his beard or accidentally buzzes a hole right into the side of his beard on the slow-to-fill-in cheek section, he has still made the mistake himself.
The benefit here is twofold:
1) HE LEARNS. The mistake is one which he will remember to avoid the next time, as he gradually gets accustomed to the processes on his way toward becoming his very own grooming expert, thoroughly comfortable, confident and in control of his own appearance.
2) HE CAN’T BLAME ME. I’m not the one that lopsided his beard. Sure he may have followed my advice and guidelines, but it was by his own hand that he was temporarily disfigured.
The problem with sending my readers to another person who provides services I don’t use is the disconnect from my personal experience. If a reader like Bobby (whose delightfully histrionic letter is printed below) were to get a bad trim because I sent him to a hack barber, I would be more devastated than Bobby himself. (And from the letter you can tell Bobby is capable of dramatic emotional range.)
Hi Sloan, I've just joined the fray in the fight for reclaiming the glory of the beard and have allowed my facial forest to thicken for roughly a month now. As a hirsute Jew, I've been blessed with the follicles of Samson himself and will soon be due for a trimming, that being said, I am in a desperate search for a worthy barber and would greatly appreciate a recommendation for a good one in Manhattan from someone with a such a stately suburb of the chin like yourself (okay fine, I stole that mustache moniker from Melville). All the best, Bobby
Well I asked around. And around. And around. And around. And though I’d never been there, I trusted the opinions I gathered enough to send Bobby’s virgin beard to a place called Man Made Barbershop. And thank GOD! Bobby was pleased. It was with such relief that I read the reaction letter he sent after his very satisfactory beard trim, I knew I had to give Man Made a shout out here on the blog
Hey Sloan,,Made Man is an impeccable shop with a group of guys that possess prodigious talent. The place is spotless (quite a feat for a barber shop) and has an old-timey charm that harkens you back to a time when the term "barber shop" wasn't a slogan. I've already recommended it to numerous friends and they all come back with equally raving reviews. Thank you for the recommendation and keep up the good work. Best, Bobby
So now not only has Bobby found a new place full of barbers to whom he can entrust the manicuring of his precious new toddling beardlet, so have several of his friends. Maybe you will too!
The Man Made Barbershop is located on the northwest corner of 7th Avenue on West 23rd St in Chelsea
170 west 23rd street
New York, NY 10011
Tell'em Sloan sent ya!