Saturday, December 16, 2006

I Got a Shave Today

I admit it's becoming addictive. I think I've done it now once a week for the past month or so...and off and on for the last year. I go to Tony's Barber Shop in Silver Lake, next to the Ralphs, CVS (formerly Sav On), Starbucks, Astro mess.

Tony's has a barber pole outside, real barber chairs, black and white linouleum tile, lots of newspapers and magazines and national geographics. He plays whatever sports is on TV or Mexican music. I like the Mexican music.

All of the barbers are latino and most of them don't really speak too much English. Tony does and welcomes all. As I've sat waiting -- no reservations, of course -- I've seen everyone from gang bangers to elderly immigrants to gay men sit down, read the paper and get a haircut.

Most don't seem to go for a shave and only a couple of the barbers can even do it. But the wait is worth it. They sit you down, drape you in a yellow drop cloth, tuck a towel into your collar and tilt you back. Way back. Close your eyes and relax, you're gonna be here for a spell.

First comes the foam. They vigorously spread it across your face and massage. It feels good. Real good. Up next, the hot wet towel is layed across your face. Depending on the barber, this will either be a simple washcloth layed out over the foam and beard and patted or an elegantly maneuvered hot wet towel that covers your entire face but considerately leaves a breathing hole for your nose. It's more traditional and more enjoyable to get the latter.

After the towel, they can either apply some sort of moisturize-hot towel regimen again or go straight back for the foam and the long blade. Once the scraping begins, you've really put your face in the hands of your barber. They scrape, and pull and tug and scrape more. They push and lift and squeeze and shape. And when you think they're done, they go through it all again. And it feels great. Really great.

If you're lucky, they'll then apply another hot towel followed by, if you're not so lucky, some after shave. Oh, and does it sting? Yes, it stings. Strangely, though, once the after shave's applied and the barber takes the towel that was tucked into your collar and fans your face, all is well. You've been shaved.

How much does it cost? $12 plus tip. Well worth the indulgence. Try a shave at Tony's!

Tony's Barber Shop
2552 Glendale BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 663-9589

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