Barbers – “In you we trust”

360px-Barber_Pole_in_Jersey_Shore,_PA_(3873481587)I have known my barber for most of my life; (even before he became a full time barber) so I feel more comfortable with him than most of you would feel with yours. Many people find themselves extremely uncomfortable in social interactions and sitting in a chair making small talk while someone uses sharp objects above and near their face is quite nerve racking. A student of mine recently did his 12th grade job-shadowing at a barber shop near our school and it got me to thinking about the history of barbering and hair stylists. Before the ‘shave and a haircut – two bits’ time, barbers served a much darker purpose. Barbers performed surgery, did bloodletting and leeching, performed fire cupping, gave enemas, and even extracted teeth! They were known as barber surgeons and the barber pole that hangs outside of your local barber shop references the time when barbers performed the medical procedures. The red symbolized the blood while the white symbolized the bandages.

Archivo_General_de_la_Nación_Argentina_1890_aprox_barbero_ruralAs early as 6,000 years ago, barbers were part of society. The nobles of Egyptian society had ‘barbers’ shave their heads with sharpened stones. In the middle ages, barbers performed shaving, gave hair cuts (most of the time checking for and treating lice), dressed wounds and performed small surgical operations. Which leads us to today where the American barbershop is a respect place where communication is passed through reversed glances in a mirror. You can picture Andy Griffith sitting in Floyd’s barber chair discussing town issues with Barney. The barber shop has also been vastly important in the African American community. Kentucky State University professor David Shabazz  said that, “African American barbershops are discursive spaces, where identity is shaped as young men are initiated into manhood and African American culture,”  in his Journal of Black Studies article. But in our current cultural climate, even the barbershop has lost a lot of its social significance. Some people have lost the desire to interact with others due to the convenience of the $5 impersonal cut.

640px-Xela,_Guatemala_PeluqueriaSo you’ve been used to getting your hair cut at the clip-and-go shopping mall location (and there is nothing wrong with that if you do!) and you want to try something new. The first time you’re sitting down in the leather armed chair of a real barber shop…what do you say while you breathing the same air? Let’s just say that until you get to know the person, it might not be the best time to throw your hat into the ring with the most controversial of topics. To forgo the awkward arguments from fellow patrons or from the barber himself, sit aside your yearning to discuss religious and politically themed topics until you have gotten to know your barber and the environment better. Honestly some people look to their barber as if they were their own personal therapist; or even a mirrored confessional where the falling hair symbolizes another penance with a pile of Hail Mary’s here and 2 Our Fathers still holding tight to the black cape pinned tightly around your neck. Maybe even ask the barber about his life. Point your conversation to them. Ask how their day is going. Ask them if they have any interesting stories because you can only imagine the interesting stories that have happened been shared while standing behind that <a href="http://Authentic“>authentic barber chair.


Barber Pole in Jersey Shore, PA by and attributed to Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States – 083009 495Uploaded by GrapedApe, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Featured Image – Rural Barber attributed to the Archivo General de la Nación Argentina, circa 1890, Public Domain,

Xela, Guatemala Peluqueria Barbershop in Quetzaltenango by Gamdrup – Guatemala, Fair use, CC BY-SA 2.0,


A Beard makes things Better

I went to a different church yesterday and ran into someone whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. He had grown out his beard since the last time that I had seen him and I noticed just how different that he looked. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it changed his appearance so but it did. He looked like he could chop down a tree now…instead of staple 10 sheets of paper together with one click. So it got me thinking about myself and I thought that I would put together (Since I love making lists and Top Tens) some examples how “A Beard makes things Better” and a couple that we could have do without seeing.

Even if you’re Kathy Bates on the set of FX’s hit show American Horror Story, a beard can make things better. A well kept beard can be a beautiful thing on the right person. Tell me what you think…if you don’t agree.

bradley cooper shaven face

Whether Bradley Cooper is rocking stubble or a full on beard…he is definitely better with some facial hair.


zach galifianakis no beard

gq zach over

Funny man Zach Galifianakis needs to make sure that he doesn’t shave off his beard anymore. Zach with beard is a no go!

Shave it! 

christian bale facial hair



Despite Christian Bale being one of the rare celebrities that have the distinction of having the MC1R gene (which causes his beard to be red but maintains a different hair color on his scalp); Bale does not look better bald faced or bearded. He looks great with a 5 o’clock shadow. So rock that stubble Batman. I mean Bale. 🙂


idris alba

'100 Streets' film premiere - Arrivals

From The Wire to BBC’s Luther, the British actor, producer, singer, rapper, and DJ keeps himself well groomed at all times. But Idris Elba needs to keep his beard in whatever venue he finds himself.

Shave it!


Since his love scene with Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt has been a sex symbol. But not even a sex symbol can pull of that beard/gruffy goatee combo or that child-molester-esque mustache. Brad….rock your five o’clock shadow, stubble or nothing at all.



We all love Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation as much as we love Nick Offerman himself. What we don’t love is Offerman as a baby faced, clean shaven man among men. When we fondly think of Offerman, it usually entails eating a large piece of steak, drinking a good scotch or making something with nothing but hand tools and your own true grit. What we don’t image is him doing this…without a beard.


will smith no beard


With just the addition of a thin mustache and goatee, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself can transform himself into a more attractive man. Will Smith; keep that facial hair my friend.

SO….what have we learned here kids? Some men look great with a beard and some do not. You might be one of those that doesn’t but its definitely worth the time to grow it out. 🙂


Kathy Bates Candid Photo by and accredited to Philippe Benard. mskathybatescom/port/candid

Kathy Bates in American Horror Story: Freak Show Image by and accredited to Michele K. Short/FX.

Bradley Cooper No Beard image by and accredited to

Bradley Cooper War Dogs premiere image by and accredited to Getty Images

Zach Galifianakis hard hat image courtesy of Reddit

Zach Galifianakis GQ cover courtesy of GQ magazine

Christian Bale facial hair image courtesy of Wireimag

Christian Bale image courtesy of Pinterest

Christian Bale Batman image courtesy of Warner Bros

Idris Elba Image courtesy of

Idris Elba bearded image courtesy of

Brad Pitt Full Beard with extended goatee image courtesy of BeardStyle

Brad Pitt Smiling image by and accredited to DoD News Features – 141015-D-FW736-069, CC BY 2.0,

Brad Pitt at Palm Springs International Film Festival image by and accredited to Maggie from Palm Springs, United States – Brad Pitt, CC BY 2.0,

Nick Offerman Images accredited to Source, Fair usage

Will Smith Image accredited to Source, Fair usage

Will Smith at 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International image by and accredited to Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Attack of Red Beard

Circassian_princeEven though beards have been a staple in many cultures and have been a fashion statement for thousands of years…beards are in baby! They are literally everywhere and are more socially acceptable now than they ever have been. Beards are for men what mascara is for women. It is the lipstick for that weak chin, scrawny neck, and/or mask for that baby face. An internal study done by a group of psychologists have found that women found men with stubble the most attractive and preferred a man with facial hair as both short and long-term Clint_Eastwood_-_1960srelationships. Though women might find stubble the most attractive over full baby faced or a full beard; women perceived men with full beards as ‘the most masculine, aggressive, and socially mature’. The only downfall to this is that women found these men to look older than they actually were. If you can grow a beautiful beard; there could be another potential downfall to your beard: the dreaded red beard.

Kristofer_Hivju_(Cropped,_2015)I have been a strawberry blonde my entire life; and despite the fact that the famous warm reddish blonde hue being a trendy hair color, I haven’t always been truly fond of my hair color. Statistically speaking, 1 in every 4 children will be a red-head so I don’t feel completely out of place but red heads, just like blondes and brunettes, have many varying shades and tones that can vary from person to person. The strawberry blonde shade may share similar genetic make-up with its ‘ginger’ brethren but it is different. (Much like a ‘dirty blonde’ is different from a ‘platinum blonde’.) When I decided to grow out my beard, Daniel pointed out one day that the bristles descending from my cheeks and chin were bright red and my hair was a completely different color. I of course grew self-conscious of this and thought about cutting it off; but as the beard grew on me (both literally and figuratively), I started noticing that I was not the only man that was sporting a red beard without being  ginger up top. So what’s up with that?!?

To explain it, we have to remember that from a genetics point-of-view, that just like everything else that has to do with the human DNA code…the color of your hair is extremely complex. Most of us know about the X and Y chromosomes that are passed down from parents to their children but genetically, hair color is known as a ‘incomplete dominant hereditary trait’. This means that one specific hereditary gene will not be dominant over the other. Hair color (as well as other hereditary traits) is not just inherited from your parents but from grandparents or ancestors from even earlier. For someone to have red hair, biological studies indicate that the hair color is caused by the mc1rMC1R (Melanocortin 1 Receptor). The hair color is caused by the melanin and produces cells known as melanocytes. The melanocytes produce either eumelanin (darker hair) or pheomelanin (a reddish pigment). The combonation of these two melanins gives us the different tones that we have in our hair. Since genes aren’t complicated enough, if you have two of these MC1R genes in your DNA, then your red hair is going to pop up in a really unexpected place. If you are a man, this mostly occurs in your facial hair. So basically that means that even if your gene code signals that your family’s dominant brown hair to show up on your head; the gene for red hair may still pop up in your genetic code in the hairs of your chinny chin chin. That’s a really complex way of saying that even if you are a brunette you could possibly have a red beard. It basically says that at some point in your family’s lineage, someone had red hair. So don’t be upset with your mom if you have a red beard; blame your dad’s great-great-great-great-grandpa Benedict from Ireland.

But don’t let the fear of having a red-hued whiskers scare you; everyone loves the ginger beard. I do suggest that if you plan on growing out your beard that you make sure that you use the proper beard care products (beard shampoo, beard butter, or beard oil) and making sure that you check your beard for food after you eat is far more important than the hue of the whiskers. Having a beard is a big responsibility and the thing that is growing doesn’t mean that you can just ostentatiously grow hair. You still need to shave your neck, trim your beard and make sure that you check for other unsightly facial hair (unibrow, nose, and ear hair). As I said, a beard is the best that you can do to accessorize your face. Unless you want to get a tribal tattoo like Mike Tyson…but let’s hope you never get drunk enough to think that that is a good idea. 🙂



Research Information: 
  1. “What the hair is” –
  2. “Why do so many men have red beards but not red hair?” by  Adriaan Schiphorst –
  1. Portrait of Seferbiy Zanoko (Circassian aristocrat, diplomat, and military leader) image by and attributed to Miner Kilbourne Kellogg – 1845 periodical, Public Domain,
  2. Clint Eastwood image by and attributed to movie studio – eBay, Public Domain,
  3. Kristofer Hivju image by and attributed to Patrik Nygren –, CC BY-SA 2.0,
  4. MC1R hair image attributed to –
  5. Michael C. Hall on the Red Carpet image attributed to –
  6. Michael Fassbender at San Diego Comic Con image by and attributed to Gage Skidmore –, CC BY-SA 4.0,
  7. Mike Tyson in the ring in Las Vegas (circa 2006) image by and attributed to Octal@Flickr –, CC BY 2.0,


Thor’s Thursday Tour: Topsail Island

Even Superhero gods need vacations from time to time. This week on Thor’s Thursday Tour, Thor visits one of the most beautiful beaches in the south and the future king of Asgard brought along his appetite and his surf board.

chris hemsworth surf boardThor flew to the 26-mile long barrier island (consisting of the communities of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach) located on the east coast of North Carolina on a warm sunny day. Thor stuck his surf board down into the sand and mentally prepared himself to welcome the waves. He surfs the beautifully breaking waves ofchris helmsworth beach the Surf City beach and finally walks away from the ocean with a smile on his face. The surfing has caused a hunger to rise in his belly, so he is off to find the best food on the island. He asks a fellow surfer if she had any suggestions as to where he should eat and she told him to walk the short distance to Max’s Pizza.

maxs pizzaThor strolls through the door of the restaurant and occupied his chosen seat. He is welcome by a friendly waitress and to fill his endless appetite he tells her to bring him the three most delicious things on the menu. Within minutes, a hand tossed pepperoni and mushroom pizza; chicken wings, and a steak and mushroom sub are placed before him beside his sweet tea. He takes his time and enjoys each ranch dressing dipped morsel. He strolls out of the restaurant, that has been surfing delicious Italian Food for over 30 years, with a larger smile on his face.

surf city pier dusk

surf city pier.jpgHe decides to make the most of the day. He takes a walk on the Surf City Pier to enjoy the views and to contemplate the Avengers and all the problems of the Universe. The minutes of relaxation turn to hours and is met by the bellowing roar of his sweet tooth. Someone on the pier directs him to Island Delights. Thor orders some ice cream and he is relaxed but it is time for his mini-vacation to end. He slings his mighty hammer into the sky, completely satisfied with his day spent on the beautiful North Carolina coast.



Manic Monday (Even though its Tuesday)

manic-monday*(I am starting a weekly series of posts on my blog. Today will be a post of yesterday’s blog that I never got to post because I was sick at home. I hope that you guys enjoy the new weekly posts.)

So on Mondays, we will be presenting a new item each week that informs you of something that drives people….well manic. Some thing that gets on your nerves more than anything or a fear that people have of which you may not yet be informed. We’ve all probably heard of Arachnophobia (partially thanks to Jeff Daniel’s very 90s movie Arachnophobia), claustrophobia and many of us have, without even knowing its name, acrophobia. Acrophobia is the third most common phobia and is described as the ‘fear of heights’. I just got a chill just thinking about being atop a 20′ ladder or standing on the edge of a 50 story building. We have phobias linked to a fear of dogs, germs or even death itself but you don’t think about the less common things that legitimately are fears. Today’s Manic Monday topic was suggested by one of my long time friends, Tiffany. She informed me of something about her that I did not know; she has a phobia. In response to a Facebook post where I asked my Facebook friends to vote on suggested blog topics, I figured she was going to tell me that she had aerophobia (a fear of flying in an airplane) or maybe even trypanophobia (which is the fear of needles) and I was thankful to hear thatairplane my friend didn’t have pogonophobia (which is the fear of beards); but I must admit that I was quite floored when she told me that she had hydro-papyrophobia. This isn’t quite a phobia to her because she doesn’t run in fear at the first sight of wet paper (which is what hydro-papyrophobia is) but it just gives her the ‘heebie-jeebies’ as she says.

Just like Tiffany, it is a common thing when it comes to fears and phobias that the person is not actually scared of the object but more of less just doesn’t want to interact with it. Someone with aerophobia doesn’t run and hide every time they see a plane fly over but they merely don’t want to get on and fly on a plane themselves. There are cases and phobias where the phobia itself alters the person’s life. My life long best friend Jacob cotton ballshas songlobophobia. We chased him around the house many times with cotton balls and I remember seeing him quiver in disgust as he would be forced or accidently touch cotton balls. No one understood why he freaked out so badly but the sensory processing disorder is most commonly caused by a response to the touch or sound of cotton balls. This touch or sound, in people with this phobia, triggers a spike in cortisol which causes a subsequent stress response.It may sound silly to you but just notice that feeling in between your fingers the next time that you grab a cotton ball. You might start to develop a phobia which some might view as irrational because until you have to alter certain parts of your life just to deal with something that causes such a repulsion then you really can’t judge.

I hope that you don’t have a fear of saying goodbye because I must now say…

Love, peace and chicken grease;


“Oh wow, I like your beard. You must really love Duck Dynasty.”

A little girl exclaimed to her father tonight at Daniel’s baseball game, “daddy he looks like Santa Claus! He has a beard just like Santa Claus!” So yes, my beautifully manicured hair sits atop a face that has a luscious beard. I must say that I have a pretty gorgeous man mane. Lions would be jealous of the beauty that flows from my face. I have been growing my beard out for about two years now and show no signs of stopping. I had grown one out for a year before that but reluctantly shaved it, so now I am taking my time and growing out this beautiful gift to my face. I love my beard for the most part and have received very positive vibes from it but the fact that I live in the South causes a lot of flack to be given to the cause of me sporting a beard. I guarantee that I heard “you must really like Duck Dynasty” or my favorite “hey, Santa Claus,” which is equally offensive because I’m overweight. I know that most people mean well by their statements but it still gets annoying after a while. I just wonder why having a beard is not socially unacceptable as it used to be. I mean Abraham Lincoln had a beard. Jesus had a beard. The guys from ZZ Top have beards. I’d say I’m among great company but the dirty looks that I get from some people tell me that something happened along the way to deter everyone from viewing the beard in a positive light.

You would honestly have to have been living under a rock to not recognize that men’s facial hair has gained a lot of popularity in the last couple of years. Simply a beard is just a collection of hair that grows on the chin and cheeks of human beings. Generally, only pubescent or adult males can grow a full beard. Throughout history, there has been many cultural attitude shifts for and against the beard. In certain religions, ie Islam) it is essential to their dogma. Other religions around the world have viewed a man’s ability to grow a beard as an outward display of his virility (specifically in regards to strength, sexual attraction, social status, and most of all his intelligence). So why are beards also known to be dirty or negative?

lebnese sculptureIn ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Iran and Greece regarded the beard as a symbol of dignity and wisdom. The Gaelic Celt men of Scotland bearded irishmanand Ireland thought it to be a true dishonor to have no facial hair. It wasn’t until the time of Alexander the Great that Alexander ordered his soldiers to shave their luscious locks to prevent their enemies from grabbing their beards in battle. So, the Romans were among the first in early history to start the shaving trend. Shaving was a very alien concept to them, so much that it appeared in the record books. Scipio Africanus was apparently the first among the Romans to shave his beard and of course the trend caught on quickly.

In portraits dating throughout the Ming dynasty, most Chinese emperors appeared to sultan selim IIIhave beards or mustaches but that ceased during the Qing Dynasty. A couple of hundred miles in European, as far back as the 15th century, males were clean-shaven for the most part. Beards became less and less popular, and even led to Peter the Great of Russia ordering men to shave off their beards in 1698 which led to a 1705 tax levy on beards which he hoped would make the Russians appear to be more like the more ‘modern’ Western Europeans. This took a turn in the 1850s when popular figures like Napoleon, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and even lincolnretained their popularity with post-Civil War presidents like Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson. By the time the 20th century rolled around, the beard was starting to decline in popularity. Although some popular figures in the Victorian period like Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Vladmir Lenin still retained a level of facial hair but mostly limited themselves to a mustache or a trimmed goatee. In the 1950s ‘beatniks’, hippies and even prominent businessmen wore beards. The trend of men wearing full beards went away with the coming of the 80s and into the 90s and 2000s saw the rise of the Verdi beard (which is the Backstreet Boy-esque closely clipped beard with matching integrated mustache. This continued in popularity until 2010 when the full beard came into its glorious popularity again. Bearded men are called ‘lumbersexual’ and this trend is extremely popular with ‘hipsters’.

bearded hipsterWhether for religious reasons or strictly as a fashion statement, beards are going to be around. Do I understand how people could them as unattractive? Sure I can. The truth of the matter is, is that people have donned beards for centuries and they have varied in popularity since the beginning of time. Just remember that there are more people in this world than don the beard than the homeless, old hobos, Santa Claus and the Duck Dynasty hunting crew.