Remember the movie Barber Shop? It revolved around a home grown, iconic establishment on the south side of Chicago where the locals tread and bared their souls. Basically, it was the pulse of the neighborhood.
Well, I found its sister shop, of sorts, here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It’s Cox’s Barber Shop situated on Government St. in Ocean Springs. Today was my second visit in as many months. It’s been a great place to people watch as I rotate through its six cutters.
The lead guy was out sick today but the five others were in, albeit two arrived after me. There was no shortage of customers either. Two being serviced as I entered, another couple waiting and the same amount on my tail and continued that way until I departed.
I noticed a gentleman receiving a shave and was surprised the barber eschewed a straight razor for a disposable. What’s the point I thought. That’s a do-it-yourself operation. The man holding the shaver was of the younger generation, so proficiency with an archaic hone and strop blade must have eluded him.
The first guy in after me went for the full makeover. Looking more like Grizzly Adams than Grizzly himself, he opted for a haircut and full beard and mustache removal. Unrecognizable when he exited the chair.
I drew a cutter with ages of experience. Turns out, as a teenager, he bailed hay on the Wells’ farm which is now the site of Fallen Oak, the course on which I now work. Eerily coincidental. He recalled the time Mr. Wells decided to raise a few hogs. They weren’t for consumption but for reptile control. Poisonous vipers plagued his operation but the hogs found them to be a tasty delight. Their layer of blubber served as protection from the venom so the snakes didn’t have a chance.
While I was in the chair, a lady walked in asking questions about obtaining a Mississippi barber license. She was new to the area and been cutting for the last twelve years. Even though the Big Kahuna in charge of hiring wasn’t there (out sick if you recall) she was almost guaranteed a position in their other shop which was shorthanded. Seemed like she was fishing for a job without making it obvious. By the comments after she left, it was a very good ploy as no caught on but me.
After a few short minutes, I was shorn to my liking. The best part, besides the immersion into the local culture, was the measly $10 charge for the cut.
If you’re ever in the area and in need of a trim, Cox’s Barber Shop in Ocean Springs is the place to go.