Back in the early 90’s, someone coined the phrase ‘metrosexual,’ to describe men who began to pamper themselves and pay attention to fashion. Let me tell you: it began way before the 90’s. Centuries before, in fact. Even in the classic ‘Guys and Dolls,’ they referred to ‘swells,’ those men who wore the finest duds (or threads) and got manicures.
I guess I stopped going to a ‘barber’ when I was in college and began to go to ‘salons.’ And why not? Instead of Tony, I was treated to Desiree’, Angela and the like. There was blurring of lines as to where men and women got their tresses trimmed.
A few weeks ago, my friend James, treated me to a shave at a place called The Ellsworth Street Social Club, here in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, which is quickly 1evolving into a Melrose Place/West Hollywood type of area, right here in the Grand Canyon State. Gentrification, cool stores, great restaurants and 50 year-old landmarks dot the landscape.
Did you know Ellsworth Street is a well-known boulevard in Philadelphia? I didn’t but I quickly found that everything is about attitude-and skill. As a New Yorker, if someone said “I have a great place for Nebraska-style corned beef,” I’d reply: “No. NY-style corned beef is the pinnacle.”
Same goes for my visit to Ellsworth. People drive a half hour for a restaurant or a hair coloring so why not a short drive to this neighborhood? I took the drive.
Philadelphia has its own sound, its own vibe, its own look and its own attitude.
Proprietor-or rather Artist-In-Residence Darryl Reynolds runs the place. To say ‘give me a shave’ or ‘just gimme a trim,’ doesn’t cut it, no pun intended. Being trained at the best schools and salons turns a haircut into an experience.
Sometimes you just have to trust the guy with the scissors, not to mention the guy with a straight-edge razor! I surrendered. And man, did I look great!
This is less about one place and more about how we, as men, have evolved. Just give us a glass of bourbon, a cigar and a shave and we’re happy. Men are easy.
I looked at the women in the place who were sitting, waiting. Now, the 70’s movie “Shampoo” was as much about a hair salon as the old TV series ‘Dallas’ was about oil, but for them, they were anticipating feeling desirous.
The world has become so vanilla these days. One size does Not fit all. We want to belong to a club. We want to feel special. That’s pretty manly and I feel like a man at Ellsworth Street.