Dear Crabby, What’s up with Michigan Barbershops?

Dear Crabby,

I moved to Oakland County eight years ago from NJ. There’s one thing that Michigan does backwards, men’s haircuts. For some reason every barber that I go to cuts my hair with the chair facing the middle of the room instead of the mirror? Is this a Michigan barber college thing? I’ve never seen it anywhere else in the country. I mean why is the giant mirror there anyway? What’s up with Michigan Barbershops?

All the best, Al


Hello Al,

I don’t know where you’ve been going, but for as long as I remember that’s how barbers do it. Mrs. Crabby goes to a salon and all the women face the mirror – as you suggest should happen at a barbershop – I think so they can make eye contact with the stylist person and chit-chat. You know how women are. Or maybe they just like to look at themselves. Or else they don’t trust the woman cutting her hair and they need to watch.

Dear Crabby Gives AdviceMen aren’t like that – at least not here in Michigan. We trust the barber and we really couldn’t care about watching how it goes. Usually the TV is on, or even better, the radio. My earliest memories of getting my hair cut was dad taking me down to the barbershop and listening to the Detroit Tigers on the radio. The barber and my father would be rooting and booing the players as the announcers called the plays. Snip-snip, a crack of the bat, and applause over the speaker – that’s what a good haircut is supposed to be like. Then at the end, the barber would spin me around and ask my father if that would work for the missis. “Yup,” dad would say. He’d pay the guy and off we went. I’m sure it was a good hair cut because I didn’t get them too often. Mom would cut my hair most of the time, but for holidays and school photos we went to see the barber. I guess I thought of it as a treat – time with dad – to be with guys. Even though I didn’t say much, it was a special thing.

Maybe it’s a Jersey Thing, but here in Michigan and most places the barber faces you away from the mirror. My barber Brian told me it’s just how they do it. For a couple reasons he says. For one, they use clippers and whatnot and all those devices have cords, and you don’t want those cords slapping the customers in the face. Plus, it’s a trip hazard. Second, the mirror is a tool and the barber needs to spin you around to see all angles of his work.

Keep it simple and short – just like my father told my barber when I was a kid – still good advice today.

Hope that helps you understand a Michigan haircut,

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

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  1. Al, how can I say this without being impolite. Barbers turn your backs to the mirror because the mirror is not for you…. It’s for the barber. Just like Mr. Crabby said it. Cords everywhere and whatnot. Plus, us as barbers face the person in the chair towards other customers. It’s a whole experience, people all talk to each other and are involved. I think your salon has it wrong. Just a little insight coming from a Master Barber with 3 generations backing it up

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