A man has a particular loyalty to his barber, some may even say a fierce loyalty. The barbershop is a place to unwind, blow some steam, and walk out feeling like you look like man–of course, all of this depends on the quality of one’s barber. When I first moved to Toronto in the summer of 2003 I was recommended to get my haircut by Anthony at Jimmy’s Barbershop, next to the old Maple Leaf Gardens. I gladly obliged and took the stroll down Carlton Street in the hopes that my hair wouldn’t get massacred. Much to my continued delight, I believe that I have found the best barber I’ve ever had. Over the years my loyalty indeed matches that of a hapless Tory who could cry “God save the king” with heartfelt conviction. So much so that even though I now reside in Windsor, I refuse to have my locks lopped by anyone but Anthony. It makes for a long but worthwhile drive. Where else can I get mildly poked fun of, hear funny jokes and good political commentary as well as get a straight-razor shave all in a half-hour or so? And Anthony is also obliging in that he has not only accepted, but read books that I’ve given him like Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God, The Reason for God, and even the bible.
This past year Anthony had to move from the historic to the illustrious; that is away from Maple Leaf Gardens and onto Bay and Wellesley across from Sutton Place. He’s now partnered up with a very kind barber named Ralph. I continue my loyal patronage. On Friday I made the way to Ralph’s with family in tow. Not only was I to get a haircut, but my son Jackson was to have his first sit in “the chair.” My mother somewhere has a picture of me getting my hair cut for the first time and when I look at it I feel as though I’m reminiscing over a momentary first-step towards manhood. So we took pictures of Jack in the hopes that he’d look back with similar fondness. Anthony gave him a haircut that, in the words of Abe Simpson, “you could set your watch to.” And for that, I’m profoundly thankful.