For men, the idea of being shaved by another human being is complicated by the fact that, well, we’re men. We can do this ourselves. It’s emasculating, we think. But surrender to the care of the master barbers at Heimie’s Haberdashery in St. Paul and you’ll realize just what a lug you’ve been. ¶ For the guy-friendly price of only $23, either Moustache Jim or Tina Kawleski will sit you down beneath a taxidermied boar’s head, brandish a straight-edge razor, and show you how it’s done. Jim is the self-described Singing Barber and accompanies his work with requests (think of barbershop tunes). Tina deforests your face with simple mercy—compassion for the 50 percent of the population who’ve forgotten how to take care of themselves. ¶ I look like hell when I go in, my muzzle gone to seed. Between hot-towel treatments, Tina rubs my face with oil and warm, sweet-smelling lather. By the time she reaches for the razor, my skin is soft as tofu. Most guys use just one shaving movement: downward scrape, repeat; master barbers use 14 different moves. But there aren’t many places to get shaved anymore: Barber shaves are illegal in some states for health concerns, which Heimie’s sidesteps by using disposable straight razors. And yeah, it smarts a little, depending on how prickly your beard is. But you’re a man, right? Twenty minutes after settling in, I barely recognize myself. I’ve been made clean, returned to my facial tabula rasa, shaved so close I might question my own gender—if the whole thing hadn’t made me feel like such a man.
WHERE: Heimie’s Haberdashery,
400 St. Peter St.,
St. Paul, 651-224-2354, heimies.com
TIME: 45 minutes