Hypermasculinity in the Mission

Yesterday, the beloved San Francisco Chronicle published an important look at the burgeoning “hypermasculine” haircut industry in the Bay Area (loosely defined as “establishments [that are] full of pre-1930s barber chairs, hand-powered barbering tools, folksy wooden touches, straight-razor shave kits, whiskey and, of course, the signature red, white and blue barber poles.”)  Behind the trend are tech-savvy folks who find their barbers on Yelp (the benchmark of tech savviness), don't want to “sit next to ladies with foil in their hair,” and yearn for a time when “men used to take more pride in themselves.”  They really want to look good!

However, it's not all about harking back to a time 'when men were men and women were in the kitchen' and there was a military draft, it's about being real. The self-described “founder” of Valencia Street's F.S.C. Barber (and curator of stunning lines) Sam Buffa explains in what could be the best line ever published in the Chronicle's 147-year history:

“This is about moving past the scraggly, long-haired hippie to something rugged and masculine and real,” says Buffa, who's interrupted by a friend bringing a quiche from Tartine.

You see, “San Francisco is ready for [real haircuts] in a way it wasn't before,” Buffa mansplains. “This city is not the people who used to be here.”

Namely, broke pussies.

[SFGate | via MrEricSir]

Comments (59)

I don’t know about the other stuff, but I refuse to get my hair cut at any place that doesn’t have a barber pole.

A line of balding, soft skinned, pale, overfed tech yuppies wearing hoodies and baggy jeans. So rugged. So manly.

All hat, no cattle.

Hilarious. Every time I walk by this place it is filled with huge pussies.

I just spat coffee all over my screen. Gold reply right there.

totes. totes magotes.

Ted, I agree with you!

this is the barbershop equivalent of that “Unionmade” store. Yuppies pretending to be working-class as a fashion choice. There are plenty of old-school barber shops all over the Mission where men go to get their hair cut. But those old-timers are really the wrong demographic. They don’t fit the Appalachian-preppy aesthetic at all!

Bingo! They wouldn’t dream of setting foot in the old-school barbershop on Haight @ Fillmore. Only a fellow flannel is allowed to touch them.

and I’m pretty sure that Chicago’s will outlast all of these places. My guess is that this aesthetic will look pretty dated (in a 2012 way, not 1930 way) in the next 5-10 years.

long hairs 4ever!

Haha wow.

The ‘barber shop’ trend in the more cash-infused parts of the US and Canada is a facetious marketing layer with no authenticity or history at all. It’s presented ‘in the style of’ old-style mens grooming but is a salon with wood floors and no free wine. Buddy’s claim to the ‘real’ is laughable and the Chronicle gets it. Hilarious article.

If you tie your masculinity to where you get your hair cut, you’ve got bigger problems, but places like this are calculated to take advantage of a trend, not to actually be an old-tyme barber shop (which would be cheap as hell and not sell custom suits in the back).

I thought it was serious at first too, then they kept going and going with the all of the place talking about how they are legit while the other ones are just hopping on a trend. This may be the best article I have ever read on sfgate.

This may be the best article I have ever read on sfgate.

Agreed. They need to write more articles with this kind of subtle snark.

Well stated!

If the shop doesn’t have a stack of nudie mags, GTFO :)

Yeah, Sunset Barber Service is what all of these places try to be.

+1 haven’t been there since I left the hood, but it’s a great little spot

Seriously. Male Image on Market’s got your bondage mags and Blueboy back issues. Real men all the way through. Why go anywhere else?

Yeah, that place has been in business for a long time! Only issue is that they don’t cater to the coloreds. According to a well-known local barber, if they thought they could get away with it, they’d have a whites only sign in the window.

Barbering skills are actually different by race. Cutting black hair is a different skill set than cutting white hair so it isn’t too unusual for someone to not be able to do both. Obviously a “whites only” sign isn’t ok, but you do need to make sure that your barber actually knows how to cut your hair before you sit down.

Maybe barbers are more experienced in a large city, because my godfather owned a barbershop, and it had three chairs. He and the other barbers cut all kinds of hair; frizzy Irish hair, wavy hair, curly hair, straight hair, black men’s hair that looked like it was a knitted skullcap, ridiculous comb-overs, etc. They also shaved men with super-sharp straight razors - the shop had one of those copper towel steamers, the one that looked like it was invented by a mad scientist. It had an escape valve that hissed and they used tongs to grab the towels. They also used some cream that smelled like sulphur and rotten eggs. They used to shave the occasional black man with that concoction. Some of them couldn’t shave the normal way so the barber would spread the stuff on, then scrape it off with what looked like a butter knife.
It was all about men hanging out, talking about sex, drinking, sports, politics, wives, cars, jobs, dirty jokes, but no religion. I never saw a calendar without tits, and when a mother showed up with a kid they’d flip it over until she left.
There were also giant bottles of hair tonic, and that thing for crew cuts with a level on it.

Do they mean all coloreds, or just black people?

I have a simple style, I grow it and mow it. I let it get a little past the collar then I shave it all off.

…and then for lunch I went to this kewl eatery that serves beer in a mason jar and has reclaimed wood for its floor. It’s called shit n giggle.

Silly yupster! Reclaimed wood is for walls, not floors!

fuck that hipster wanna-be barbershop.

I like the idea of “barbershops” becoming more popular. That’s the only place I went when I lived in the mountains.
Get a cheap hair cut and talk about sports. But $40+ for a haircut isn’t a barbershop; it’s a salon. There isn’t anything manly about this place except for the chairs. It’s a joke to even call it a barbershop.


Someone needs to bring back the boxing-themed barber shop that used to be on Mission Street near 26th, that had a keg of Guinness, and all you could drink while waiting for your cut (and getting your cut– only problem was hair in your beer).

if only we could go back to the carefree days of the 20s and 40s when male style wasn’t so restrictive….sigh

No more nudists!!

Real men at Real Barbershops that vote for Scott Wiener and David Campos.

Gabby’s in Chicago has been reading off names from a chalk boss, cutting yuppies hair for years for $14 or so.

You fancy yourself a great hero.
A spirit who can’t be contained.
So, how come with all of that off-road potential,
Your car’s barely stained by the rain?

—verse from, “I am an Old-Fashioned Crotchety Busybody. I am the One Who Complains.”, a song I wrote in 1997

Real men cut their own hair. Looking the part means your just a poser, an actor or an imposter. Flannel shirt, 1880 s mustache/beard plus tight girl pants and girl slip on shoes equals douche.

I remember back to when I wasn’t no taller than a Georgia pine-straw my pappy used to tell me, “son, you’ll know a real man by the y-chromosome he carries”…..pappy sure knew a thing or two, I do say.

Frame this photo and call it “Pudgy White Dudes Who Stare at Phones and Don’t Converse.”

I’d mention my favorite barber shop, but I’m worried that then I would have to wait even longer for an open chair.

Why? Everybody knows you’re a fucking moron and they would likely never go near it if you called it good.

Heh. Yes. That is exactly what everyone knows. You’ve really got me pegged, there!

You’re too dumb to realize it, but yes, I do have you pegged. A 5th grader could anticipate every worthless piece if shit thought your worthless mind conceives.

Someone didn’t get enough hugs when they were young.

I know, he’s hilariously cranky!

(not to be confused with hilarious Cranky Old Mission Guy)

Heh. See you at Willy’s, you old cowpoker.

Darn tootin’.

Are you guys having a get together?

Mmm-hmm. Ohhh yes, I’m sure you do.

I meant to put plusmillion here.
Please subtract earlier plusmillion.


Just kidding.
Definitely tired of your pretentious, judgmental and near constant online biz.

Awww, that’s sweet! I’m always happy to hear from another one of my fans.

“Buffa mansplains. “This city is not the people who used to be here.” ” Oh really, Buffa? I was born here. Please, tell me more about what this city is, that is, if you have time between hopping bandwagons.

Angelo’s on 18th and Sanchez has a barber pole, girly mags, and uses a straight razor….$25

It’s easy to hate on this trend but I actually think it’s part of a positive change in our culture. Young people with money are spending it on expensive, local services instead of buying tons of things they probably don’t need. Good for the local economy, great for the environment.

This is a good way to look at it.

I don’t like barber shops where you pay a receptionist. I give my money to the person doing the work and that’s it. Fuck a front desk.

You’re wrong about beans, but you’re right about this.

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