Americans at Work: Barbers - 1959

The way to beauty may not be the most attractive, but the admiring glances that result are worth it.
- Americans at Work: Barbers

There is much tradition – In Greece, getting hair cut could be a social occasion, where men would discuss the issues of the day while having their hair trimmed and beards curled.  

Still today, the barber acts as a listener and sometime counselor of his clients.

Beauty salons for women are place of transformation, where a stylist can make or break her attractiveness.  The hairstylist is an artiste, with assistants who help actualized their coiffed masterpiece.  

A beautician’s choice on how to proceed may be dictated by the season of the year, the shape of the head, or the mood of the client.   Many women spend as much as two hours a week at a beauty salon to maintain their look.  They may get a facial or manicure while there, relax and luxuriate.
 
In the past, barbers began as apprentices, learning on the job, which could be unfortunate for their customers.   Today, barbers must go to school, pass examines and be licensed to work professionally.  Later, he might become a journeyman, then open his own shop, where he will pass on the craft to a new generation of apprentices.  

Men in ages past wore elaborate wigs and makeup, but today simplicity and convenience is the norm.   

Whether in a beauty salon or a barbershop, they are members of the Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists Proprietors’ Union of the AFL-CIO, a tradition that goes back to the thousands or years.