Before the profession of the Oak Brook barber landed where it is today, the term “barber” encompassed many unusual and surprising tasks. The earliest records of this profession show that barbers have accomplished what modern day doctors, surgeons, and dentists undertake. In addition to this, they played key roles in hygiene and fashion throughout the years. The following elaborates a brief history of where the barber has been.
The earliest record of the barber shows that they often served as medicine men and priests of their respective tribes. The people of these tribes believed that evil spirits could enter their bodies through their hair. When the tribe’s barber performed marriage and baptism ceremonies, he would cut off the peoples’ hair in order to rid them of these evil spirits. It was in this way that barbers were some of the most important members of their tribes.
Egypt & Greece
Ancient Egyptian culture highly favored clean-shaven heads and faces. The priests of the time particularly valued hairless bodies, and it was for this need that barbers were called upon. The reasoning behind this lay in the belief that a hairy face was a dirty face, which contrasted the honor that the Jewish culture placed on having a beard. Similarly, Greece esteemed beards as relics to be trimmed, curled, and scented. It was here that the idea of a barbershop began to take form, as poets and philosophers would converse with one another while having their beards trimmed. This culture did change, though, as leaders such as Caesar felt that a clean-shaven face was better than one with a beard. Regardless of which stance was popular at the time, the masses felt the same about hair as their leaders did – and the barbers were able to accommodate whatever the trend may have been.
The Middle Ages
With all the importance placed on the barber throughout the years, it may not come as a surprise that barbers became surgeons and dentists during the Middle Ages. People could come to them to get their hair cut and their faces shaved, as well as having their teeth pulled and their surgeries performed. The barber pole emerged as a result of these “barber surgeons”; the red and white stripes symbolized the bandages used by the barbers when they performed the tasks of a doctor.
Even if the modern-day barber isn’t called upon to perform surgeries and hold marriage ceremonies, he works in a profession filled with rich history and amazing skill adaptability. Today, people hold various opinions about length of hair and whether or not a man should have a beard. Regardless of what each individual may believe, the local Oak Brook barber can accommodate a wide range of preferences when it comes to hair.