I took up shaving with a vintage straight razor I bought and had professionally sharpened and sanitized a few years back. While I successfully earned a solid “no knicks/cuts” track record, I decided to quit while I was ahead of that curve and use other kinds of razors to do my more routine shaves. The straight razor just required more preparation and care than that of it’s successors. Time and a steady hand provide an extremely close shave when you learn all of the angles.
I still appreciate a good straight razor shave, though most often I find myself reserving them for a special occasion like a holiday gift or a self care day. This, in a way, is how I came to know Cutthroat Barbershop on 19th St. in the Houston Heights.
A few days after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, I was able to wander around after the water had receded from the refuge I had sought nearby. I wanted to see what was open, what was still there and what I might find. I found an open door in Cutthroat, as I walked in with a few days stubble (which honestly doesn’t mean much when you are blonde) and checked the availability. I was lucky in that there was a an open chair that day.
Even as the straight razor was gliding across my lower jaw and neck, I could both physically and symbolically feel like a new person. I was shedding the stress and worry that a natural disaster carries with it, even if for a few moments.
When I was in high school, I found a barber school on my route home on METRO public transportation. There used to be a Sears at Midtown that was possibly the most recognizable landmark in that area. The barber school charged 2.99 for a cut, so I stayed pretty clean-cut once I made time weekly for a fresh fade. Post high school, I made a financial decision to get cut monthly as the non barber school cuts were significantly differently priced.
A great barber is one that I end up moving from small talk into forming a connection with. There’s a trust and rapport that is built. I don’t know that I ever invested the time nor the effort before in many of the major national haircut chains. But, Cutthroat was different for me. I ended up having my hair cut by multiple barbers at the 19th St. location, most of whom I was able to chop it up with easily. To this day, I know that if I was in haircut bind from my place in a Westside suburb, I trust that Cutthroat would easily handle anything that I asked of them.
Even a “hard part” on the left side to which I have become accustomed.
I found out that Cutthroat has recently expanded locations, with a third arriving in Montrose as of 2021. If you need a new barber or have been looking for a knowledgable team, check them out.
I chose Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” because I thought the 80’s jam would be a fun play on words for any barbershop, but especially one with a team of folks who expertly can wield a straight razor much better than I. I wanted something more modern than Sweeney Todd and something that also was a slow dance standard that had it spot on the charts in it’s own right. Steady hands and perfecting all of the angles.
Take care of one another y’all. Until next week.