This wasn’t a “transition period.”
His father kept using that phrase, but it felt like it was a lot more than that.
Alec didn’t know what it was, but he knew this wasn’t a “transition period.”
This was bigger than that.
This was leaving a relationship and the comfort and caring he’d known for almost 10 years.
This was a big decision in his young life, and he wasn’t quite how to feel about it.
Alec knew his emotions were going to take a long time to resolve, but he wanted to feel different immediately. He wanted change. So he sought out someone he’d known and trusted for years: his barber, Mike Haar.
Sporting a full beard and hair inching down toward his shoulders, Alec fell into Mike’s chair and said, “I need to look different on the outside so I can feel different on the inside.” That was it. No directions. No photos. No requests. Just the trust that Mike knew what he needed without talking about it.
An hour later, when Mike turned Alec toward the mirror, Alec thought, “this is the beginning of my adult life.”
A few years on from that transformation, Alec and Mike, two native New Yorkers, sat down with Proraso to talk about trust, being yourself and what’s next.
Here are some the highlights:
Alec on the trusting the barber:
“It’s very rare to get a 45 minute period with your phone in your pocket and you don’t have to think about anything else. You’re just in the moment and relaxed and nothing else matters for a short while. It’s very similar to a meditation. You’re kind of alone with your thoughts but your spiritual guide is standing next to you.”
Mike on the power of the shave:
“Once they actually lean back up and they look at themselves in the mirror, it’s all smiles and this jubilation. They’re still here, but it’s a new version of themselves.”
Alec on becoming a “regular”:
“Mike told me that once you go to the same spot seven times, you’re a regular and that’s always stuck with me. Whether is a restaurant or a bar or a barber shop. We all want that comfort and familiarity. We want to belong but still be ourselves.”
Mike on why barbershops are important:
“Barbershops are your ‘third’ place. It’s not your home, and it’s not your office. It’s a place where you voluntarily come, and it’s easy to become a member. And there are people there that you’d normally never interact with outside of the barbershop. It allows you to become a member of a broader community.”
Alec on what’s next:
“I don’t know. And I love that, honestly. That’s what’s great about New York. I could walk out my door tomorrow and meet somebody who changes the entire progression of my life and I’m open to that.”
Mike on what’s next:
“My grandfather was slipping into dementia and after every meal, he would forget that he’d just eaten. So he’d slap the table and say, ‘what’s next?’ I’d have to tell him, ‘nothing’s next.’ We’re just sitting here. Just sit.”
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