Support your Local Barber

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

We go to local barbershops to get good haircuts. We go to local barbershops after work on Friday afternoons to get fresh for a night out. And we go on Saturday mornings when we’re hungover and regretting all the decisions we made the night before. We go to barbershops before the major events in our lives; first dates, weddings, family reunions, graduations. 

We go to barbershops because for at least the thirty minutes that you get to sit in that chair, listening to conversations through the buzz of the clippers, nothing else matters. You can’t check your phone, you can’t go anywhere, you can’t fix anything. All you can do is relax and talk to the heavily tattooed man standing behind you, holding a knife to your neck.

I interviewed Jake Morissee at Annex Barbershop in the Paseo a few weeks ago and I’ve been procrastinating actually writing about it since then. It’s a crazy time to be a person, and with everything going on in the world and in my personal life, I haven’t been able to get myself to sit down and write some organized thoughts about barbers. But listening back on our conversation in hindsight, it seems that what Jake had to say weeks ago is even more relevant.

“Annex started with Max, the owner. He went out and found Kenny, and then he found me,” Jake told me. “We’ve been here since about August of 2014. It’s our own little clubhouse I guess”

Annex in the Paseo is found on the second floor of an old mansion, which is also home to a couple art galleries and a salon. I started going to Jake a few months ago because Annex is a few blocks away from my office. He’s exceptionally talented and fast. In and out in thirty minutes on my lunch break, it’s fantastic. If you’ve never been a person who consistently visits a regular barber, you should find one. It feels like an honor to hear “just the usual?” when you walk in. It feels like somebody in your community knows and remembers you.

“I think a lot of what’s being lost in barber culture somewhat is a sense of community. I think with social media, and I mean we’re all guilty of it, but in barbering it seems like everybody’s trying to have some sense of celebrity. But in the end, what the barbershop means is a place for people to come together”

Jake has been in the Paseo for a long time. People around the neighborhood take their community seriously, in a city that already cares a great deal about fostering communities.

“We care that it’s a place where everybody feels welcomed and safe. It’s important to us that nobody feels judged because of their religion or their skin color or sexual orientation or whatever. It’s important to us that everybody feels loved and that they know they can come get a good haircut regardless of who they are.”

Jake is an old-school barber in an old-school barbershop. He started before Oklahoma changed certain aspects of their licensing law.

“I was one of the last traditional apprentices in the state before the laws changed. So the laws used to be that if you were a barber for two years, you could take an apprentice. That meant instead of going to school for 1500 hours, you could do an apprenticeship for 3000. So I doubled my time but I really invested a lot more in the education I guess.”

I asked Jake how he got into the profession in the first place.

“I started under my mentor Josh, the owner of Bluejay’s barbershop in Enid. I was in a band at the time, he was opening a barbershop underneath the loft where we were recording an album. So I went to get my haircut and hangout, kept going back, one day he just kinda said ‘hey I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about being a barber, but I think you’d be really good at it, you have a good personality for it.’”

“But, at the time I was playing in bands and bartending and like ‘oh no I’m chasing the dream.’ About two years later I went back and just bothered him until he took me on as his apprentice.”

Jake told me that he cares about serving customers without ego or pretension.

“I don’t want to be a guy that takes away any sense of control, like we already don’t have a lot of control over our lives in today’s world, we’re all living by the standards of a lot of different people. Even if it’s as simple as being able to say “this is what I want” in terms of a haircut, and having somebody help you get to the best version of that, I think that’s really important.”

I think barbers are really cool people, and I think barbershops are cool places to be. It seems like it could be a great occupation. You get to talk to people about their lives, you see the immediate results of your work, and you get to see the look on your customer’s faces when they look in the mirror and say “yeah, that’s right.”

Jake had advice for anybody who might want to get paid for cutting hair.

“I think there’s a trend of a lot of people wanting to go be a barber because it seems like a cool job, and I mean it is it’s tight. We get to have face tattoos and live by our own rules in some sense. But, what I would say to anybody who wants to cut hair, is that it’s an intense amount of emotional and physical work. You’re always in the barbershop, and you’re really invested in quick 30 minute conversations, 15 or 20 times a day. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding work and it should be carried on. You always hope that the next generation is going to recognize the importance of the work.”

Jake isn’t cutting anybody’s hair right now for obvious reasons. But if you want to get a great cut from a great guy whenever we all get to come out of hiding, you can prepay with a gift card through his website.

Stay inside and wash your hands.

Samuel Morstain Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

#barber #local #okc #Oklahoma

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