I'm fascinated by babershop poles. Most likely because my parents were addicted to antiquing and we grew up with all kinds of crazy crap — harpoons on the wall, a cigar store Indian and this 1920's babershop pole in our basement. When we were kids we cranked it, turned on the light and it felt like a party.
Flash ahead — I'm walking up to the truTV offices and I spy five barbershop poles on the way — there's one of them at left. Other businesses don't have a moving colorful thing to tell you what the store is, they simply have signs. Why the heck do these things still exist anywhere other than some crazy antiquers rec room?
To get more perspective on this non-burning issue, I asked three entertainment luminaries for their thoughts on babershop poles. I wanted to know where they stood on the subject: Are barbershop poles dumb or awesome? Read on for their answers.
First up, I posed the question to Alex Charak, pictured, executive producer of Dr. Cool Sex, a successful YouTube comedy channel.
Barber Poles? The hell? Other stores don't need them and get by with
signs. So… Are you pro or con barber pole in modern society and why.
Alex: I like them. They've been around for a while and are a novelty. It's
vintage. It actually does help me identify barbershops when I need them.
I'm trying to think why they even exist. It's advertising right? Before
giant TV screen ads and neon signs, we had barber poles. I got my haircut off 9th the other day. And the guy left a lot of hair in one place. But it was a $10 haircut afterall. I think places want to be seen as modern and would assume a barber pole
is something like "your old man's barbershop." They are wrong. And
should feel bad.
Then I asked Tom Tenney, seen at right, director of the RE/Mixed Media Festival — a conference filled with artastic performances and panels. Their 3rd annual festival is coming up November 10th so check out the site and register now, yo.
Hey Tom, are you pro or con barber pole?
Tom: Totally pro. Do we still need them? No, probably not, but I was recently in Rome, and there they have a similar kind of symbol for a pharmacy like a white cross on green and it was VERY helpful to find pharmacies on a crowded street.
But aren't drugs a bit more important than a haircut? Don't you think they are a bit dumb?
Tom: No, I still like them. I like the nostalgia factor.
Barber shop poles — really dumb right? Right? Everyone I've asked so far is loco for them…
Jenny: Since I am such an old-timey girl I actually like the look of old-fashioned barber poles. I think they have style and I love that I see
them coming back in all these retro-type barber shops. Sure — if you think about the actual piece, it may be silly. I mean a
shiny swirly pole? What the hell? But like I said, I think it brings
style and flair and definitely catches the eye. I would put a barber pole
outside of anything! Yes — I am pro pole!
There you have it. Everyone loves these dang babershop poles. Most people think they are dumb and yet they are considered totally awesome. Kinda like this blog, no? Yes.
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