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   Date: 2/16/10 Bookmark and Share

The Smith College Barbershop

By Julie Colatrella ’12

Climb up to the second floor of Albright House on pretty much any day of the week and you will be greeted with music pumping out of speakers, a clamor of voices fighting to be heard, and large groups of people in small spaces.

Amateur barber Julie Colatrella ’12 measures a tress for the next snip.

Yes, it is a party, but not the kind immediately drawn to mind. It’s the kind that involves a chair in front of a mirror, buzzers, scissors, razors, and chunks of hair falling to the floor. It’s the phenomenon known as the Smith College barbershop, and it’s conveniently located in a bathroom near you.

I personally entered the college hair-cutting scene last year when I decided to hack off all my hair and realized I trusted no one but myself to understand the weird angle I was going for. I picked up a pair of household scissors lying around my room and gingerly snipped a stray piece of hair at the back of my head.

Realizing how painless and easy it was, I began applying the snipping action to the rest of my head. Wherever I was displeased with a flyaway, snip snip.

After months of practice, I gained confidence with the metal sheers in my hand. Soon, friends came to me for help trimming their bangs or fixing their split ends. After a while I began to get creative.

Julie's handiwork before...

...and shortly after.

By the time I arrived at Smith this year to start my sophomore stint, I was using people’s heads as blank canvases, demanding that they allow me to give them the hairstyle I think will look best on them.

Luckily, I live in a house with some pretty daring people. They have not only allowed me to do whatever I please with their heads, but come to me on a pretty frequent basis.

“I love getting my hair cut in the house because it’s completely spur-of-the-moment,” says Molly Gavin ’12, who has bravely occupied my second floor bathroom/barber chair multiple times. “Not to mention, it’s free and more sustainable than businesses that use all those chemicals and weird procedures.”

Emily Fuller ’12 has similar sentiments about the benefits of in-house haircuts: “I feel like it’s community-reliant, which means I can communicate what I want a lot easier because the people cutting my hair are my friends. They know me and they know what I want and I trust them.”

Many a shaved Smith head is the result of one of these parties. One Smithie decides she’s tired of the surfer-boy look and the party’s on. The music’s cranked, scissors are unsheathed, others gather, and suddenly everyone in the house wants some dramatic fashion sculpted on their heads.

Why not? College is supposed to be the time when we let loose, right? And if the cuts are free and the hair grows back, this is definitely one of those things we should experiment with while at Smith.


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