This past weekend, luck put me on my way to Philadelphia on a Saturday. As soon as I realized that Max’s would still be open I called for an appointment and he had an opening at 5:00 PM. Maxamillion’s Gentlemen’s Quarters is a barber shop in the Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia. I stumbled upon his shop a little over a year ago, while walking around the area. I have been to several men’s saloons, unisex saloons and hair “chop-shops” but nothing like Max’s. A large window overlooking Chestnut street, mahogany and oak mirrors and chairs, jazz & blues music playing in the background, the lingering smell of aftershave, a shoe-shine boy, and photographs on the wall of the famous people’s hair that have been cut at this establishment.
Max is a imposing, black man in what seems like his early 50’s. Always a smile and a wave for everyone that walks by the window, he’s always dressed impeccably, be it his white barber coat or a denim jacket from the 80s. His shoes are polished so that the gleaming light reflects of them. His hair and beard are always perfectly trimmed.
Is it any wonder that the best haircut’s I’ve ever received have been from Max? He pays attention to every line with the shaver, every trim with the scissors and every draw of the comb. When I leave Max’s 30 minutes after I sit in the barber’s chair, I look better and feel better. It’s a true men’s salon, not like the namby-pamby establishments that surround it. A man should only get his hair cut by another man, and preferably by a black man. They know style. Now I just hope that I’ll have a head of hair long enough to keep enjoying these fantastic haircuts.