Barber shop ready to move beyond politics
November 6, 2012
A traditional merchandiser of men’s tonsorial techniques, Carson City’s Capital Barber Shop is a place where a close shave election in the making gets lambasted aplenty.
For the most part, fellows there on election eve day critiqued the campaign mercilessly. And the owner said his clientele, coming into today’s climax, were about 70-30 for Republican Mitt Romney.
Crediting customers with “a lot of common sense,” owner Jeff Nichols said he pretty much agrees with them on many things as he disclosed the breakdown for the challenger over President Barack Obama.
Not a scientific poll, it was unsurprising, given that the shop at 256 W. Winnie Lane has older barbers, a clientele that often seeks short hair, and straight razor shaves or trim blocking using hot lather.
It’s a man cave with sports memorabilia and posters on the walls, a football game on TV.
Given the national split in scientific polls showing Obama with a female gender gap and Romney up among many males, Nichols anecdotal poll sounded right on target.
Polls aside, however, the males also were representative of nearly everyone’s feelings about the seemingly endless campaign.
“I can’t wait ’til it’s over,” said Mike Brown, an assistant manager at a north Carson City business that services and supplies vehicles.
“I did vote for Romney,” he said. “I just think we need someone in there that’s got some business sense. Everybody is struggling. I’ve never seen it this bad.”
He ventured his opinion while waiting his turn in Nichols’ barber chair. The man in it getting cropped closely declined to identify himself. But he said he also worked in the automotive field, though part-time, and he was less shy with an opinion than with his name.
“I think it’s going to be time to go live in a Teepee in the hills,” he said. “We need someone like (Ronald) Reagan back.”
Bob Ouellette, the barber manning one of the other chairs at the shop, worried that Obama might “pull a fast one” in the waning hours before Tuesday’s balloting is done.
He also acknowledged Obama’s chance to look presidential after Superstorm Sandy may well have helped the Democrat’s campaign of late.
Attorney Andy MacKenzie sat down in Ouellette’s chair, but was wary about opining a great deal on the topic du jour.
“Don’t get me started,” he said, sounding rueful. He did venture a comment on recent weeks: “I’ve never seen it like that.”
Awaiting his chance with Nichols, meanwhile, Pat Whitten of Virginia City expressed the most common emotions of the day, or perhaps the entire race., without divulging his vote.
“I’ll just be glad when it’s all over,” said Whitten, the Storey County manager. “Between the federal races and the local races, it has just been venomous.”
Whitten was asked if there would be “political” consequences from coming to Carson City for his haircut and bypassing some barber in Virginia City. His comment exceeded any politician’s endorsement.
“No, there’s no barber like Jeff,” said Whitten.