With November upon us, be prepared for a “monthful” of facial hair talk in most of your social outings and on social media walls. Well gentlemen, if you want to start things off with brass, class and a glass of the finest whisky, book a chair and head over to Notorious barbershop.

Being curly and unable to endure my cheek hair when it feels like it literally wants to reenter my face, I’ve never let my beard grow too long except twice. Once on an adventure-filled road trip in Baja California, Mexico, when I was 21 and wanted to walk the streets of the real “Sin City”, Tijuana, looking as manly as possible (from all the glory of my 6 feet, 150 pounds unimpressive, late-bloomed, gangly frame) and as if I’d be able to push back if trouble reared its ugly head (and it did).

The second time was in the past month, when I learned I’d be writing about Notorious and its talented crew.

So here’s a picture of that occurrence. You won’t see any from the first beard since in one of the aforementioned Mexican (mis)adventures, the beard wasn’t there (it was dancing in a cage, somewhere…) to stop a gang of thieves from breaking in the car and stealing our camera with our tens of pictures. What happened in Baja… unfortunately stayed in Baja. But I digress! Here’s what I looked like last week.

As Notorious co-owner Corey Shapiro had reassured me, the beard becomes much more tolerable when it reaches a certain length; and he would know.

with his recognizable full beard, usual cap and Vintage Frames (he owns the company).

The whole growing experience becomes even more tolerable when you use some of the very special beard oils and products he imports and keeps in stock.

Be that as it may, it was time to get rid of mine and let the pampering begin. The best of all for me had to be the head massage. Blissful stuff. I was purring like a cool cat at the end of it. But that’s my weakness, wayyyy before my stomach… and wifey knows that a little too well for my own good.

But I started with the haircut, and no disrespect to my usual “coiffeuse”, mommy dear, I liked the edgy (for me) and crisp result, which remained clean enough for me to run my business, meet clients and close deals.

I decided to let the beard grow a couple more weeks that night and went back to the shop when it almost no longer itched at all, as Shapiro had promised.

When I got there, Jack (@getjackedup) had to clip it a bit so the straight edge blade wouldn’t pull too much. He then started his own kind of pampering. Warm towel to open up the pores. Pre-shave formula to soften the hair. All that helped establish the trust and calm me before I handed over my throat and life to his scalpel-sharp blade. It may seem exaggerated, but there’s some truth in that… Anyways, it crossed my mind.

Jack then applied the nicest lathery and warmed up shave cream. I wasn’t aware of that process but it too felt really good.

When he got to work, I was apprehensive of the results because growing the beard had been an itchy process and that usually means all kinds of redness and pimples for me. But that too had disappeared, along with the skin irritation. And it gave that! A happy rejuvenated yours truly, having gone from the longest beard he’s ever had in his life to the shortest since puberty!

Jonathan B.

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*If a short-haired gal walks in, at ease in the masculine private club atmosphere of Notorious barbershop, and asks for a cut à la Miley (or Lolitta), she might just be welcomed like one of us!

Photos: Gaëlle Leroyer & Jonathan Burnham

Shapiro pic: tourisme-montreal.org

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