I needed a quick cut and shave, my usual guy was closed, and the shop down the road was a tinge more masculine, or so I thought, than the other joints nearby. It was still one of those Brooklyn neo-barbers, complete with tatted-up staff, dark walls, steel accents with live edge countertops, trailing golden pothos and old-timey photographs of men sporting dramatic mustaches.

On the Brooklyn scale of pretension, it ranked low compared to the rest, where you’ll find a bundle of demure waifs stationed in leather aprons as they balance brass clippers with outstretched pinkies, like...

I needed a quick cut and shave, my usual guy was closed, and the shop down the road was a tinge more masculine, or so I thought, than the other joints nearby. It was still one of those Brooklyn neo-barbers, complete with tatted-up staff, dark walls, steel accents with live edge countertops, trailing golden pothos and old-timey photographs of men sporting dramatic mustaches.

On the Brooklyn scale of pretension, it ranked low compared to the rest, where you’ll find a bundle of demure waifs stationed in leather aprons as they balance brass clippers with outstretched pinkies, like martini glasses, delivering fades with delicate upward flicks of the wrist — that’ll be $150.

“She’s running a little late,” the owner said of the barber to whom I’d been assigned. She? I shuddered. I politely collected my things and walked out. Women do a fine job of cutting hair — I have plenty of women hairdresser friends — but they belong in beauty parlors or salons, not barbershops.

Lady barbers are suddenly everywhere. First boardrooms and golf clubs, now barbershops: one of the less justifiable entries on a long list of male spaces under siege by busybody broads who refuse to see just how unwelcome they are, enabled by men too polite to tell them. Not even childhood is safe: a few years ago, the Boy Scouts of America announced that girls would be allowed to join.

I hate to break it to you, ladies, but no man wants a woman barber. Just look around the barbershop at the hapless bastard who finds himself in the woman’s chair. Coerced into taking one for the team, he looks castrated and ashamed. Poor guy, everyone’s thinking, glad it’s not me.

These suspicions were all but confirmed when my own regular barber mentioned a new lady hire. I looked at him disapprovingly and he sighed. “Do any of your customers really want a woman cutting their hair?” I asked.

He grimaced and bobbed his head from side to side, “Yeah, I know. But she’s cool,” he said. By that, I later saw, he meant she’s a bullish little meatball of a lesbian, which is marginally better, I suppose. The right kind can pal around with the guys just fine; thirty-year-old white vegans who identify as “queer” and don a utility belt to house their shears and clippers can’t.

She’s always the same person, this lady barber. For clues to her dynamic, check the charcuterie board of ink splotched down her limbs. There you’ll find a sampling of tattoos common with this type of cool gal: a two-inch line drawing of the state she’s from (usually Ohio); a Western or maritime figure inspired by Sailor Jerry; a houseplant; and some sort of cryptic emblem she designed herself that, back in college, held spiritual relevance but today she’s just sick of being asked about it. She drinks straight whisky because that’s what tough chicks do. If you spend enough time around her, more than once she’ll announce with feigned ambivalence that all her friends happen to be men. Women are just too backstabbing, y’know?

The feeling probably isn’t mutual. Men aren’t comfortable to fully be themselves when there’s a woman around. She may think she’s one of the guys, but pull her best friends aside and confide about the hanger-on in a skirt and they’ll probably say they hoped for more than friendship, and when that never panned out, she just stuck around.

And that’s the heart of it. Women injecting themselves into male spaces is misandrist. They’re driven into dens of manhood by a desire to temper, manipulate and control. While it ends up being far less cruel, perverted or violent than when men do the same (see recent headlines about locker rooms and women’s sports), sane people agree society is better off when the genders respect a few segregated spaces.

Here’s the second problem with female barbers: women don’t listen, especially when it comes to aesthetics. Male and female ideas of what looks good on a man differ. Men want to look tough. Women find that frightening. The lady barber will soften up your look without your consent. You may want straight lines and severity, but she wants cuddly lumberjack. Show her a picture of Conor McGregor and all she sees is the Brawny paper-towel man.

That’s not to say women should never be allowed in your local barbershop. Who doesn’t appreciate the mom taking her toddler or school-aged son to the man den for a haircut? And we’re all familiar with a certain type of woman who really does amplify a male space. At the barbershop she’s the bookkeeper, receptionist or manager. She might be a gussied-up, foul-mouthed mom, herself a tinge misogynistic, and probably grew up with at least five brothers. She doesn’t think she’s one of the guys, but she appreciates men and guys feel at ease around her. Maybe it’s because she older, and probably doesn’t read many leftist blogs. Or maybe it’s because you don’t get the sense she’s trying to disrupt nature for the sake of her Instagram. Whatever it is, she’s what those scissor sisters think they are, yet something is manifestly different.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s September 2022 World edition.