A Saturday At The Barbershop With The Guys In Annapolis – September 10th 2011

I had my schedule pretty well laid out this past Saturday, first breakfast downtown, then a trip to the barbershop – which was well overdue, and finally I would head waterside to relax before the rains arrived later in the afternoon. For the most part I actually did accomplish all of those things that I had set out to do that day and then some. That ‘then some‘ was spending a good part of that Saturday at a local barbershop with a group of guys from multiple groomsmen parties for weddings that were scheduled to occur in Annapolis that very day. In addition to becoming part of those groomsmen parties that day I was also fortunate enough to be able to come to know some of the regulars who hangout at this Maryland Avenue barbershop. Little did I know there at the beginning of that Saturday morning that I would find myself in the midst of a male tinged atmosphere full of laughter, jokes and conversations more reminiscent of a neighborhood bar than a barbershop for most of the day.

So by a simple twist of fate that Saturday morning I had found myself sitting among ten other gentlemen, whom I had never met before, drinking coffee, eating donuts, listening to stories and following their conversations while at the same time experiencing the sense of friendship that certainly existed within these two groomsmen parties. The other notable observation that I would make that day is how Faraj seemed to be the catalyst that made this day with the guys at the barbershop really be a memorable occasion for everyone who was there to experience it.

Read on then to learn more about my day at the barbershop.


Faraj Capistrano Master Barber and Proprietor Of Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland September 10th 2011

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Faraj greeted me when I arrived at his barbershop early that Saturday morning where I was looking to get that long overdue haircut. The coffee was not ready yet so I sat down in the barber chair to get my hair cut and also to spend some time talking with my neighbor for a bit for you see our busy schedules preclude this from happening on a regular basis at our houses. I spent this time while I was in the barber chair speaking with Faraj about business – both of ours, boats along with some of the things that had been going on in our neighborhood recently.

It was while I was sitting in the barber chair that Faraj began telling me about one aspect of his business that he has found himself doing more – groomsmen parties as they are called, where members of a groom’s party come in for haircuts and shaves the morning of the wedding. On this particular Saturday Faraj told me that he was expecting two groomsmen parties to come to the shop at any moment so it sounded like it was going to be a pretty busy day for him as well as Sam, his fellow barber. So after about twenty minutes of sitting in the barber chair my haircut was finished so now it was time for me to get that cup of coffee before I headed out the door and the other activities of the day.


The Guys Gather At The Capistrano Barbershop On A Saturday Morning Here In Annapolis Maryland

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Within just a few minutes of having gotten out of the barber chair, and before I could put the cream in my coffee, both groomsmen parties began to arrive at the barbershop, along with one of the shop’s regular customer all of whom where ready for their respective shaves and haircuts. The first groomsmen party was made up of Brandon, who I believe was going to be the best man that day and is seen here sitting in the barber chair, along with Dan, the groom, who is not seen in this picture. Brandon settled into Sam’s barber chair and Dan took a seat in Faraj’s ready to be “cleaned up” for the upcoming wedding ceremony.

Meanwhile the second groomsmen party, who apparently were mostly from the Philadelphia area, got comfortable in the waiting chairs, as well as in some of the empty barber chairs, as they helped themselves to coffee and doughnuts that Faraj had picked up from Carlson’s Donuts and Thai Kitchen that morning. No you did not read that last sentence wrong nor did I make a mistake in composing it because there actually is a doughnut shop here in Annapolis that is also a Thai restaurant. Without a doubt Carlson’s Donuts is known for having some of the best ones in Annapolis hands down just check out Yelp or some of the other food review websites and see what people have to say about Carlson’s Donuts. As Sam began to work on Brandon and Faraj started on Dan the conversations and laughter began to flow back and fourth across the shop as the guys found their conversational groove.


Dan Gets Shaved By Faraj At The Capistrano Barbershop On His Wedding Day Annapolis Maryland

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Dan, the groom in the first groomsmen party, seemed to be in good spirits as Faraj began to shave him while the rest of the guys were laughing and joking about all of the weddings that seemed to be going on here in Annapolis. In the course of a conversation it came to light that Brandon, who was going to be Dan’s best man at his wedding that day, had himself had just gotten married on Labor Day. As I sat there listening to these guys talk about all of the weddings that seemed to be going on in Annapolis recently I began to wonder if there just might be something in the water here and also that perhaps I need to stick to the bottled type.


Brandon Smiles With Sam As Joe In The Green Hat Waits For His Turn At Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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Brandon seemed to have enjoyed himself that day in the barber chair and he did share with us that he had never in his life gotten a straight shave at a barbershop before but that he really did enjoy it along with commenting that his face felt so clean and smooth afterwards.

Now as the morning progressed there in the barbershop the guys were still smiling and the laughter seemed to be getting a bit louder as the direction of the conversations veered from that of weddings to sports and also to other male topics of interests. As to the sports talk that was going on back and forth between some of the guys I myself found it a bit ironic that here I was, an Annapolitan on my home turf of Annapolis, and that the barbershop was full of Philadelphia fans. So as the music played in the background the talk continued on, not only just about sports but also about some of the best places to experience different things in a particular city, about people in general, celebrities and as well as of the activities that went on the night before their respective wedding ceremonies. I guess at any one time that there were probably four different conversations going on between the ten guys in the shop, Faraj and Sam.


Kevin Looks A Bit Tense As He Prepares To Get Shaved By Sam At The Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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Around 10:15 or so Dan’s wedding group had been taken care of and they were now bidding everyone a good bye as they left the shop but as it happened just as they were leaving two more of the shop’s regular customers came in looking to get their haircut. These customers did not seem to be in any sort of a hurry that morning so despite the crowd already present in the shop these guys just headed to the coffee pot, grabbed a doughnut and joined the rest of the guys waiting for their turn in the barber chair.

As Dean, one of the recent arrivals, and the other gentleman who came in with him were getting their coffee I noticed that Kevin from Joe’s wedding party and pictured above, who was now sitting in Sam’s barber chair, seemed to be exhibiting some trepidation about getting his head shaved.  It seemed that way to me anyway just by the way that Kevin was tightly gripping the arms of the barber chair as well as the look on his face throughout his shave. As it turned out Kevin did just fine as Sam trimmed his goatee, shaved his head as well as the rest of his face. Joe, the groom of this Philadelphia area wedding party, was in the Faraj’s barber chair now and his friends seemed to be giving him a friendly hard time about his upcoming wedding as they continued to joke with each other.


Joe Relaxes With A Lathered Face In The Barber Chair At The Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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Pictured here is Joe, the groom from Philadelphia, relaxing with a lathered face in the barber chair. Joe is a member of the Naval Reserve and he and his future, by now current, wife have been coming to Annapolis for Navy Football games as well as just to visit over the years and he shared with me that they always enjoyed their trips here. Joe later added that on one of their visits to Annapolis that they decided to get married in the city.

Joe went on to tell me about how he and his future wife were walking past St. Anne’s Church on Church Circle one day when they decided to stop inside and asked if it would be possible to get married in the church. Well as fate would have it the officials at St. Anne’s Church agreed to them being married there so is all that was left was to finalize their plans for the ceremony and reception that would be held here in Annapolis. Joe and his wife were holding their reception at the Marriott Annapolis Hotel on Compromise Street immediately after the ceremony and Joe joked with Faraj that he could stop by the reception after he finished work however he would have to bring along his scissors. Joe also shared with me that he and his wife were planing on returning to Annapolis the following year for their first anniversary. I have to say that Joe, his brother and friends were all just a great group of guys to hang out with that day there in the barbershop.


Andrew Watches Kevin In The Other Chair At The Capistrano Barbershop As Regular Customer Dean Reads The Paper In Annapolis Maryland

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The topics of conversation at that point of the day was now sports and one particular item being discussed was the new look of the University of Maryland football team uniforms. For the most part the guys seemed to like them and felt that they make a very bold statement on the field. Actually I did not hear anyone say that they disliked them. Another topic that morning was where to get the best Cheese Steak in Philadelphia. There were two or three places that seemed to be favored by these guys from the City of Brotherly Love although no final consensus seemed to have been reached among them. For those of you looking for their favorites picks they were Geno’s Steaks, Tony Luke’s and I believe Pat’s King of Steaks. Guys thanks for sharing your favorite places to get a Cheese Steak at with us and I will keep them in mind the next time I find myself heading up Interstate 95.


Dean and Faraj Enjoy a Lighthearted Moment At The Capistrano Barbershop Here In Annapolis Maryland

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Dean, seen here in the barber chair, has been a regular at the Capistrano’s Barbershop since it opened earlier in the year. He seemed to be a keen observer of what was going on in the shop that day as he was sitting in the chair drinking coffee and reading the newspaper waiting for his turn with Faraj. Dean and I talked about a recent article in the Washington Post about a fighter pilot who was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base on September 11th 2001 and was facing the possibility of having to use her plane to crash into a hijacked airliner which at the time was heading towards Washington ten years ago. I was simply amazed by the number of different things that the guys were talking about in the barbershop that late summer day in Annapolis Maryland.

A writers observation here – there was no talk about politics or religion in the barbershop that day and I do not know if this is an unspoken agreement among people at most barbershops or not.


John Gets His Head Lathered As His Friend Joe Looks On At The Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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John, who was part of Joe’s wedding party and seen here sitting in the barber chair, had the complete treatment from Faraj that day. Obviously a clean shaven man in his own right John is seen in this picture getting his head lathered by Faraj in preparation for his head shave. If my memory serves me right pretty much everyone in the wedding party was pretty relaxed at this point and Joe was looking to get a picture of John with his head covered in lather so that he could tease him about it in the future.

Of course out of respect for Joe and his recent nuptials I have not posted any pictures of Joe getting his eye brows threaded that day by Faraj. However I can tell all of you that his friends really seemed to enjoy seeing Joe grimness in pain as Faraj pressed that cat thread down on his forehead. Remember Joe I have the pictures to prove it – ha ha.


Kevin And John Are Seen Relaxing Sitting In The Window At The Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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As the early afternoon arrived Joe seemed like he was a little bit more nervous than he was earlier in the morning. Here Joe can be seen sitting with Kevin enjoying a conversation together as John is still in the barber chair about to get his face shaved by Faraj. It seemed to me that Joe was so very fortunate to have such a group of stand up guys like Kevin, Chris, John, Mike and his brother Andrew with him that day to not only tease him at times, helping him relax I think, but also to be there for him on this special day in his life.


John Laughs As Faraj Finishes Him Up At The Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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Well the day at the barbershop was wrapping up for me and the guys from Philadelphia as John was getting some final attention from Faraj. Of course the laughs were still in evidence as the eyebrow threading took place which seemed to me to be either really painful or really funny depending on what particular chair that you were sitting in at the time. Also remember guys that what went on in the barbershop that day stays in the barbershop – agreed?


Chris Faraj John Andrew Kevin and Joe In Front Of The Capistrano Barbershop In Annapolis Maryland

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The guys from Philly were getting ready to head back to the O’Callaghan Hotel because they had a wedding to get ready for later that day. So before they did leave the barbershop they were nice enough to pose together for one last picture for me. Here are the guys from Philly, minus Mike who had left the shop earlier, but with Faraj, outside here on Maryland Avenue just as the sun was breaking through the clouds in Annapolis.

So in wrapping up this post I would say to you the next time that you are heading over to the local barbershop for a haircut just think about this story for a moment because you never know just who you might meet there that day,


Personal Note: From a personal standpoint I would like to say thank you to all the guys in the barbershop that I had the pleasure of meeting this past Saturday because it was a great experience for me hanging out with all of you and sharing the day. Joe congratulations on your marriage and guys keep giving him a hard time whenever you feel that he deserves it.

Also: If you are interested in having your own Groomsmen Party in the Annapolis area than please give Faraj a call at (410) 697-5727 because I can attest to the fact that you and your friends will have a great time. If you are looking for someone to preserve the moments of your own groomsmen party in pictures and words than send me an e-mail for I am really hooked on these events now.

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