Hair today, gone tomorrow
Travelling barber takes it on the road

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Aug 04/00) - Barber Henry White has been servicing the Deh Cho for four years.

Originally from Goose Bay, Labrador, being a travelling barber is not something new to White.

After getting his papers in Cornerbrook Nfld., he took the show on the road, up and down the Labrador Coast.

He "wanted a change" so he moved up North and settled in Hay River, where he set up shop in the Ptarmigan Inn. He has no intention of moving back south.

"The people are nice in the North, more like one big family," White said, while he snipped.

He's also started to go into Fort Providence to offer his services, but his regular stop is in Fort Simpson.

He offers mostly men's haircuts, but will also cut short hair for women.

"I just do straight cuts I don't go around with all the chemicals for perms and hair colour," he said. "If a man wants a haircut, he doesn't want to fool around -- just in and out."

"I do a lot of women who have short hair. Just that get-up-and-go look," he said.

White makes the run into Simpson every eight weeks and says his business is building.

"It varies, but I usually do about 60 to 70 haircuts over the two days," he said.

"It's picking up. I see a lot of new faces each time I come."

Times have changed and you just can't get a shave and a haircut for two-bits anymore. And in Harry's chair, you'll only get the haircut.

"I do neck shaving, but you just cannot do a decent shave in a regular chair," White explained. "You have to have the chair where you can tilt the head at a 45-degree angle. And with AIDS and all that now, the health department has all the regulations for the sterilization equipment."

Most barbershops don't bother with shaves anymore and White said a few of the old-timers miss the straight razor shave.

"Lots of guys ask for them," he said. "It's a good shave; it will last you about three or four days."

The secret to keeping a child happy in the chair is the same with any customer, he said. You just keep the conversation up.

"I usually keep talking to them and reminding them they are going to get a candy," White said.

He doesn't get too many complaints since he keeps the cuts fairly simple, but he's careful with a certain portion of his clientele.

"Some of these bald-headed guys can be pretty fussy," he laughed. "If they don't have much on top, they don't have much to work with and they gets pissed-off if you cut it too short."