PHILADELPHIA — Heavily tattooed barber Rob Moreno was reportedly “stoked” Saturday morning to give everyone the same style undercut at Brush & Steel, his trendy new barbershop, hesitant patrons confirmed.
“Around here, we do things just a little bit differently,” said Moreno, scratching his beard and adjusting his Jeff cap. “Nowadays, when dudes get their hair cut, they don’t want to go to some chain at the mall — they want to go to a hip place like this, where they can uncomfortably drink a free beer at 11 a.m. Also, they pretty much all want the same haircut.”
Moreno gave a quick tour of the waiting area, decorated with skate and hardcore punk memorabilia, as well as a poster of four combs arranged as the Black Flag logo. “This isn’t Supercuts, bitch,” he said.
Over the course of the afternoon, Moreno gave six different customers in a row a scissor-trim up top, with a faded buzz on the sides.
“Sometimes, cats will come in here and request something different, but I’m confident enough in my art to nod my head and pretend to listen to them, and then just give ‘em the ol’ high-and-tight anyway,” said Moreno, arranging a shelf of vegan beard oils. “It’s the best $45 you can spend each month.”
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However, walk-in customer Jake Singarella admitted privately that he was disappointed in the experience.
“I haven’t cut my hair in years, but my girlfriend convinced me to come in here because she said it looked like a pretty cool place,” said Singarella, who claimed he only wanted a simple trim. “When he started buzzing my sides, I tried to speak up… but Rob just started talking even louder about how he once toured with Paint It Black, so there wasn’t much I could do. He let me put a bunch of my band’s stickers next to the register, though, so I’ll probably come back.”
Sweeping the shop floor at the end of the day, Moreno reflected on his work.
“I think what’s really important about what I do is the little details,” said Moreno. “When I finish cutting someone’s hair, I like to gel it straight back in a way they never wear it, and then I clean up the cheek line of their beard in a way that’s impossible for them to maintain. It’s all a crucial part of the Brush & Steel experience.”