As a guy in increasingly more "grown up" situations in my career, personal presentation is everything. It isn't out of vanity, or a need to "look good", rather it is a matter of looking natural. For me that is the key, and so I'm done with hair-product and styling.
Nowadays I get the correct haircut and comb my hair every morning, unless things are more casual, then I'll quickly push it forward and pat it down with my hands. But with the proper haircut I won't need gels or mousse.
I'd been told my hair naturally parted on the side...a barber once said, "your hair wants to part." So I always ask for a tapered side part, otherwise known as a "regular cut". But darned if I didn't keep encountering barbers who wanted to experiment, or give me a cut that allowed for (unnecessary) versatility. Like I said, I either comb it or I don't, so there's hardly a need to reinvent myself. I'm either casual or I'm not. I also think consistency lends to ones identity and therefore I don't want or need versatility.
Anyway, I looked around for a bit, and my search ended in the best possible way when I found one of the coolest, old school barber shops I've ever been in, and it's for men only -- Elite Barber Shop.
This is a place out of time, and that sort of nostalgia appeals to me. There is a terrific stereotypical banter between the barbers and customers, teasing, which often borders on cruel, but that's just how guys talk to each. It's never forced, but it is the authentic stuff of TV and movies.
(Look at that floor...they've actually got a kid in the shop just to sweep up and keep the place neat.)
My favorite part is there are mirrors on the wall both behind and in front of the chairs, so you always see what's going on. They're open at 8AM on Saturdays, which is perfect for me. I feel like things open later and later the older I get, and these guys get there right on time if not a few minutes early.
The price is right, and they don't try to sell you on a bunch of hair products on your way out (they just sell black plastic combs for a buck a piece). In the end, I did manage to find the right hair cut for me, but it was only in finding the right barber. The barbers I like here know what to do the second I sit down. They've been cutting hair for a while, and they take it serious, but not too serious. Like I said, you may be in for a good ribbing, so no matter what hair type you have, you'll probably need thick skin.