Baltimore Evening Sun (30 August 1911): 6.


From one whose sufferings, unfortunately, do not constitute a solo a capella:

This morning I got shaved in the ------ Hotel. I siad to the barber: “Wash my face with plain, cold water. I don’t want any of your powders and greases.” He said, “Yes, sir,” and then, believe me, he straightway filled the hollow of his paw with some sort of stinking, oily stuff and slapped it on my face! Was it imbecility or depravity? Why can’t decent, cleanly men be protected from such assaults? Why doesn’t the law step in and send such ruffians to the penitentiary?

A just complaint, and one in which many a Baltimorean will join. What has come over the barbers of late? Has the invention of the safety razor driven them to desperation, unbalanced their minds? Certainly no other public servitors are so brutally callous to the plain wishes and rights of their patrons. On the one hand they run to duller and duller razors, to fouler and fouler perfumes, to a more and more absurd style of hair-cutting–and on the other hand they raise their prices steadily, and constantly invent and put into practice (often without permission) new devices for separating the patron from his money.

Nothing is more painful to a self-respecting man than to have scents rubbed into his hair or powder sprinkled upon his face. Such things are womanish and hence offensive. The feel of pigment upon the skin may be agreeable to women, and even if it is not, most of them have got used to it, but to all normal men it is intensely uncomfortable. And yet all barbers insist upon sprinkling their customers with fuller’s earth or rice flour, and nine times out of ten, they sprinkle it upon a substratum or filler of witch hazel, raspberry tonic or other such sticky and creepy stuff. The result is that the customer emerges from the barbaric studio feeling as if he had been varnished. Until he can get to a horse-trough and wash off the abominable lacquer he is unfit for business and ashamed to look his fellows in the eye.

It is almost impossible to escape this filthy drenching, this unspeakable bedizement. Tell a barber that you want no talcum and he will come at you with rice powder. Prohibit rice powder and he will dust you with some new and nameless earth–the latest masterpiece of his hideous art–a vile concoction of plaster of paris, corundum, buckwheat, barytes and chambermaid perfumery. And if, by any chance, you manage to head off all and sundry of these powders, then he will infallibly drench you with witch hazel, peroxide of hydrogen, acetic acid or some other such preposterous “skin food.” The one thing he cannot understand--the one idea that cannot penetrate his osseocaput–is the idea that you may actually prefer to be rinsed with plain water. Explain it to him and he will stare blankly. And when you cease and lean back he will drench you and dust you as before.

If barbers made an extra charge for the application of such disgusting enamels and cosmetics, it would be easy to deal with them. A few flat refusals to pay–and they would understand, or, at least obey. But the assault is now committed free of charge, and as a delicate attention, and so it is next to impossible to make them refrain. If you protest they apparently think that you are trying, in modesty, to escape a favor, and so they become all the more determined to confer that favor. The sanitary and æsthetic considerations underlying your objection--these, as I have said, are beyond the barbaric comprehension.

What is to be done? In the absence of adequate legislation, the sole available remedy seems to be physical force. My advice to the correspondent above, in brief, is that he seize a cuspidor and knock out the next barter who smears him with those unearthly shallacs. Let the assault constitute a test case and let the test case go to the highest courts. If there is law in the land, the ultimate judgment, I am sure, will be in favor at the citizen’s right to protect himself against unwilling defilement and disfigurement.

The standing of the clubs in the National Typhoid League for the week ending August 5:

Baltimore...................609 St. Louis...................276
New York...................319 Boston...................224
Philadelphia...................297 Cleveland...................178

Baltimore’s percentage, it will be noted, remains larger than that of the next two clubs taken together, and so the pennant seems secure. The figures show the number of cases per 100,000 of population, with the decimal points removed.

A curious contest is now going on in the German Typhoid League--with the clubs standing as follows:


The Germans, of course, are rank amateurs at all forms of manly sport. How the octuple tie will be played off remains to be seen. Berlin, very eager for the pennant, talks of importing a few kegs of Lake Roland water, while the Greater Leipzig Committee, alert for any opportunity to boom the town, is negotiating for the flies captured during the recent Baltimore swat-the-fly tournament.

The learned and pseudo-learned professions arranged in the order of their practical uselessness:

  1. The ministry.
  2. The law.
  3. Journalism.
  4. Pedagogy.
  5. Medicine.

In the order of their essential and incurable chicanery:

  1. The law.
  2. Pedagogy.
  3. Journalism.
  4. Medicine.
  5. The ministry.

The first Chapter of a comprehensive dictionary of Vaudeville American: