Battleships can spend months at sea, requiring them to be small cities, with all of the moving, complicated, necessary parts a typical municipality boasts.
One of those parts doesn't always receive the spotlight, but it was, and is, an essential gear in the operation: the barbershop. Sailors on the ship had to keep their locks shipshape, and the ship's barber was there with his shears and pomades, ready to do the job.
The Battleship USS Iowa, often called the "Battleship of Presidents," has a barbershop, too, of course, one that served the many servicemen who lived on the ship after its 1942 launch. The shop has long been closed to those looking for a touch-up around the ears, but that will change on Monday, April 11 when the chairs briefly reopen.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Reopen for but a day, we should say. It's a special event, in honor of Barbershop Quartet Day, and there shall be a barbershop quartet on hand in the form of Men in Stripes. Find the performers on the Captain's Veranda from 11 a.m. to 2 in the afternoon, humming and harmonizing in that quintessential old-timey way that is the hallmark of the nostalgic singing groups.
As for what's happening in the barbershop proper? A-Barbershop of Long Beach will wield the shears and razors from 10 in the morning to 4 o'clock to anyone looking for a trim. Cost? It's thirty dollars, which also includes a self-guided tour of the expansive battleship. (That price doesn't include the tip, just fyi.)
Here's your reservation info. (You will want to reserve your appointment; just note they are on the half hours.) It's described as a family friendly event, so if your tot needs a bang trim, she is most welcome, as is anyone looking for a quick, quality cut.
If you'd like to pose for a picture in the very chair where President George H.W. Bush got a haircut, you can, for "an additional donation."
One thing to consider: There are some ladders involved, getting to and from the shop, which is located on the third deck. Best check out the Battleship Iowa site for more information.
It isn't often that we visit historic landmarks with the sole purpose of viewing the daily stuff of life, such as haircuts. But even truly famous places, and vessels in this instance, couldn't operate without folding that daily stuff into the running of the enterprise.
As it turns out, the daily stuff, like haircuts aboard a ship, are incredibly important, too.