“We cut away all the bullshit and what was left was Schorem: classic haircuts and straight razor shaves in a masculine environment.”
Bertus a.k.a The Bloody Butcher
Set up by business partners Bertus and Leen in 2010, Schorem (Dutch slang for scumbag) Haarsnijder & Barbier specialises in classic cuts and hot towel shaves. The shop’s approach to male grooming is distinctly no-frills, traditional with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. As co-founder Bertus (a.k.a The Bloody Butcher) explains, at Schorem there are “no cappuccinos, no high and lowlights or more products than your girlfriend”. Instead, there is a menu of 12 classic styles to choose from (pompadours and flattops are among the most popular) and customers are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. The establishment operates a men-only policy, reverting back to the historical roots of the barbershop as an all-male social space.
With its traditional décor, walking through Schorem’s doors feels like stepping back in time. Its team of barbers, dressed in classic white barber smocks, are impeccably groomed and heavily tattooed. “There are absolutely no standards that we use to hire people, usually we know the moment a guy walks into the shop,” Bertus says, “it has to do with passion and respect for the trade, social skills and having a bit of scumbag blood flowing through their veins”. INFRINGE caught up with Bertus to find out more.
What is the ethos behind Schorem? The main reason we opened our shop 7 years ago was to bring back the barbershop as an institution in society. We were completely fed up with the whole ‘Metroman movement’ and wanted to bring back the ‘Retroman’. We cut away all the bullshit and what was left was Schorem: classic haircuts and straight razor shaves in a masculine environment.
Some people would argue that your men-only policy is outdated now that the concept of gender hasbecome a lot more fluid. What do you think about this? People will argue about everything and that’s just fine. Back in the golden days of the barbershop it was a bit of an unwritten rule as it would be located next to the beauty salon and both sexes would leave each other alone. As a guy, getting your hair cut just isn’t your coolest moment and it’s the same thing for the gals, the moment you’re sitting under the heater with rollers in your hair sweating and smelling of perm lotion is not the moment you want your prince charming to walk in. The men-only policy has never been about women, it has always been about men – offering them a place to chew the fat among their peers without being distracted by those we love the most – girls.
So you wouldn’t say that your self-described ‘no women zone’ is potentially sexist? No, not even close, personally I think it’s sexist to go on and on about it! Men and women are different, thank god, that’s why we find each other so damn interesting, it’s all about biology. As much as a man loves his wife or girlfriend he will always have the need to just ‘hang with the guys’ just like there are things women want to talk about with each other without their fellas hanging around. It’s natural, so in a way it’s more sexist to deny each other those places and moments. Of course, we have our sports teams but those are about competition… and in bars you want to be the ‘coolest guy’ because there are ladies around. At the barbershop, everybody is there for the same reason and understanding the same sex better usually helps appreciate the other sex even more. Don’t forget we’re from The Netherlands, one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to sexuality and acceptance. To be honest, the girls love it and laugh about it, especially when we explain that Schorem is ‘the safest place in the whole wide world to leave your guy’. It’s only in other countries that it sometimes becomes an issue but hey, we’d rather be hated for who we are than loved for who we are not.
What would you say are the key differences between barbering and hairdressing? Barbering is a craft. It’s about delivering a certain product that stays the same but will take a lifetime to master. Hairdressing is more of an art form that keeps changing and where creativity plays a way bigger role. Hairdressing is about the chase, barbering is about staying the same. There’s also a huge difference between a barbershop and a hairdressing salon, the name itself says it best, the hairdressing salon is about hair, the barbershop is about the barber. This might sound arrogant but it’s the opposite. The barbershop has always been more of a social place to meet and share gossip and stories. It’s more mainstream, it’s more working class, a third place between family and your workplace where you don’t just go to get your hair cut but to be amongst those who know your name, which nowadays is highly underrated.
Schorem Haarsnijder & Barbier is at Nieuwe Binnenweg 104, 3015 BD Rotterdam, Holland
“From writing the play, I’m aware of how vast, nuanced, beautiful and delicate barbershops can be. Also, how ridiculously funny, over the top, exaggerated and naturally theatrical those spaces are.” – Inua Ellams