Rob Murphy

November 17, 2019

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Salt Lake City,Ut,

Member Since:

Feb 11, 2010



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

I had some success in high school and college. Winner 1985 Rod Dixon Run 

Had a fair amount of success as a Masters runner for most of my 40s. 

Short-Term Running Goals:

Have fun, not get fat, stay fit.

Long-Term Running Goals:

 Keep running in some fashion.


I teach AP European History and other courses at Alta High School. I coached the track and cross country teams at Alta for 16 years.

Married, two kids - Abby and Andy

My Twitter  @murphy_rob

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 45.25 Year: 1253.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

AM: Three mile walk around Sugarhouse Park during cross country practice. Legs still sore from the race Tuesday. I'm not as young as some people on this blog or as tough as others.

I'm going to share a simple experience I had today in order to make a semi-profound point. One of the annoying facts about moving to a new town is finding a decent place to get your hair cut. When I lived in South Carolina I went to the McAallister Square Barber Shop for most of fifteen years and the same guy cut my hair the whole time. It was what a man's barber shop is supposed to look like. Barber pole out front, chairs that were from the 1930s or so, plastic combs and Vitalis for sale by the cash register, a baseball or football game on the TV, lots of sports talk. Most importantly, no women, either cutting hair or as customers.

When I moved to Utah in 2002 I took the path of least resistance one day and went to a Supercuts. Big mistake! Problem is I got sucked into it out of convenience - they are everywhere, you don't need an appointment, and it's quick. So for ten years that's what I've been doing. Sometimes I end up with a decent haircut, but generally not.

So I needed to get my haircut today and I was thinking about how I actually used to look forward to getting my hair cut going all the way back to when I was kid with my dad. So while I was at cross country practice this morning I decided that when I got home I would google "best barber shop in Salt Lake" and go there.

So I ended up at Ray's Barbershop on 21st South and it was everything I was looking for. Excellent haircut, lots of autographed Jazz and Ute jerseys on the wall along with framed black and white photos going back years. Extra touches like actually shaving the back of your neck with hot lather and a straight razor, eyebrow trim (important when you get over 40!), and the old school shoulder rub at the end. And no women in sight. I remember back in the 70s and 80s when "unisex" styling salons became popular. It seems to me that "unisex" simply meant that the men were now going to start looking more like women. Probably acting more like women too as the atmosphere of these places is noticeably less masculine than the traditional barber shop.

Now here's where I want to make a larger point. Much has been written lately about how we are becoming more and more stratified and segmented as a society. Income disparity is at an all time high with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and a shrinking middle class. Lots of things are status symbols today that didn't used to be. Like getting your haircut. Remember when presidential candidate John Edwards took flak for his $400 haircut a few years ago? Rich people not longer get their hair cut and the same places as everyone else and this is a bad thing. We used to have what sociologists call "leveling" experiences all the time in our daily interactions. In small town America sixty years ago every man got his hair cut at the same barbershop - the doctor in the chair next to the construction worker. Everybody used to shop at the same grocery store too until Whole Foods came along and made that a sign of status as well. So we have fewer places where people of different classes mingle and share conversation and we become more and more polarized as a society. I could go further into the whole concept of gated communities and the like but I'm running out of steam.

Oh, and apologies to Jake and Bret who probably can't relate to any of this :) 

PM: Eight easy miles. Or at least as easy as it can be at 100 degrees. But according to it only "feels like" 94. Whatever. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00Weight: 0.00Calories: 0.00
From Rob on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 09:55:13 from

You're pretty tough I think! If you'd stop sending your students to the blog the average age would be much higher.

From JD on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:34:30 from

great post Rob - when i lived in salt lake i went to "Wayne's Barbershop" (on third ave.)for most of my childhood/schooldays. one barber. one chair. i don't know if he's still there - if so, then he's been in that same spot for over 50 years. now in Farmington i go to "Clarke's" same story, one guy, one chair. he's been cutting my hair for 12 years now. he's my age, so if i never move, i won't have to look for another barber for the rest of my days!

From Jake K on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:53:08 from

I can relate - I REFUSE to shop at Whole Foods b/c I am convinced they jack their prices up for no good reason!

When I used to have hair (yes, I did, at two completely different timepoints during my life it was actually shoulder length) I used to enjoy the small town barber shop experience back in good old Amsterdam, NY. Guys just hanging out, watching ESPN, and complaining about the local news. Good entertainment.

How did you get in an 8 mile PM run already? You must have been clipping off close to 5 minute miles.

From Rob on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:20:47 from

My wife cuts my hair so no comment, I've never been in a barber shop. However, on the other subject of aristocrats here is my perspective. I'm not rich, but I have a job that has enabled me to stay in some of the nicest hotels in the World. Back when I first started traveling about 15 years ago I felt very out of place, however I have noticed a change, I have commented before that you almost can't even tell a persons social status just by appearance. I've seen Multi-Billionaires running around with grand children at the pool in cutoff jeans and flip flops, I've ran on the treadmill right next to Mit Romney and couldn't tell him from any other guy in the hotel gym. If anything, in America the rich are starting to "act" more like the rest of us. Go to the Middle East or India though, that is a different story. There are 3 classes of people. Starving to death, American, or Billionaire.

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:25:46 from

Ann asked the same thing Jake when I told her she should read my blog post. "How can there be a blog post when you haven't run a step"?

I entered the mileage in ANTICIPATION of my eight mile run this afternoon where I will be clipping off the 8 minute miles.

From Bret on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:28:01 from

Nice, very nice. I cut(clipper) my own hair...what little I have left, heh. Partly for the same reasons you mentioned above. When the Palm Harbor Barber Shop (same description as Ray's) became inconvenient for me, I started going to SportsClips - with ESPN on a TV in front of every chair and barbers (er.."stylists") dressed as referees is cute and all - but $20 to run a clipper over my head made no sense. Plus it felt like I was at a Hooters restaurant. Odd.

The days when a man could go into the grocery business (meaning opening his own store) to service his local neighborhood are long since gone. Afraid the same is the case for the local barbershop. Ray may be a good barber but he's gonna have to charge you a lot more for your haircut, because he probably has to shop at Whole Foods.

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:28:04 from

Rob - Interesting thoughts. I'll have to ponder them a while and get back to you on whether you're right or not!

From Rob on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:31:01 from

I'm on the edge of my seat.

Just call my wife for the answer of whether I'm wrong or right though. The answer has already been pre-determined.

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:49:21 from

Jake - you don't think keeping "certain people" out of their stores is a good reason for WF to jack up their prices?

From Jake K on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 13:53:20 from

If they are trying to keep me out w/ their "organic" type products, then mission accomplished. I'll take my 140 mile/wk appetite to Smiths and Costco, thank you very much!

From steve ash on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:30:11 from

Love the write up! I remember as a kid going to the old "Dollar Shop" barber shop with my Dad and brothers on 7th east after breakfast at Dee's. Good memories of those times.. We are definitely becoming more and more stratified as a society, and polarized also. Especially in this state.

From Rob on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 19:14:53 from

On my drive home from work tonight I realized that dispite what you or my wife beleive I am in fact correct on this point. I think that technology has brought the social classes in America much closer together than they once were. In my parents day (I have old parents) only the rich owned cars, only the rich could afford to get on a plane and fly to Miami for a weekend on the beach. The regular working class were forced to stay home and work. There was a huge seperation in classes, where in todays society, there are of course the extreme wealthy, and poor but for the most part the middle class America can find the time and means to do things that once only the wealthy could do.

Well, gotta run. My chauffeur is informing me we are going to be late for the Ballet.

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 19:36:10 from

These are a true points you make Rob. Now I will have to ponder how we might both be right.

It's a fact that ordinary wages have not kept up with the cost of living over the past forty years. It's also true that the cost of living is higher now and there are many more things that we almost have to buy, big and small. I'll start ticking off a few things that are virtually essential now that weren't 40 years ago.

Cable/Satellite TV - TV was free when I was a kid. Only four channels, but we didn't know no better.

DVD players, cell phones, cell phone plans, computers (probably more than one), internet

Expensive lessons and sports for kids plus lots of expensive weekend travel watching your kids mediocre athletic performances in far-away cities.

Mega birthday parties for every kid every year that are at least as good as the neighbor kids birthday parties. Oh, and every kid goes home with a little bag of presents paid for by the birthday kids parents. What happened to cake and ice cream and a couple presents?

Braces for every kid because even one tooth slightly awry would scar a kid mentally for life, make them a social outcast, and be an abomination unto the Lord.

All this while real incomes for all but the richest Americans are falling.

OK, I'm spent!

From Rob on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:03:32 from

This seemed like such a boring topic at first.

I guess it's all about perspective. I feel that I have been very fortunate to have lived in the most privilaged generation, well, ever. There has not been a draft in my life time, I have never been without a job since highschool, and an economic depression meant I couldn't take the kids to Disneyland that year because I didn't have enough hotel points. I suppose there are plenty of people in hardship, but as I mentioned earlier. Take a trip to India, China, or Brazil and all of a sudden worldly problems seem to disapear.

I'm done now that I have alienated people from my blog for at least another 6 months.

From Laputka on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:13:18 from

Okay, I'm sold on Ray's, but how much is a haircut?

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:19:55 from

Again Rob, can't argue with anything you say. But to touch on another point I made and Steve Ashbaker alluded to, maybe a draft would be a good thing. I think a society is stronger when many of it's members have significant common experiences that relate to commitment to causes outside of themselves and shared sacrifice.I remember when I was growing up all the men over a certain age always talking about their World War II experiences.

Although I am not LDS, I have always felt that the two year church mission gives Utah a unique sense of cohesion that you don't find elsewhere. It's also one of those leveling experiences I referred to in my original post (and that you just mentioned) - often forcing kids from privileged backgrounds to experience something very different.

Sorry if that last comment above seemed more like a rant but I have to pay for braces soon.

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:20:47 from

$15.00 Michael. Plus the tip. Not too bad.

From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:28:19 from

Rob - now you've inspired me to me to do a whole separate post on the subject of Disneyland and other "if you build it, they will come" sites.

From Rob on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:31:44 from

"Disneyland, all that's good and bad with the world today."

From Teena Marie on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 14:12:49 from

Okay ... so I have been sitting here for about 7 minutes and 20 seconds (give or take 5 seconds) wondering if I dare comment. Is this supposed to be a "barber-like mens only" conversation? STINK ... I just don't know!!!! Am I stepping someplace that I shouldn't be!!!! Stink ... what to do????!!!! :) :) :)

Nice thought-provoking post. :) Very interesting.

I am also interested in knowing the price of the cut. Sounds like a good father's and son place for the boys of my life. One last thing ... any chance they have barbers there that specialize in black (african-american) hair? Believe me ... we have learned the hard way that it makes a difference. :)

From Lulu Walls on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 14:35:32 from

Will someone please tell me what is wrong with organic-type foods?

A pound of quinoa costs about 12 bucks at Smith's and is 1/2 to 2/3 less at Whole Foods. I am just sayin' :)

From Rob Murphy on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 14:58:27 from

Teena - you are always welcome here! $15.00 for the haircut. The black guy in the picture actually cut my hair. For what it's worth, the place seems to cater to lots of University of Utah athletes. Does that help?

Lulu - Jake brought up the organic deal. I'm pretty much with you.

From Jake K on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 14:59:22 from

Nothing wrong w/ organic. I just don't like the Whole Foods store.

From Teena Marie on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 15:03:12 from

Aaahhhh ... should have gone to the link!!!! :) :) :)

Awesome ... I think my boys will LOVE it!!!! I will keep you updated on their experience! :)

From JD on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 15:59:54 from

i never have, and never will, pay for television. except the price i pay squandering my time watching American Idol etc.

From Steve on Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 10:52:50 from

When I hit the line that said "semi-profound" I lost it. This is the best post I have ever read! You know I've told you a few times that you need to write a book and this one should be in a paper somewhere. It's just so dead on.

When I lived in Puerto Rico for a few years I discovered that they still had licensed barbers. I went to the same one for two years and it was a part of my soul. Like that scene from Clint Eastwood's latest movie. It's a guy place. I have a few places I go on trips that are still the same, most notably St. Louis which has the most old school barbers of anywhere.

Across from my hotel in Vegas is a barber/nail/manicure shop I got my hair cut in once because I ran out of time and it was midnight. It's called "Get Nailed 24/7". That's a whole different hair cut experience.

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