As is the case on most American college campuses, much of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s is under construction. The barber shop and dairy bar sit next to what is going to be “one of them fancy European hotels,” our barber informed us.
On the way from Chicago to Russell Moccasin, alongside my friend MP, an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, I stopped in Madison for breakfast and an impromptu haircut, as MP’s rock ‘n roller shag had grown, well, too shaggy.
Mickies Dairy Bar, the quintessential Wisconsin diner, offering ten milkshake flavors and several varieties of processed cheese, is situated just across the street from Camp Randall Stadium, Badger country. Football fans have been coming here for years for a warm scrambler plate to fill their stomach’s before the big game.According to The Capital Times, the typical scrambler weighs just over two pounds. It is chock full of egg, milk, gravy, sausage, bacon, potato, and as you can see a slice or two of American cheese. How I finished this monstrosity, I will never know, but I can tell you the rest of the day was awash. I was seeing the world through the fog of a dairy coma.
Growing up, I loved to go to the barber shop. I liked getting my haircut, I was fascinated by all the strange equipment, colorful tonics, and rank potions, but I also really enjoyed the small talk. It was a brand of small talk pregnant with the possibility of careening into big talk at any second, but one that always managed to know its place was safe thanks to all the sharp objects and strange creams.
Any time I get my haircut these days, the conversation ranges from talk of human dismemberment in rural Germany to images of the Papal visit to the ruins in L’Aquila, Italy, from vision quests in South America to someone’s war stories from their life as a roadie for Ratt.
Granted, mine is one wild barber shop, the conversation at Stadium Barbers in Madison, Wisconsin shared the topical breadth, as we discussed the how the town’s changed since MP’s departure in 2003, the caloric breakdown of our breakfast, and the outlandish prices New Yorkers will pay for boots.Stadium Barbers is a classic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, with the fancy European-style hotel going in next door, the proprietors feel some pressure to relocate. I hope they stick to their guns – or their scissors – and continue to give great haircuts and better service.
For more of my trip to Mickies Dairy Bar & Stadium Barbers see Flickr.