The barbershop “Prvi maj”

There is almost not a single person in the town who has never heard of the barbershop “Prvi maj”. That was the last barbershop in Gornji Milanovac, which was closed (privatised, to be more precise) in 2013. It was moved from the pub “Russia” which belonged to Andrija Pekić to Karađorđeva Street, where it existed for more than half a century. The barbershop “Prvi maj” belonged to the municipality. It always had between four and five master barbers. At some points, it was an independent working organisation, and at other points a social organisation. “Prvi maj” represented a real traditional barbershop and it kept that traditional appearance until the end. That might be the reason why it was appealing to the citizens of all generations.

This barbershop’s customers were villagers who came to the town on Fridays, but also doctors and judges. During the 1990s, the barbershop became a hairdressing salon, because according to the order barbers couldn’t shave people due to AIDS and other infectious diseases. Dentists were the first ones to be struck by this decision, and then barbers. It happened on numerous occasions that both a barber and a customer got cut during the shaving process, which could have caused their blood to mix and lead to the spreading of the infection. They couldn’t wear gloves because they easily dropped things that way. The tools barbers and hairdressers used included a brush, a bar of soap, razors, scissors, and a hair trimmer. When a customer was shaved, a master would clean his face with alcohol and then apply powder. They would get their scissors, hair trimmers, and razors from Germany. Hair trimmers were manual first, and then electric ones started being used at the beginning of the 1970s. Scissors were the famous “Solingen”. Barbershops also had straps for making razors sharp. Žarko, Milena-Kuma, Mićo, Miki and Milanka were barbers who spent their entire working life in “Prvi maj”, and whom every elderly man in the town has heard of. Each of them had their own client so they didn’t see each others as competitors. They always had a full barbershop, with clients waiting patiently for their master barber on the chairs placed along the shop wall.