After 60 years, Joe the Barber can still cut it
Joe Punzo has seen his share of hairstyles — but says 1960s had the best
If Joe Punzo didn't get caught skipping school when he young boy in Italy, he might never have become a barber.
But his teacher tattled, and his father had enough.
"He took me by my ear, and took he took me to the piazza, which was about four or five blocks away, and he went to his barber and he said 'Carlo, this is my son Joe, he's gonna be a barber.' And that's why I'm a barber."
'Nobody's going to kick me out'
Sixty years after moving to Canada, Joe the Barber is still in business.
I love it. People come and talk and tell stories. —Joe Punzo, a.k.a. Joe the Barber
Many of those years were spent in Toronto. Punzo moved to Charlottetown eight years ago "to retire," but he's now working six days a week. He said his daughter, Marley, will eventually take over the business.
"This trade is something that I really like. I'm 75 years old and I'm still working. And I'm busy, too," he said.
"Maybe if I was working for somebody else, they would kick me out but I work for myself so nobody's going to kick me out."
All walks of life
Over the years, Punzo has had some big celebrities in his chair including George Lucas, Charles Bronson, Gordon Lightfoot and Pat Boone.
He's even tackled Bruno Gerussi's curly Beachcomber locks.
"I love it," he said. "People come and talk and tell stories. This guy's a golfer — I talk about golf. That guy's a fisherman, I talk about fishing. That gentlemen over there he's a businessman, I talk about business. So we talk about everything possible."
Punzo has seen hairstyles change through the years.
"I remember when I first got into the shop it was brush cuts, then it was crew cut, boogie cut, the Elvis Presley style."
He said the best era for men's hair was in the 1960s — "when the Beatles came out."
Customer's always right
But he said no hairstyle is bad, even the much-maligned mullet, if the customer likes it.
"You do what people like. If you come to me and say give me this style, that's what I'll do because you the one who pays me, and you the one who's the boss."
Punzo said it was a challenge in the 1970s when customers would ask for a haircut in the style then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
"People with lots of hair would come and say, 'Can I get a Pierre Trudeau style?' and you couldn't do it because Pierre Trudeau was bald. We would laugh but you had to please people."
He said there is one style, however, he doubts he could ever do — the U.S. president's.
"What is it? It must be a wig. I really don't know what it is," Punzo said. "No, no, you can't do a Donald Trump haircut."
"This trade is something that I really like," says Joe the Barber. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PEI?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PEI</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/barber?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#barber</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/haircut?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#haircut</a> <a href="https://t.co/XZuY7hBGiy">pic.twitter.com/XZuY7hBGiy</a>—@ShaneRoss500