How I Turned My Barbershop Into a Destination for Men's Mental Health Awareness
A Mancave That's Making An Impact
Family, I'm Roy Mainor, owner of F.A.C.E.S. Barber/Beauty on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois. I've been barbering since the Bulls were winning rings! Ever since my days as a young Barber working in a shop, I had the idea to do a men's empowerment thing that I now call "Mancave Monday." When I opened my shop in 2016, I immediately added this idea as one of our community outreach projects! My inspiration was a news article about another shop in Chicago that had a weekly men's meeting, and I wanted to give men and myself a platform like that. Unless a holiday gets in the way, Mancave Monday (MCM) typically takes place every last Monday of the month in the evening from 6pm central time until. I promote it mostly on social media, and the invitation is open to any man, young or old, of any race or background. The night goes according to the following format:
- In the first hour, we have food and chop it up with small talk
- then, we pray and have an ice breaker based on various topics
- We then pull topics from the "hot box" where you have to ask and answer whatever question you get and then it's open for everyone else to chime in.
- we finish the night with an open discussion
While we meet, a sporting event or motivational video of our choosing is being played on the TV for additional commentary.
When we first started Mancave Monday, attendees were men from my church and maybe one or two of my clients. We typically stuck to a script and went home exactly at 9 pm. It was impactful, but I decided to mix up the crowd to pull more out of the guys. We stayed consistent doing it over the years, and now the vibe is lit! In one room you can be sitting and talking with a factory worker, a minister, a basketball coach, or a company CEO! One time, we even had a guy come in off the street because of the food he saw on the table. He wound up staying long enough to learn how to use jumper cables. Everyone who comes leaves learning something.
I love the brotherhood that MCM provides. You never know who you're sitting next to when you come in, but you leave empowered by the fact that you have so much in common with the people in attendance with you. It's helpful to men to know and see firsthand that other men deal with the same issues, are drawn to similar interests, and have similar motivations. I believe, if we can strengthen the heads of households, we can have stronger families!
3 Things Mancave Monday Has Accomplished
- Members have started therapy.
- Business connections are made regularly.
- It's an opportunity for me to learn more about my clients and vice versa.
In the future, I'd like to expand Mancave Monday beyond my shop and have it take place in shops around the city. Eventually, I'd like to see what we do take place at shops around the country. We're stronger together than we are apart! What we do is proven to help men look at life differently.
Undaunted. Outspoken. Trailblazers. Trendsetters. Khane Kutzwell, Kiah Lyles, Oyinlola Isiaka, and Onyinye Obasi are just some of the women in barbering who are blazing trails as barbers and busting down toxic ideologies that have had a hold on barbering for entirely too long.