I arrive at Ruffians with a beard and shoulder length hair, the ideal candidate to test their ideology of being somewhere between a barbers and a salon - leaving their £5-a-cut neighbours to deal with short backs and sides.
The beard is in no circumstances to be touched; it is "too sacred" - Ian Fallon, Manager and my barber on the day poignantly notes - given my Jesus-esque look. I am open to ideas as what to do with my lazily cultivated locks, in the hope of resurrecting some kind of managable style, apologetically admitting it has been over a year since my last cut.
On first entering I can't help but note the row of iPads, thinking there may have been some kind of development in barber technology over the past year, where I could pick a style in an App. Alas this is not the case. Instead a good old fashioned chat over a coffee from their in-house machine is to determine my follicular destiny - the iPads there as an improvement on a dog eared copy of Angler's Mail that my childhood barber offered to keep waiting customers entertained.
We walk to the 'wet area' where I am treated to a head massage, noting the stylish, vintage-looking barbers' chairs which were imported from Japan and lovingly restored to fit with the impressive interior design. Styled somewhere between a locker room and a western saloon, caged metal lockers sit alongside chunky wooden fittings on indigo walls, setting a suitably masculine tone.
The visual experience doesn't end with the interior decor, with strong branding adorning towels, coffee cups and bespoke grooming products - lined up like bottles of moonshine on bare wooden shelves. Of the products, Ian informed me of the years' worth of research that had gone into developing the various potions to ensure their quality - anti-dandruff shampoo that aims to actually tackle the problem and putties that contain less than 80% petrol.
I was having some texturising putty applied to my somewhat shorter barnet when it became apparent there had been a bit of confusion about the styling. Against my slightly panicked disposition Ian calmly and diligently recovered to produce the style I hadn't even realised I was looking for. During the cutting, the chat was easy, with no mention of future holiday plans, set to an impressive soundtrack that could have easily been hand picked by any music-loving Skinny reader.
My cut has since grown in very nicely and it would appear that the attention to detail evident from the coffee to the chairs at Ruffians translates to the quality of the cut. In addition to the advice passed on by Ian on the day, the Ruffians website offers an informative guide to male grooming and is well worth a visit, particularly if you're looking to find out how to pull of the current must have 'do' - the Don Draper.