• September 19, 2014

Craft of cutting hair

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 4:30 am

From the heads of little children to a four-star general, Myloan Xindaris has cut a lot of hair at Fort Hood.

For the past 26 years, she’s been a barber on post, working in all nine of the barber shops spread across Fort Hood.

Xindaris, 64, is now the head barber on post, in charge of all the shops. She still cuts hair, working mainly at the Clear Creek Main Exchange Barber Shop, the largest on post.

“I love cutting hair,” she said, adding she has cut the hair of every rank in the Army, from private to general.

In addition to all the trimming, the longtime barber is fond of another part of her job, too.

“I love talking to my customers,” said Xindaris, a Copperas Cove resident.

Barber-customer discussions usually involve pop culture and what’s going on outside.

“Mostly we talk about the weather, TV, music,” Xindaris said. “Stuff like that.”

Despite the small talk, cutting hair on an Army post is big business.

According to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which contracts out haircutting and other services, an average of 17,000 haircuts per month are performed at Fort Hood’s barber shops. At $7.95 per haircut, that represents about $1.6 million in revenue per year.

There are 27 full- and part-time barbers who work at Fort Hood, the majority of them at Clear Creek Main Exchange, where the shop is home to 10 barber chairs and open seven days a week. Other shops, like the one at West Fort Hood, have just one chair.

But all the shops get pretty busy, especially during after-duty hours and on weekends when customers are coming in “all day long, nonstop,” Xindaris said.

‘It’s a benefit’

While most of the cliental at the Fort Hood barber shops are soldiers, there are plenty of dependents and retirees who stop by for a trim.

David Sislo, a retired first sergeant living in Cedar Park, said he comes on post once a month or so, and will get a haircut at a Fort Hood barber shop.

“It’s a benefit,” he said.

Elvin Frazier, a retired master sergeant, comes by once a week, almost religiously, to get his hair cut from Xindaris.

“That’s my Bible,” he said, indicating Xindaris as she sheared his already short hair with a pair of clippers.

Frazier began getting his hair cut from Xindaris while he was on active duty more than 10 years ago.

“(They) make you feel right at home,” he said.

From men to women

When Xindaris first started as a Fort Hood barber in 1987 — when a haircut was just $3.75 — there weren’t nearly as many female barbers as there are now.

“When I first came here, there were a lot of men,” said Xindaris, adding she was the first woman graduate of OG’s School of Hair Design in Killeen in the late 1980s. But since that time, the industry has shifted, and these days most barbers on post are women.

But no matter who is cutting the hair, soldiers need haircuts in order to meet Army regulations.

“It’s a core service,” said DiAnn Salinas, an AAFES supervisor for business services at Fort Hood. “It’s something the military has to have.”

And the barber shops at Fort Hood have a goal of doing it in a quality fashion, Salinas said, adding standards are “very, very high” when it comes to keeping things sanitized and in good order.

Xindaris makes sure friendliness is on that list, too.

“We are careful with everybody,” she said. “We make sure they get good treatment.”

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