This is a man who wrestled for a long fucking time, who claimed Hogan as a best friend, who was known in the 80s as Babyface on account of his slick bathhouse bod and locks. His shtick, in retrospect, was that he was a Chippendale. Take a second and think about how convoluted everything is about to get. Chippendales are male strippers, typically of the hulking but effeminate sort, the kind of guys who shave their pubes into like different shapes and stuff and probably have had their butt hairs waxed.

Granted I've definitely considered this kind of hair removal process--it probably feels pretty great if you think about it--but the difference here is that I'm not a Chippendale, and didn't go through with it. Point being: Chippendales are masculine in very unmasculine ways. They have muscles but likely don't lift much--and even likelier, probably use the machines at the gym, not the freeweights, so they're not developing their stabilizing muscles, so their muscles are really truly for show. And in case you have already forgotten the image of a man having his butt hairs removed, I just want to reiterate that these Chippendale types care about their looks--to a degree that (social construct or not) is a tad on the flitty side.

The myth and genius of Brutus the Barber Beefcake is that he had his butt wax cake and ate it too: It was 100% permissible to dig Beefcake, to think this kind of lifestyle was acceptable, precisely because his muscles aren't for show. Because he was a wrestler and hurt other human beings with these muscles, etc., etc., etc.. He can care about his looks because the tool with which he cares about his looks is not a pair of tiny barber shears but enormous, cocklike garden scissors. And as an in-ring shtick, and this to me counts as one of the biggest and most biblical mindfuck the WWE has ever put to us, Barber turned "giving someone a man's haircut" into the ultimate devastating and demasculating thing anyone could possibly do to another human being. He was only a Chippendale insofar as he could chippendalize his opponent after the match. As far as retellings of the Samson story go, you can't do much better.

Except he actually doesn't hurt any human beings! This is scripted television! His for-show muscles are in the for-show service of not being for show. He is a parody of masculinity twice over.

Beyond that: You'll notice in this clip above that Barber has a full-on mullet. You're probably wondering how a man who's cut so many people's hair hasn't given himself over to a good looking trim himself. Pop quiz: Who shaves the Barber?

WWF spent years trying to figure this out in the so-called "Barbershop" sketches, in which Brutus interviewed other wrestlers. Especially after the parasailing accident in 1990, the man had a bit of an impunity to him around the federation: First the hit job he did on Earthquake from behind a mask, second the fact that WWF storyliners seemed hesitant to address the fact that Beefcake's face had been reconstructed after the emergency--that the man had actual screws and shit in his face, holding it all together. Who shaves the Barber? It drove the other wrestlers insane, reaching a bit of a climax in this scene with Sid Vicious:

Without a barbershop, WWF now put Brutus back in the ring. Amazingly, the story of his crazy fucked up face comprises the nutmeat of his comeback, and you can hear in the clip all the way above how Gorilla is just enthralled with the possibility that this man's face could just come apart again. This is an actual man's face we're talking about. When IRS takes a briefcase to Brutus's face, I still find it difficult not to flinch and/or grab my own face in self-defense.

Then there's the whole weird wordplay aspect of his operation: The "heel" is the bad guy, the "face" is the good guy, and here's Money Incorporated smashing the "face" of the "face", and for the next few months afterwards, actively trying to destabilize the man's surgery. It's all supposed to be a storyline but I mean look at the fucking mask they made "Brutus the Bionic Barber" wear:

Dude was outta here soon after.

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