Lessons from an Eight Dollar Haircut

This weekend was the big “spring sale” down at the local hair salon. Or barber shop, or whatever they call it. If you know me at all, then you know I’m not likely to frequent anywhere quite so fancy as to call itself a “salon.” Well, unless that salon is actually a classical French gathering of intellectuals standing around talking about the novel Candide while drinking demitasse café au laits and eating cucumber sandwiches, then also probably not, but at least I could handle the conversation about political satire in the 18th century. No, I actually went to the hair whachamacallit (remember that candy bar? Do they still make those?) to get a cheap cut and I am here on a Monday morning to share my cautionary tale with you.

The local barber shop was offering their haircuts at the low, low price of $7.99 per head. I needed a haircut. I was getting that dog hair around my ears thing that I really hate, and I’m not one for being picky when it comes to getting that fuzz shaved off. Keep in mind, the going rate I am accustomed to is twice this amount—$14.99—so the sale seemed like the perfect time to get in for that much needed trim. Let us all pause for a moment and ponder the meaning of the Latin warning of such deals: caveat emptor. Yes, let the buyer beware indeed.

My hair is now much shorter. Granted, that was the desired outcome. The sides and back of my hair look fine.  Honestly, it’s kind of hard to screw up shaving down to the skin. But, and—cue the Sir Mix-A-Lot soundtrack—this is a big but. (Get it? Because he likes big butts? Shut up.) The top and front of my hair though. . . How can I put this? It looks like I paid $7.99 for a haircut. The very front is about a half inch shorter than the top and cut at a very obvious blunt angle. This basically has the effect of making me look like either I allowed a six-year-old cut my hair with safety scissors or I had inadvertently gotten chewing gum stuck up there and was forced to take drastic action.

I thought perhaps I was just being overly sensitive to the new haircut and that no one else would notice, but no. I saw a friend last night and the first thing she said was “It’s shorter in the front.” And then she hastily added “but you can just spike that up with a bunch of product.” Thanks, friend. I was already *this* close to shaving my head. Don’t push me over the edge. Perhaps if I dye my hair blue people won’t notice. Also, I am now slathering something vaguely slimy on my head that is referred to colloquially as “product.” Product sounds like what you ask your drug dealer for when you meet in an alley.

Now, I have been complaining about the cold, rainy weather this week and have been wanting a sunny spring warm-up. Well, apparently Mom Nature has a sense of humor because it is now officially too warm and sunny to get away with wearing a stocking cap. I have three classes to teach today and any product I glop on my head is going to get sopped up by the lining of my motorcycle helmet en route to campus. This whole scenario actually sounds like the plot of a Voltaire novel after all. Don’t scoff: If motorcycles had existed when Voltaire was alive I’m sure he would have included them in some sub-plot about an idiot riding without a helmet. I’d like to say that the lesson here is “don’t cheap out on the haircuts” but honestly, given the chance, I would do it again. I am the Scrooge McDuck of beauty tips. That’s the theme of my new YouTube channel.

In summation, if you see me around town today, please don’t make fun of me. I case you’re wondering, I still tipped the hairdresser.