Friday, March 30, 2007

Splitting Hairs

In my hometown, you can get a haircut for $8. Well, I can get a haircut free from my mother, but for everyone else, $8 is the best deal you can get for having your hair shaved, trimmed, and generally lopped off. Hell, $8 is the normal price for a simple snip-and-go operation in any town. Not so in Berkeley. I've probably searched within a 2-mile radius of this place, and every haircut - every haircut, costs $15. With a price tag almost double what one's used to, what's a poor college boy to do?

Well, I've noticed there are two main haircut strategies that males in college tend to follow in order to keep their yearly costs as low as possible. These strategies, I'd say, cover about 9 out of 10 college males.

The first strategy is to get a army-style short-cut. The thinking here is that you may look like an ROTC cadet now, but you can go the longest possible time before another cut, saving you the cost of superfluous cuts.

The second is just the opposite of the army-style: the hippie-style. Basically, you don't get haircuts, and instead let you hair grow...and grow...and grow.

Each strategy has it's own advantages and disadvantages. The hippie-style is cheaper (instead of paying infrequently, you never pay), but it takes more management and has hidden costs (shampoo costs money, too!).

I've always been a follower of the army strategy for the following reasons:
1) I don't want to be associated with hippies.
2) My hair is too curly and puffy to look good long.
3) Too. Much. Hassle.

I'll touch briefly on the third point. I hate messing with my hair. I like to wake up and say, "Hey, my hair is already done. Awesome!" I like to be able to run my hand through my hair without fear of needing to comb it again. Last semester, in order to save costs, I got a haircut the day before I came back up to Cal. I also bought a bottle of gel. "As long as this gel doesn't run out, I'm not cutting my hair." And I stayed true to that. But as time went on, it became more and more of a chore. And the days I didn't take the time to fix my hair? Let's just say I could give Medusa a run for her money.

So then we come to this semester. I decided about two weeks ago that it was time to cut my hair. Now, I waited until after my grandmother's birthday party, because short hair makes me look a bit thuggish, while gelled long hair makes me look distinguished. But after that was over, it was time to put my curly locks on the chopping block.

I was on campus yesterday to turn in some forms, so I decide to stop at one of the many $15 parlors around Bancroft. I tell the guy to cut it really short on the sides, but leave enough on the top to keep it distinguished. So he does, I like how it looks, and I leave.

Today, though, I woke up and looked in the mirror and saw that I had a huge cowlick, or whatever you call it. It looked like a meteor had crashed into my hair.

"Damn, he didn't cut nearly enough. Now I actually have to work with it. What a gyp." So I worked with it, and noticed that it wasn't a cowlick at all. There was a hole in my hair. It was a totally lopsided haircut! "Damn you, hair parlor! You robbed me! You rooooobbbed me!!!"

It was at that point that I noticed the cord sticking out of the drawer. I then remembered that one of my suitemates had his own haircutting kit. I had no idea how to work with it, but I decided to try. Heck, even if I messed up, all I would have to do is shave myself bald and risk being called a skinhead for a couple weeks.

As it turned out, cutting my own hair felt very...liberating. I'm not sure why, but I can see why Britney Spears would want to do it. As I saw the clumps fall into the grocery bag I had set up, I felt pretty good. And seeing how it turned out makes me wonder why I would ever pay $15 at all. Maybe I should just get my own haircutting equipment. It's the best of both worlds. It provides cheap and manageable hair. What a scoop!


Unknown said...

sorry i didn't comment. i already heard what you had to say about haircuts. and i still haven't thought of anything to say.

Anonymous said...

Ah, fun. Well, you can add me to the wannabe hippie - I hate haircuts, but I don't look particuarly great with long hair, and that's an understatement. Hey, if you truly are as bald as Spears, post a picture.

-Comrade Chavez