Oh, how I used to love my monthly $50.00 haircut.
It wasn’t cut at a barber’s but at a salon. Everyone that worked there seemed to be slim, flirty and quirky beautiful. Electronic dance played but at a soothing background volume. I was offered a coffee or champagne while I waited in the comfy lounge chairs, while I flipped through the latest magazines that covered numerous topics and interests. When I was fortunate enough for my time to come, I was escorted by the beautiful receptionist to the equally gorgeous hair stylist, who was introduced by name. This person would become ‘my’ hair stylist and would always remember my name and everything about me the next time I turned up.
The hair stylist would proceed to faff around with my hair for the next 20 minutes before passing me off to get my hair washed. Again, I was escorted to yet another beautiful person, who lovingly massaged my hair with just the right temperature water for the next 10 minutes. Just before drifting off to sleep I was returned to my hair stylist to make minor adjustments to my hair cut, trim any rogue hairs from my ears. etc etc. My haircut was complete and it looked wonderful. I considered the $50.00 investment a bargain for such excellent service, the exceptional experience and perfect haircut.
For the next few days I felt like a superstar. My hair was perfect and I was certain that I was attracting glances and double-takes by random admirers as I walked past. As the week passed, however, I found it more difficult to shape my hair into the desired style and more and more product was required to maintain the required coiffe. A half inch growth on long hair may not make much difference but with my relatively shortish hair, it was scruffy and needed a trim by the end of the second week.
I couldn’t afford a $50.00 haircut every fortnight at the time, so I battled through for the next two weeks until I could go through the whole salon experience again.
I was always quite proud of my hair. It was thick, wavy and someone even remarked that it resembled Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey’s hair on Grey’s Anatomy. My reality was shaken though when a hair stylist remarked that my hair was thinning on top but I still ‘had a couple of years left’. What?!! I went home and found a hand-held mirror to get a good angle to see the top of my head. It looked fine to me. Almost daily, I would come home to make the same investigations to ensure there were no signs of thinning and I hadn’t lost a few follicles.
This process of examination went on for almost 6 months. I even lost sleep as I dreaded the day when someone would notice my hair loss….that I had yet to notice myself.
Just as you see the same car as yours on the road once you buy a new car, I started to see follicly-challenged men everywhere. I noticed how they styled their hair. Some were subtle with the styling, while others went all out with the always admired and attractive, comb-over. Whatever these guys did though, the balding was obvious.
I decided then that rather than continue to stress about my hair loss and go the path of trying to hide my hair loss disgracefully, I would embrace it. I went to a pharmacy and bought a pair of cheap hair clippers for $22.00. I initially used a #2 blade and trimmed my whole head at the same length. This gave me about a half-inch stubble on my head. It was neat, tidy and after a few days I got used to the very short hair. Again, as my hair was short it started to look scrappy after a week. I didn’t have to wait a month for my $50.00 haircut though, I just got the clippers out and went over it in 5 minutes.
I was liberated. I no longer stressed about my thinning hair that still, incidentally, looked solid in growth to me. My hair styling regime in the morning consisted of running water on my head in the shower. I would indulge myself every few days with shampoo just to make sure my stubble was free of sweat residue. I often rode my motorcycle but no ‘helmet hair’ for me. It looked the same before and after the helmet went on and off.
The hair stylist was right though. A few years later my hair did start to thin on top. By this time though, I was so used to my short growth, I was not concerned. I just threw away and the hair length guides and started to use the minimum clipper length, which is little longer than a spiky stubble.
Every week, I clipper my hair. I spend nothing on product and manage to cut my hair by myself. With the exception of that one time when I left a landing strip on the back of my head, it has always looked perfect. I am grateful also that stubbled heads are no longer associated with neo-Nazi’s and it is quite a common and accepted way to maintain one’s hair very short or even shaved.
My $22.00 clipper lasted me 7 years. 7 years of haircuts at one cut a week. That’s 364 hair cuts for $22.00. If my poor math skills serve me right, that works out to $0.06 a hair cut. If I had continued with my monthly $50.00 haircut for the same period, I would have spent $4200. I do miss the theatre of the hair salon but I don’t miss it as much as I would miss the $4178 in my pocket. That hair stylists one comment ended up saving me a great deal of money.
It seems that my frugality started before I even knew I was doing it.