Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hair Cost

My friend Jo started cutting her own hair. Self-preservation, due to the eccentric methods of her last hair stylist.
"I swear to you, when I lived in Bellingham, my hair stylist was this New Ager who'd swoop in with the scissors with his eyes closed. I knew I could do a better job than that."

No doubt she's saved a bundle. My son does, too. He's in college now, but still he comes home for a hair cut chez moi. It started when I picked up a home haircutting kit at Costco. An impulse buy. It had a buzz cutter and a comb and a pair of scissors in a little black plastic case. I've gotten better at it over time, especially by studying what stylists are doing to me and those around me while I'm sitting in the salon chair. 

Saving money, not my expertise with the buzz cutter, is my son's impetus for relying on me. It does make a difference. Genius Beauty on-line magazine reports that Pantene has crunched numbers to arrive at the following estimate: women spend $250/year on haircuts. For guys, I'm guesstimating half that amount, so figure $125/year. If I've been cutting my son's hair for 10 years, minus the $19.99 for the Costco kit, we've saved a whopping $1,230.

But hair costs more than money: It also costs time. Pantene estimates the average woman devotes 7 months of her life to her hair by age 65. Mail Online's estimate is even more drastic: 2-1/2 years of our lives "washing, styling, cutting, colouring, crimping and straightening [our] locks in salons or at home."

So is it worth it? This Good Hair Revisited Newsweek blog examined our "Mane Issues" in June. Kate Dailey notes how what we do with our hair every day is a choice (even if that's doing nothing at all), and generally a visible one. "So because our hair is always, always saying something, it's often difficult to ignore it." 

Speak, hair, speak!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Claire -
Last year I was talking to a Muslim friend about wearing a scarf. From reading another friend's master thesis on the wearing of scarfs of Turkish women in Germany,I knew that there is a common misunderstanding: hair of women is considered to be erotic in the Islamic world, so it is only modest to hide it. I said to my friend: but, see, we don't think of hair as being erotic. Yes, we have to hide our breasts, but not our hair, since nobody thinks of that as primarily erotic. Because of that, it is unnecessary to hide it, it doesn't even occur to us.

But then she said: well, I don't think so. See, why is everybody here so busy having fancy haircuts and spending so much money on the hair stylist, if it's not erotic?

It left me thinking for a while and then I assumed: it is a sign of personality? of character? of an orderly character for example, or maybe a rebellious or innovative one?

Wearing a scarf probably means a repressed personality, according to a usual "western" interpretation, right? And I can almost never find exactly this with my muslim friends. Theirs are often strong personalities (maybe created through the experience of migration?)

so long
your little German cousin Angela