A few months ago, I wrote about cutting my own hair. Why did I take the sheers into my own hands? Partly because the coronavirus pandemic shuttered hair salons for several months and partly because I just didn’t care that much about what my hair looked like.
I actually cut my hair a few times in 2020, and for the most part, it went OK. I’d do most of the chopping, then I’d have my husband even it out and take care of the stragglers. It wasn’t perfect, but that’s not what I was going for. My goal was to keep my hair off my shoulders without having to leave the house or spend any money.
But as summer turned into fall and fall faded to winter, I got busy or lazy or both. I wasn’t keeping up with my self-trimming routine, and as a result, my hair grew a couple of inches, sitting limp and uneven just below my shoulders. It wasn’t pretty.
While grappling over whether I should make an appointment for a real haircut, I wore lots of hats to conceal my unkempt ‘do. Though I’m not really picky about what my hair looks like, I do want it to be even. I could have done another round of guessing and checking with my husband, but the truth is we just never got it that straight.
Surrendering to the Salon
When I say I got busy, it’s not just an excuse. I’ve been profoundly tied up with work (like working-14-hour-days busy), plus we recently sold our house and built a new one. So, upon deciding to schedule an appointment for a professional cut, it was on my to-do list for another few weeks before I actually made the call.
By the time I finally put it on the books, I was so burnt out from work and everything else that I craved a little pampering. “I want an expensive haircut,” I announced to my husband. I realize this sentiment is a complete 180 from my summertime laissez-faire attitude. And while I can’t really pinpoint what changed, I can say this: It was never so much about saving money as it was about convenience.
As I wrote in my original article, I’ve never been super thrilled about the results of professional cuts, so I figured, why take the time and spend money on something I don’t necessarily want or need? In any case, my newfound desire for a haircut felt a lot like my periodic desperation for a pedicure. My hair looked awful (even by my standards), and I wanted a spa treatment. So sue me.
The $90 Cut
I chose a fancy-schmancy salon near my new house, figuring it’d be great to have it close by if all went well. When I made the appointment, we’d just gone two days without power, which was the last straw on an already exceedingly stressful few months. Needless to say, I wanted to do something relaxing.
The salon charges $40 to $70 for women’s haircuts. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I wanted the most expensive one. To my delight, I was booked with a gentleman named Jimmy. The senior stylist cut hair in New York City for 30 years before relocating to the Pacific Northwest, and his cuts happened to be $70.
I don’t know a whole lot about hair, but I know this guy knew what he was doing. Anticipating his horror at my DIY chops, I made a few jokes about my uneven locks, but he rolled with it, saying he’d seen a lot of pandemic cuts. Then he got to work on the blunt bob I requested, explaining what he’d do to help me avoid “Karen hair.”
He washed my mop, massaged my scalp, and wrapped my head in some sort of warm towel for a few minutes, which I loved. We chatted, we were silent, we chuckled about Gen Z saying millennials can’t get over their side parts and agreed that parts are not a choice.
I tipped $20, turning my $70 cut into a $90 cut. Since I set a precedent, I suppose $90 is now the price if I continue seeing this hairstylist. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful experience, and I think I’ll do it again.