Sometime back, I wrote about how I was conflicted about going to have my haircut in one of the modern unisex hairdressing salons (The Haircut: the Estacy and the aqony). I initially felt uncomfortable with being pampered with someone washing my hair or giving me scalp massages but finally I gave in. So for the last four years, I had abandoned my proletariat roots and reveled in the decadence of the upmarket unisex salon.
However, economic realities and impending unemployment has recently forced me to seek more modest alternatives. And so, yesterday I found myself waiting in the queue at the bargain cut-price barber shop at the local mall.
It was very interesting comparing this budget establishment and the average unisex salon. Firstly, there was no nice sofa set or waiting room where you could read magazines or sip tea while you waited. The whole place was only really big enough for two barber chairs and we had to wait, sitting on three legged stools, outside in the corridor leading to the toilets.
The next noticeable difference was the cleanliness of the establishment or rather the lack of it. Let’s just say that the floor had a heavy carpet of hair. The two staff was responsible for cutting and styling hair, collecting money, selling hair care products and cleaning up. Considerably overworked, cleaning and sweeping the floor of the cut locks by the staff only occurred when the layer of hair was deep enough to clog the wheels on their rolling chairs.
However, I thought the most interesting difference was in their approaches to hair styling. In the up-market hairsalon, the hairstylist expertly uses to cut the hair, getting rid of the unwanted lengths and then tidies up using an electirc clipper and a small pair of scissors. This is similar to someone using garden shears to trim back the unruly branches of a bush and then finally using an electric powered shears to finely sculpture the bush.
The highly expert budget stylist uses the electric clippers to shear you like a sheep is sheared for its wool and then uses the scissors to cut whatever remains sticking out. Using the analogy of the bush, it is more similar to using a chain saw to sculpture a bush and then tidying up the splinttered branches later with some shears.
I miss the up-market pampering but I like the price (which is at least 75% cheaper) and the haircut is actually quite good. Plus the people watching is more interesting. I think I can live with my fall from Grace. (Grace was the name of the up-market salon I used to go to).