Originally written April 12, 2003

I'm pretty cheap and low-maintenance - when it comes to my hair anyway. I want something easy and I don't want to have to pay a lot just to keep my style.

Therefore, I get a lot of bad haircuts. I'd been going to SmartCuts, one in a franchise where you just walk in and get your hair cut by the first availabe stylist. It's cheap, but terribly inconsistent. You never can tell the quality of style you're going to end up with because you never know which stylist you're going to get stuck with. The prices had kept me coming back even after disastrous results, but I'd been keeping my eyes open for something else.

Then I found a coupon in the phone book for a $5.95 haircut. So I called and made an appointment. The stylist was a man and very friendly on the phone. I drove over, picturing a well-dressed, flamboyant man who was finally going to give me something great at a price I could pay without choking.

I walked in the door, and was met by an old man. This wasn't a stylist, this was a barber. True to barber form, he had little hair himself. I wanted to walk right back out then, but the place was small and that would've been pretty noticeable. So I calmed myself while I waited for my turn, telling myself that I couldn't judge by appearances, that this may turn out to be the fabulous hair establishment I'd been looking for. I forced myself to stay focused on that glimmer of hope.

When it was my turn, I showed him a picture of the kind of style I wanted. And then there was this wild frenzy of scissors, like he was just randomly cutting into my hair with his eyes closed. Patience, I thought, give him a chance. He snipped like crazy. He might have been sweating after the exertion, though he did take a break to try and sell me some expensive shampoo.

At the end of it all, I wanted to cry. The guy was very nice, but he was used to cutting old man hair, and frankly, comb-overs are not my biggest hair problem. (After today, making the right side of my head look like the left is my biggest problem.) He was quite proud of the fact that he'd removed a lot of weight from my head, like I'd walked in with my head bowed, staggering from the weight of my chin-length bob. "Please, you must help me, my head...it's just too heavy! Can't...go...on..."

I tried to leave quickly. I'm not one of those aggressive people that can stay until they cut it right. I tend to leave and then just be miserable for six weeks. Sensing he was not going to see me again, he tried to offer me a flannel shirt. He was giving it to me, saying someone had given it to him and it was too small. It was sweet, but I would've never worn it. I hated hurting his feelings and all; maybe he can't help it he's rotten.

I'm pretty sick of bad haircuts. I'm almost to the point where I'm willing to pay more to get something I don't hate. (Who am I kidding, I'll be at SmartCuts next month.) But tonight I will mourn my lost hair, lying in a heap in that guy's trashcan, mixed in with the grey hairs of his other customers.

Hair is best mourned with a pint of expensive ice cream.

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