Hairdressers – the industry that cuts your hair and patience

My latest rant is about a subject that’s really rankled me over the past week. I want to talk about the worlds most oblivious profession: hairdressing.

The life of a hairdresser is a harrowing one. For starters, the point when someone realises they want to be a hairdresser is the point where they realise they have literally no significant skills to offer. The world is increasingly becoming a place for knowledge workers to thrive, so to find out that the best you can amount to is , to paraphrase William MacKenzie, “shitty manual labour for the rest of your lives”, is probably pretty heartbreaking.

Not only do these people have to deal with the fact that they’re too dumb to climb the ranks at their local Aldi, but they then also have to wait about 3 years before they can touch a lock of real hair! Despite the fact that they’ve spent years cutting their Barbie’s hair into a perfect front fringe (it’s doesn’t matter what gender they are, they did have a barbie salon) and done “great fringe cuts” for their guy friends in year 9, these poor souls still have to be content washing greasy mullets for 2-3 years. I personally wash my own hair, and I don’t find it that fun. I can’t imagine even the simple-minded hairdresser (almost all of them) could get enjoyment from something so repetitive.

On a side note, I do have to admit that I love the way that hairdressers wash your hair. Nowhere else would my head get such a luxury massage for free, and as middle-aged Bessy runs her meaty fingers through my locks, sweating profusely at the effort of washing out my hairspray, I honestly do try to close my eyes and pretend she has less tattoos and a body that isn’t hanging over the sink repeatedly knocking my head out of the water stream.

And then the moment of truth arrives for our budding beauticians. They’ve perfected all the hair washing techniques (I can assure you, you have been doing it right the whole time), you’ve perfected your opening “what are you having today then” and you know exactly how much a women’s wash, cut and nails are. The boss is off sick, so finally they get to fly solo for a number 3 all over. But they know that one nervous slip could be the end of their careers. For someone with as few brain cells as a hairdresser, operating with sharp tools should always be considered a dangerous activity. They call it a cut throat industry because a really bad hairdresser can literally cut your throat. One small slip and you’re out the door before you can say “dip-die”.

So it’s safe to say that I don’t have a particularly high opinion of hairdressers. In a way I do pity them, delicate flowers that they are. They’re simple creatures, with only the skill of being able to put hair between two fingers and cut separating them from gorillas. But this does not excuse the fact that they are NEVER open when you want them to be! The modern man works a 9-6 job, and most hairdressers shut at, you guessed it, 5.30! This means they cater almost exclusively to the unemployed and brave sods that get a haircut at lunch and spend the rest of the day malting whenever they turn more than 45 degrees. At the weekend they are of course open on Saturdays, when everyone is busy, and closed on Sunday, when literally everybody would have free time to go and get a trim. This leaves me with very limited options if I want a cut: leave work early or take time out of my precious Saturday to sit in a queue for two hours.

This conundrum seems so easy to solve that I’m assuming that that’s why nobody has tried it yet: don’t open the hairdressers until 4pm on weekdays, stay open later and cut hair on Sunday’s. It’s so simple, and yet here I am, 8 weeks from my last haircut and with practically a Jewfro, struggling to get a number 4 on the back and sides with a slightly longer top. I mean I have a date tomorrow and thanks to hairdressers I’m gonna look like Prince in the 80s! So here is my plea to hairdressers around the world: stop telling me about the music festivals you’ve got coming up, you’re not convincing me or yourself that that’s a “real holiday”. Instead use your voice to convince your managers that your barbers and salons should stay open later. You’ll beat all your competitors and I won’t ask for a penny in return.

Sadly I expect my message will fall upon deaf ears. Hairdressers have been operating this way for many years, why change now because someone is finally starting to make sense? I personally can’t wait to get old and start cutting my own hair, because that’s the day I take back my freedom from these neanderthals that once cut my ear as a went to grab my 7 up. But hey, I’m not bitter.


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