Photo: Beth / CC BY

The local blogosphere I read has recently included some insightful and beautiful essays on the triumph and tragedy of a simple act that is too often overlooked: the haircut.

Interestingly, these essays were written by women. Women seem to connect with the re-birthing experience that is a new haircut more than men. Why this is so is a mystery. Certainly women connect with beauty in different ways than men, and this could be the answer. But I am here to offer another viewpoint.

Men don’t connect with haircuts because they get their hair cut at stupid places.

I have long been a patron of Clemson, South Carolina’s most popular haircut establishment: Great Clips. There is only one thing that keeps me coming to this place. With a coupon procured from the local Bi Lo, I can get a haircut for the splendid price of $4.99, plus tax and tip. Done. I’m sold.

Unfortunately there are really no other reasons to frequent Great Clips. The wait is usually long. I have had to walk through at least an inch of hair many times to get to my chair. The employees rather obviously dislike each other, and often me. And the service is, well, hit and miss — with an extra dose of miss. My last haircut included a nice, sloping hairline in the front, spacious clearances above the ears, and a convenient triangle to keep the hair off my temples. To be fair, I think the description I gave the hairdresser was, “like it is only shorter.”

On the other hand, a Great Clips hairdresser once told me (in the strictest confidence) that the primary skill taught in Great Clips cosmetic school is safety. It is much more important not to be impaled with scissors than to get a good haircut. Of course I agree. After discovering this, I go to my Great Clips salon each time with the same expectations that the Great Clips brass have for their customers — not to bleed.

I know there are solutions. But none of them cost $4.99, and none of them have that exciting gamble (I would say it’s about one in five) that this time it might turn out! Sure, I get what I pay for, but I pay so little.

So I take it back. Maybe men do connect with their haircuts. The exciting game of chance, the thrill of a deal, the perseverance through mounds of discarded hair, disgruntled hairdressers, and treacherous scissor and razor slices to reach the counter and pay no more than what your terrible haircut is worth. It’s an adventure, now that I think about it. An epic. A fight all good men must fight. All great men. At Great Clips.