I am a born cheapskate. A skinflint. Frugal to the core. Free is my favourite word.
So imagine my chagrin at being forced to shell out money to get (of all things) my hair cut! Oy!
I always, but always, shop around for the best deal or coupon for haircuts. If there is an offer to be had, I will find it. After all, it's just a haircut. I'm not having it styled or washed or blow-dried and I certainly don't need it done by the barber's - sorry, salon's "creative director" (whatever the hell that means). I just want it clipped and trimmed. Nothing fancy. Just make it so I can wash it, towel dry it, and go. Even having to brush the stuff angers me as I have so little of it. So shopping around is the order of the day.
In Tenterden there are various choices, from the hugely overpriced (at MasterCutters the price list for men's haircuts - men's!! - starts at £19 on the low end. So basically a trainee will be cutting it and I'm still gonna pay through the nose) to the more sensibly priced. Last time I went to The Barber Shop in The Fairings and paid ten quid or so, but I didn't really like the place. The staff were very pleasant and all, but for a place called The Barber Shop it was still a little girly for my tastes, with the series of framed photos of flowers on the wall (and, curiously, one shot of a heart-shaped pendant nestling between the buxom chestal areas of a reclining beauty who appears to be wearing very little apart from some black lace items, shot from above the head so you are looking down the cleavage towards the crotchal region), the radio tuned to Heart FM (who just lurrve to remind you what station you're listening to every 5 minutes with a breathy female voice stating rather obviously "This Is Heart!". Well, duh, really??), and the 'stylists' wearing those low-slung hipster jeans and short T-shirts that are very popular with young ladies at the moment - although my stylist was probably the same age as me and was the sort of woman that my mother would describe as having had a hard life (but to me the phrase that conjures the image best is one I learned in America - "rode hard and hung out wet"), and hence the trendy fashion didn't really sit well on her, and so having a faceful of exposed saggy midriff with the accompanying bellybutton ring between the jeans and the bottom of the T-shirt was a bit disconcerting. I suppose I'm lucky I didn't see her from behind as I suspect I might have witnessed a whale tail and tramp stamp as well.
So yesterday I went to the other end of town where sits a place called Menz Barbers. I was drawn to it as it advertised Hot Shaves and all the old-time full service barbershop stuff, and inside it looked the part. Despite the slightly silly name, I went in and I'm glad I did. The folks were friendly and the service was great, and the fact that I had my hair cut by a pretty blonde from Latvia named Ilona (I'm probably spelling that wrong) didn't hurt either. She even took the time to get out the straight razor and get all those annoying bits behind the ears and under the sideburns. I felt like a god when I walked out with my brand new do. Lovely.
Now, back to my original point about being a cheapskate. It wasn't always this way. I had to learn to curtail my spending which, unfortunately, took me till well into my thirties. When I was in my teens money would burn a hole in my pocket. The way I saw it was, there was so much stuff to spend money on in the world, and so little time in which to do it. Even so, I was a bargain hunter, always trying to get the most bang for my buck. Woolies record counter bargain bins were the best. Most of my records have been purchased from clearance sales and pawn shops and second-hand shops. You find some interesting records that you might not have found anywhere else. One of the best hauls was from my friend Kerry, who came over to my house one day with a big box of singles. He had an uncle (I think) who went round refilling jukeboxes, and had given this box to Kerry, who had taken out the ones he was interested in and was giving away the rest. I was happy to oblige him and must have taken about 25 records. I even remember some of them. There was definitely a couple of Mel & Kim's (don't judge me!!) and Coldcut featuring Yazz' "Doctorin' The House", and of course Steve 'Silk' Hurley's house classic "Jack Your Body", a record that at the time was much maligned for its simplistic style, but come on, let's face facts here. Compared to some of the crap that's out these days (sounding like an old fogey I know) it's sheer brilliance. What say we all pile in the van and go boogie our pants off at The Crypt?