I have not been to a barber in 40 years.Every five months, Betsy gets out her sharpest scissors and I put a towel around my neck, and she starts snipping away.
This started as another exercise in radical frugality, a concept I wrote about here. Although homemade haircuts don’t save that much money (less than $50 a year) I hate spending money when I don’t have to.
And homemade haircuts, for me, have a history. When I was a boy, I hated going to the barber because I didn’t like being fussed over. So my mother started cutting my hair at home. Then, in the long-hair era of the late 1960s and ’70s, I almost completely stopped getting my hair cut. Must have been a tough time for the barbering profession.
We enjoy the experience of cutting my hair. There’s a certain, uh, intimacy of Betsy wielding sharp objects close to my flesh. And for her, cutting my hair is sensual and aesthetic, a form of creativity. She’s a very handy person, and this is the ultimate hands-on task.
When we’re done, it’s my job to clean up the hair that has spilled on the floor. I put it in the compost bucket to be turned into garden fertilizer.
I do go to the barber shop — for other people’s hair. I read that critters that prey on our vegetable garden are deterred by the human scent that lingers in hair. So every year I collect lots of it from a friendly barber and put it near critter-sensitive plants that are outside our garden fence.
When I’ve gone more than four months without cutting my hair, I have to wash it often or it looks unkempt and greasy (as in the photo above). So now that my hair is short, I don’t have to worry so much about it.
Betsy has developed a system with her own hair of getting it cut once a year, in the fall. Then she lets it grow until, by the time the hot weather arrives, her hair is long enough that she can pin it up off her neck to keep cool. She sees this as another way to economize on hair cutting, by just not doing very much of it!
What are some of the DIY habits you have developed that save money and lead the way out of the mainstream culture and into The Good Life?
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