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Getting a Haircut
Lately I’ve been thinking it’s time to get a haircut. I actually haven’t had my hair cut in over a year. It’s been getting long again and I’ve been considering leaving it long.
It seems that all throughout history women wore long hair (and men did too). It seems that women didn’t begin to cut their hair short until the 1920s, less than 100 years ago. At the same time, hair salons for women were established.
Today hair care is an industrialized industry of its own—“the hair care industry”—with projected global sales of 92 billion dollars in 2020 and more than double that by 2025.
One beauty editor states there are 2084 hair products sold on a popular beauty website, and advises women on the 11 hair products every woman needs. Hmmmm. I have only two products: fragrance-free organic shampoo and a brush. I also have a blow dryer, but rarely use it (only when it’s really cold and I don’t want wet hair).
Getting my hair cut in a nice salon was a big deal for me in the past. I remember when I moved into my first apartment in San Francisco I went down to the salon at one of my favorite clothing stores to get a haircut. The hairdresser there listened to my story and said, "You're not a Debbie any more, you are now Debra and I'm going to give you a Debra haircut!" And I was never Debbie again, I transformed into an independent young woman that day. Haircuts can be powerful.
But now, decades later, I wanted to get my hair cut, but wanted to be more thoughtful about both the style and where I got it cut. There are certainly salons that use organic hair care products, but I wanted to see how I could get a haircut that would be more lifely and outside of the industrial paradigm.
First I looked at my needs. I wanted a hairstyle that would
* be attractive to my face and body (rather than “the latest style”)
* be easy to maintain without industrial products
* make me look and feel beautiful and resulting in the feeling of loving my hair
My conclusion was to leave my hair longer, and just get a trim, instead of getting a layered cut as I had had for decades.
Then the question was, where shall I get my hair cut? I really didn’t know where to go until Larry said, “I’m going to go get my hair cut tomorrow.” And he told me he was getting it cut at our local beauty school. The price was only $7.
Seven dollars!??!!! Last time I had a haircut in a salon it was $55. And I’m in a small town. In cities it is more like $80-$100 and that’s just for the cut. Of course, the stylist will recommend color, curls, and other industrial enhancements.
So we went to the beauty school and it was great. At my request, the student stylist just trimmed the bottom to make all the hairs one length. What a difference that made. My hair is more orderly and has more body and life, but still in it’s natural state. And I love helping my community by being available for the students to practice on real clients.
I feel good now that I’ve liberated my hair from the industrialized hairstyling and hair care products overload. This is much better.
AND THEN…A few days later I went and got my teeth cleaned at our local junior college dental program. The cleanings are done by students (with supervision, of course). It takes longer, but I feel happy when I go there. I actually love being there in the big room with all the students practicing cleaning teeth and other dental procedures.
I realized that what I love about it is that when I go there I’m helping students learn a skill that contributes to health (yes it’s industrial dentistry but lifely dentistry is not yet a choice here).
I became aware that I was feeling so good because I was loving and supporting my community in the same way that one would love and support a family member. I was helping someone in my community be more able to help others in my community. If I just went to the dentist it would be an industrial consumer transaction. But going to the college turned a teeth cleaning into an uplifting of ability in the community in which I live.
Realizing this, I felt more a part of the community because I was participating.
It was the same thing when I went to the beauty school to get my hair cut. Again participating in the life of my community.
This is actually a pretty big shift for me as part of my moving away from being an industrial consumer: participating in a wider circle of life instead of being focused on being an industrial consumer and simply buying products and services within the industrial system.
I mentioned this, actually, to the student hygienist and she said, “We love people like you who come in because they want to help us!” She was quite happy to hear that I was there for this reason. And she felt loved and supported.
As industrial consumers, it’s all about exchanging money for products and services. But there are so many other ways we can give in exchange for what we receive. And they can have more far-reaching benefits in the world.
Instead of thinking about what my community can give to me, I’m now considering what I can give to my community that will uplift it, make it more able, and ensure that it continues to be there, not only for myself but for everyone.
When I was a child I heard President Kennedy say, "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” I understand that now. We must do for ourselves and our families and our communities and our countries and the Earth the actions that sustain and contribute to Life if we are to have Life.