"In its filings with the Federal Elections Commission," Christopher Beam of Slate reported in April of 2007, "John Edwards’[s] campaign disclosed that the candidate received two $400 haircuts from a Beverly Hills stylist this year. What do you get for a $400 haircut?"
The answer, above and beyond a haircut: A house call. The stylist, Joseph Torrenueva, charges (circa 2007) "only" $150 for a haircut if you're willing to go to his salon, and other stylists at the salon charge "as little as $60 or $75 for a trim."
Maybe I'm just a spending curmudgeon -- okay, I am a spending curmudgeon who still grouses about ground beef selling for more than the highest reasonable price (97 cents a pound) -- but I didn't see anything in John "Breck Girl" Edwards's hair that looked like $400, or even $150, worth of stylist attention.
Edwards and his $400 haircut came to mind the other day when I noticed some fashionista pundit sneering at, verbatim as best I can remember it (I forgot to bookmark the link), "people who get their hair done at Supercuts."
I'm not a hair expert. When I was a kid my dad either cut my hair himself or sent me to his own preferred barber. My style choices ranged from "crew cut" to "flat-top." Then I went into the Marine Corps, which offered a similar range of styling options. After that, I experimented a bit but mostly stuck to shaving my head entirely. Nothing to style, nothing to mess with. If I got a haircut, it was at the oldest-looking barber shop I could find in my area, or at a local barber/cosmetology school. And it was all good.
Now I'm growing my hair out and taking a more studious approach than "let it grow and see what happens." Because my wife and daughter go to Great Clips, one of the larger chains, that's where I've been going.
At first, I just took whichever stylist wasn't busy, explained what I thought I wanted, and got, basically, what I thought I wanted.
Then my wife and daughter prevailed upon me to specifically seek out the services of a stylist I'll call Carol, because that's her name.
Carol asked me what I was trying to accomplish.
My answer: A pompadour.
Carol: A real pompadour, or what they call a pompadour these days?
My answer: Make me look like Young Elvis.
Carol: I'm all out of magical powers today, but okay, we're talking about a real pompadour, not just a high-top fade without taking any off the top.
Carol, who started cutting hair around the time I was born and when the classic pompadour had not yet exited stage bald, explained the intricacies of that haircut to me (among them, a little "shelf" on the right side of the head to pile all that top hair over onto).
She explained these things as she cut my hair, as she styled my hair, and as she showed me how to style my hair. I've been very happy with the results so far.
The cost, with a coupon: $7.99 plus tip (you're damn right she gets a tip).
Not 50 times as much.
Not 18 times as much.
Even at full price of $14, before tip, it would have come to less than 1/10th the price John Edwards's meh haircut would have cost if he had gone to the salon, and about 1/28th what he paid to have the stylist come to him.
And based on the way Edwards looked on the campaign trail, in my estimation Joseph Torrenueva is no Carol.
Unfortunately, Carol was in an automobile accident recently and I've been getting kind of shaggy awaiting her return. Enough so that when she gets back and I go to see her, I may talk with her about the Brian Jones look circa Aftermath.