Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The cheapest haircut on earth

My grandmother had a lot to get used to when she moved from Bensonhurst to Park Slope. First was the dearth of elderly people of any kind, but in particular Italians. Second was the exorbitant price of everything but in particular, groceries. The thing about Park Slope is, one never gets used to just how insanely expensive everything is, especially if one is 80 years old and used to prices which haven't changed since the 1960s.

Case in point: my grandmother's beauty shop.

Last week, my grandmother had to go to a wedding, for the granddaughter of one of her best friends. She needed a haircut. Now I can never really tell the difference when Nonnie gets her hair cut -- it goes from boy short to slightly boy shorter -- but you better believe she can tell the difference.

"I can't go to dis weddin' witoutta haircut," she said early in the week, "Where do you get you hair cut?"

"There's a place around the corner," I told her, "Its pretty cheap."

"Oh yeah," she said, "How much?"

"About $60, I think," I said.

"No, Nicole," she said, clucking her teeth, "You wrong."

"You get you hair color, and so dat's why you pay $60," she went on.

"Well I do get highlights," I said, "But those cost more than $60. Those are probably $75/ 80 on top of the haircut."

She looked at me in horror, speechless.

"Whaddayou, crazy?" she asked, "You wanna know how much I pay to get my hair cut in Brooklyn?"

I have stopped reminding her that Park Slope is Brooklyn. Its futile.

"How much?"

"Guess," she coaxed me.

"I don't know, $35? $30?"

Nonnie got that terrifically satisfied look she gets on her face when she has found an amazing bargain, outwitted people from robbing her blind.

:$15," she said, "including tip."

"FIFTEEN DOLLARS?" I asked her.

"Yes," she confirmed, "$13, and then I give her $2 for tip."

"And you know how much Maria pays to get the color?"

"I can't even imagine."

"$26," she replied, proudly, "For that, you get you head washed, hair cut, hair color, and she blow dry you hair."

"You don't have to include the head washing part," I told her, "That comes with the price, everybody gets their hair washed when its cut."

"Oh no, I'm sorry, you wrong," she corrected me, "To wash you head, that's extra. But I pay $15 and I get my head washed."

"Well, I don't think you'll do better than that. I don't think you can buy a pair of scissors to cut your own hair for that price. I think you should go get it done in Bensonhurst."

And today, $15 lighter in the pocket, she is the proud owner of a slightly shorter boy haircut. The hairspray involved in the 'do alone probably cost more than $10. You can't beat Bensonhurst for a bargain.