Frugality

09.24.12

Real Men Cut Their Own Hair

So West Virginia senator Joe Manchin is now bragging in a campaign ad that he saves money by having his wife cut his hair?

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As Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen would say: "Ooooh, looo-xury." My father-in-law, Peter Worthington, burst all readership records with his Toronto Sun column about how he cuts his own hair.

[I]t's not quite true that I never go to a barber. I go about once a year to Pat's Barbershop in Leaside where Tony repairs the damage of 11 months of hacking and trimming myself.

Sometime in the early 1950s, my father rebelled against the rising price of haircuts -- from 75 cents to $1 -- and starting cutting his own with a gizmo that was a comb that had an adjustable razor blade. After each trimming he kind of looked as if he had mange, but hair was not one of his vanities. Nor is it mine, perhaps because I've still got lots of it, though it is no longer jet black.

After a dozen years of cutting his own hair, the company that made the gizmo sent my father a gold-plated replacement out of gratitude for his loyalty. My father was inordinately proud of this honour, though my mother was mildly embarrassed at it.

When my father died in 1967, I inherited the gizmo and used it until I ran out of its special razor blades in the mid-1970s. I wrote the company, explained the situation, and wondered where could I buy blades for their gizmo?

I got a rather sad letter back, saying the company had gone out of business, but they'd managed to find a bunch of blades which they were sending me, free of charge and full of gratitude for being so loyal. And God bless my father.

A dozen years later the replacement blades had all been used up, even though I tried sharpening them by honing them on the inside of a glass (as my father did).

I've since tried various replacements, none of which have had the versatility of the original gizmo. Most are quite adequate nonetheless.

The one I use now, is Chinese-made that I bought at a drugstore for $1.50. One side has two standard shaving blades end to end, the other side has one blade for trimming the sides really short.