A Short Treatise On Hair, And Such

One thing I have never understood is why cosmetologists have to be licensed. It should not be necessary to hold a license to cut hair. It’s that plain and simple for me.

I am of the school of thought that says if you don’t like how your hair looks after a haircut, just wait a few weeks and it will grow back out. Why is a license needed? Why must the state regulate everything? I mean, house painters needn’t be licensed. If I want to open up a business for housepainting, I hang out my shingle and away I go. Sure, I must incorporate probably, or whatever, but I don’t have some state board regulating a specific house painting license.

Let’s take a worst case scenario. Let’s take an incredibly vain person who thinks the universe revolves around her, and let’s say she schedules a trip to a cosmetologist, or hair stylist, or beautician, or barber, or whatever the title is nowadays. Let’s say she takes incredible care each morning, Saturdays included, to ensure that her hair looks just perfect. Brushes and combs and clips and hairspray and mousse and gel, etc. – ad nauseum –  are all major items on her shopping list each week.

So she goes to the hairstylist and her hair gets butchered. She asks for this and gets that. It’s nothing like what she wanted. It’s ruined. Okay, so she wears a hat and waits a few weeks and never goes back to that stylist. Problem solved. If enough people get the same treatment from that stylist , then that stylist will have to find a different line of work. Case solved. Open and free market. Go America.

So why the need for a license? I know somewhere underneath all the talkspeak is money. Someone somewhere knows enough lawmakers to get regulatory procedures in place so that licensing fees must be paid. It’s usually about the fees, isn’t it? That’s my only plausible theory. Someone tell me something better.

By the way, what is a cosmetologist? The suffix –ology means the study of, and the prefix cosmo, I’m sure has something to do with the universe, as in cosmos. So why isn’t cosmetology the study of the stars instead of a profession for young ladies and misguided young men?

When I was a kid, I used to get dragged along on a regular basis by my mom to the beauty parlor. She would go and get her hair done, and I had to wait for her because I was too young to stay home by myself. Now, “beauty parlor” is a great name. Beauty parlor. Something about the word parlor maybe. Old ladies (probably middle aged at that time, but hey, I was a little chap) would sit around reading magazines about hairstyles while sitting under massive Lost in Space-looking hair dryers. Because of the noise, their conversations would be very loud. I learned more about carpet fabrics and curtain fabrics than a young boy should.

All that unhealthy exposure to le monde aux femmes had to be counteracted by my trips to the barber shop with my dad to get my own hair cut. Ah yes, sitting up in the big old chair and hearing all the man talk. Sports. Cars. Real life stuff. The stuff of men. Getting a free sucker and piece of bubble gum when it was all done and smelling great the rest of the day to boot.

The smells at the beauty parlor were not so great. The men at the barber shop used talcum powder and shaving cream. The women at the beauty parlor used dyes and chemicals. I bet it wouldn’t even be legal today what they used. Women would emerge from there like queen bees with their big old queen bee hairstyles piled up on their heads like cotton candy. They’d have to duck to get into their cars to drive home.

Like many things in this country, things have changed. The beauty parlor concept has seemingly melded with the barber shop concept into one unisex type thing. You go in and sit in the waiting area with sports news on the big screen while really hip music is blared out at you.

Then some Gen X or Y or Z, I forget them all, comes out and gets you and asks you how you want it cut and then charges you way too much. You don’t get a free sucker or bubble gum and you don’t hear any talk at all, not even about carpets or curtain fabrics. They stylist, if she talks at all, talks about herself.

You go your way after emptying out your wallet and you feel like another notch in the corporate hair company’s belt for that day. Another customer.  Another cog in the financial wheel of the highly regulated and fully licensed world of cosmetology. And you don’t even smell that great when it’s all done.

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