It was about four years ago. A friend and I were looking through some old photographs when we turned up an old black and white one of me on my 21st birthday.
“Look at the hair!” the friend exclaimed, a little too jauntily, I thought. “You’ll never grow it that long again!” he added. It was almost shoulder length. That’s how it was in 1978. Nothing out of the ordinary then, like Yalumba Carte dÓr riesling and the VB Commodore.
“Yes, I could,” I returned. “But you won’t,” he insisted. “I bet you a thousand you won’t ever have hair that long again. You couldn’t possibly.”
I took him up. He gave me five years. I did it in four. It was longer than 1978. $1000, please.
Last Friday night I went to one of those new haircut places in Elizabeth Street. There are several of them competing in one block, and there is no waiting. They service the student population that has boomed in the area. “How short?” she asked. They used to call it short back and sides but the jargon now goes in numbers. I’ve got no idea. I just said short.
I walked out into a cold, darkening, rainy Elizabeth Street half an hour later with a cold skull and bits of hair in my ears. $15. I hadn’t paid that little for a haircut since about 1985; and the girl took as much time and care as the one I used to visit, where they made you a café latte with a design in the froth and charge you $35. That’s what competition and a GFC does for you.
I suppose that means I made $985 on the deal, plus the cost of haircuts in between.