Sunday, January 28, 2007

When Will Men Be Charged Like Women at the Salon?

Yesterday Za and I went to get haircuts. My hair is pretty thin, while his is curly and thick. My haircut, therefore, took about 15 minutes, while his took the full 30 minutes. When the hairdresser left the bill up front to pay, I pointed out to Za that his haircut was 30 dollars cheaper, even though his took more time and effort. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to post an interesting philosophical blog discussion, Za and I started imagining scenarios in which I could get a cheaper haircut or a man would be charged more.

Before launching into such questions, I will throw a guess out as to why, as a rule, women have to pay more for a haircut than men: men simply won't enter the doors of a real hair salon unless they are given some incentive. Left to their own devices, men will shave their hair off, ignore haircuts, or have their mothers/girlfriends/wives cut their hair. To get a man into the seat of a hairdresser, and not a Barber, you have to charge them less. I could be wrong, but this is what I came up with. (Somebody out there surely knows the real reason for gendered pricing).

So, back to the questions. Za asked an interesting one: what if a man has long hair? Does he have to pay more? Or, what if a woman walked into a salon and requested a "man's haircut," could she reasonably denied such a request? If so, on what grounds? Finally, at what point will the disparity between the cost of a woman's haircut and a man's haircut disappear?