The last time I got my hair cut, with a guy named Sam who works out of a nail salon on 8th and 41st, we were in the throes of winter. Last week, I figured it was about time I neatened up the 'do, and since Sam's price is right ($20), I headed over to the salon hoping he'd be able to take me right away. No go, so I decided to walk along 8th until I found a place that was relatively empty (not too difficult at 10:20 AM on a weekday). The first place I found seemed appropriate for someone about to turn 40.
Anyway, they whisked me in and settled in to one of those amazing hair-wash-scalp-massages that Chinese run salons do. This one was amazing. Not only did I get my scalp scrubbed, but she also massaged my shoulders and arms and back for a minute or so. That alone was worth the $18 I shelled out for the cut. Really.
The stylist didn't speak much English, so the receptionist/head scrubber translated. He was shocked when I showed him how much I wanted chopped off (I mean, if I only go once a year...), so he wanted to double-check. It was a basic, quick, clean cut. He seemed to know what he was doing, but I never get anything that you could call a style, so I guess I'm a bad judge/test case.
He was also shocked (and double-checked with the translator) that I didn't want my hair blown straight. It just looks foolish on me; it's even more foolish than the Rosanne Roseannadanna look I get when a hair dryer comes near me. I reassured him that five minutes in the wind and damp weather would calm the wild, poofy look he so feared. I was charged $18 plus tips for him and the head scrubber. It may have ended up being a $20 charge had he needed the time to blow it straight. (It took 45 minutes on my hair last time I allowed it.)
An aside to parents: A woman came in with her one year old, and she held him on her lap while they cut and colored her hair. She explained to me that a babysitter is too expensive, so she had to bring him. I guess their color must be pretty cheap, too. Anyway, the salon was totally fine with it, and if your kid can sit in a stroller while you get your hair done, it's a way to save on the babysitting. Of course, this was on a weekday in the AM. I wouldn't suggest it for afternoons or weekends.