There’s a whole lotta talk about “social distancing” right now, but I’m not sure if that means “don’t make out with strangers at clubs” or “don’t even glance at another human walking across the street from your third-floor apartment window.” Like, okay, maybe no hand shakes right now, but can I leave my house at all?
This week, we’ll be exploring the different scenarios why you might want or need to enter the public during the coronavirus pandemic, and determining an essential aspect for your consideration: Will doing this make me an asshole?
In today’s segment, we’ll explore whether getting a haircut makes you an asshole.
There’s no real necessity to be looking fresh right now — collectively, it’s our duty to be at home in sweats. But most of us are less than a week into this whole self-quarantine thing, and in a few weeks, we’re gonna be looking like Hagrid. So if the barbershop is still open and my hairdresser is still taking appointments, can I go in for a cut?
Unfortunately, you really shouldn’t. Wanting to support your fav stylist doesn’t make you an asshole, but right now, you’re just supposed to stay home. The complicated thing about the virus at the moment is that any of us could be carrying it and not realize it. So even if we’re feeling healthy and diligent about our health and ditto for our barber, that doesn’t mean we aren’t still spreading germs. Maybe we’re all young and fit, but if any of us seemingly young and fit folks inadvertently passed the virus on to a more vulnerable person because we couldn’t stand to look a little shaggy for awhile, we’re gonna feel real fucking bad about it.
So far, though, that whole possibility hasn’t really stopped people. “You’d be surprised at how many people still insist on getting their hair done, even at a time like this,” says Jenna, a hairdresser in western Massachusetts. “I’m still working, but calling all of the current appointments I already had booked to make sure they’re coming in, what they feel comfortable with, etc.”
Salons already utilized pretty strict cleaning standards before the coronavirus pandemic. The exact requirements for receiving a cosmetology or barbering license varies state by state, but most require at least 200 hours of training in health, safety and sanitation. Objects in salons are regularly disinfected, and workers are typically trained not to touch their faces while seeing a client. Moreover, Jenna’s salon is incorporating methods of social distancing. “We’re trying to condense our days so we’re there less time and with less people at once,” she says.
That said, hairstylists and barbers obviously rank high in terms of jobs that require close physical proximity to others, according to a New York Times report from earlier this week. While their exposure to disease was measured to be low, at 32 out of 100, their physical proximity measurement of 92 out of 100 makes them somewhat vulnerable.
Economically, they’re vulnerable, as well. Obviously, working from home isn’t an option — even if a worker were to give haircuts from their home, their risk of exposure would remain the same. Most are also independent contractors or independent business owners, meaning they don’t receive sick pay. Many may also be uninsured.
While Jenna is still taking some appointments, she’d prefer her salon shut down. “Even though if I ain’t workin,’ I ain’t gettin’ paid, if we were to totally shut down for one or two weeks or what be it, I’d be fine with it because I’m financially secure and have money saved,” she says.
Even if many hair people aren’t in the same position as Jenna and we’d like to support them, you really should just stay home. But! You still have some hair-cutting options! Personally, I think Hagrid is kind of hot, but if you want to cut your hair at home, there’s no better time to give it a try. It’s not like you have to go out in public if you fuck up.
The easiest method would be to just shave your whole head — you can buy a set of clippers off Amazon for $20. Use it without any attachments, and boom, you’ve got a buzzcut. If that’s not the look you want, you can use one of the included attachments to remove less hair. You’ll want to do a little research and watch a few YouTube tutorials, but you’ve got the time. If you’re quarantined with your partner or roommates, you can ask them for help, too.
But maybe you should just try something totally new. Be Hagrid. Crisis-bleach your hair blond (using Joseph Longo’s advice, of course). Or just grow out your hair without being Hagrid. There’s plenty of advice online for that, too.
Now is definitely the time for some safe experimentation. Express yourself! Be creative! You’ve got nothing to lose but some hair!