30-Day Writing Challenge – Day 10
I used to get my hair cut at a place in Montreal called Coupe Bizzarre way back when. It was on Duluth Avenue and difficult to get to by public transit. I can’t remember the cross-street but for me, it was easier to walk there from St. Laurent and Duluth than from St. Denis and Duluth.
Jimi Imij ran it with his partner, Robert and what I loved about it was its inclusiveness. You could be very vanilla or look like a freak. You could be young or old, gay or straight. Heck, you could be anyone and it didn’t matter. Everyone paid the same price for a haircut and everyone used one unisex bathroom and they used and sold only one kind of pomade to style your hair, Black & White.
Sadly the Coupe Bizzarre I knew disappeared when Jimi and Robert moved to Toronto and set up shop there in 1995. (It existed in Montreal for a long time under the same name but with different management and it just wasn’t the same without Jimi). One of the stylists from those days runs Kenzo Kenzo Hair pretty much across the street on Duluth from where Jimi Imij’s Coupe Bizzarre used to be.
Why is this on my mind? I need a haircut and the place I usually visit has just hiked their prices. I visited their website and carefully read the prices, hoping I was mistaken. Then I checked out some other hair places. I couldn’t believe I was seeing a $10 or $20 difference in price between women’s and men’s haircuts, with women paying more. My usual place charges women between $46 and $56 for a haircut, while men pay between $36 and $47 for a specialized cut and between $28 and $36 for a clipper and scissors cut. My hair is straight and easy to cut. Hair stylists love it. Why must I pay $20 more than a man does at the same salon when it takes about the same amount of time to cut my hair? I’m not talking about barber shops but hair salons and hair stylists. This price difference does not make sense, nor is it justifiable since a specialized haircut can take just as long for a man as a wash and wear cut does for a woman.
Apparently, gender-based price discrimination is illegal in California, in Miami-Dade County, Florida and in New York City, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. In February an Edmonton salon eliminated its gender-based haircut pricing. We can only hope Montreal salons will follow their lead.
Coupe Bizzarre was incredibly progressive and I suppose ahead of its time. It’s 2016. I can’t believe how backward we’ve become.