Fun Friday: The Haircut Index

3 years or so ago, I subscribed to Investopedia’s term of the day in an attempt to broaden my knowledge of the financial world. While I’ve never grown to love the service/feel any attachment from it, I do read it nearly every day.

Yesterday’s tip was the ‘Hot waitress Index’ – an index that measures the state of the economy based on the number of attractive people working as waiters/waitresses. Yeah, I know.. Crazy. There are quite a few such indices though – the big mac index being one of the more popular ones.

I don’t know how good the correlation is between these indices and what they are supposed to measure but finding correlation is always fun.

A couple of days ago, I walked into the barber shop for a haircut and I realized that, after 1 year, I was finally resigned to paying 10 pounds for a haircut. Before you conclude I’m some miserly cheapo, let me give you the history. (And then you will probably conclude I’m some miserly cheapo anyway.. but I’m all about the process as you might know by now)

I vividly remember the first 2-3 months I spent in Singapore for university. We were all converting singapore dollars to indian rupees. We’d walk into a shop and say ‘200 rupees for that?’ – What nonsense. And walk away. One activity that came in for easy scrutiny was haircuts. A haircut back home cost Rs.30 in those days and a haircut in Singapore cost $10 i.e. Rs.300 then. So, a few of us (me included) used to save a haircut for when we went home.

I still remember how ridiculous I looked at the end of my 1st semester as I refused to get a haircut and ended up getting told off on my first job. Even that didn’t convince me then. (Yes, I was nuts.. Some would say I still am, but that’s beside the point for now.)

The funny part here is that I actually love keeping my hair short. I used to throw many tantrums about this issue as a kid and as a teenager when I was taken to the barber shop. I seemingly always wanted longer hair but ever since I gained control over things as important as the length of my hair, I became a rebel without a cause. I have a funny feeling about haircuts – if I don’t get them often enough, I feel it hampers my thinking ability. I guess I just like the free flow of energy between my brain and the universe and somehow, I feel the hair adds friction to the process. (It does, doesn’t it?)

Anyway, I went broke a year or so after my first year and had to borrow money from my friends. After a very laissez faire attitude to money, I did end up becoming super stingy and by then, haircuts had become compulsory as I had developed my ‘haircuts are important for thinking’ theory. So, I used to plan my haircuts such that I needed a minimum number before my next trip home.

It was only after about 3-4 years in Singapore that I actually became comfortable with paying $10. I would like to say this was very rational and logical.. but I know better.

So, when I came to London, I went through my haircut curve all over again. And one year later, I realize I’m finally over my visceral emotional reaction to haircuts. That’s saying something. I guess I finally feel like a Londoner.

At least that’s what the haircut index indicates..

How economists got away with the ‘humans are rational, logical beings who make informed choices’ line for so many decades I will never know..