With men, a trip to the barber's registers somewhere between a trip to the dentist and a stop at the gas station on the enthusiasm meter. For women, a trip to the hair salon tends to be a much larger, all encompassing experience. They will actually look forward to their appointment.
You never hear a man say that he feels better about himself after a haircut.
No man brings a picture of his favorite movie star to the barber shop and says, "Make me look like him." Women sometimes think that a better version of themselves is that easily attainable.
The percentage of men who dye their hair at age 50 is probably less than ten. For women, it's closer to ninety.
No man ever goes home and eagerly asks his wife, "So what do you think of my new haircut?"
Men often ask for the same barber, but rarely get to really know him. Women develop a personal relationship with their hairstylists.
Barbers rarely have to double as psychotherapists.
A man will have his hair cut when it starts to get a little shaggy. A woman will have her hair done -- has to have it done -- right before an important event.
If a man is not happy with his haircut, he will rarely go back to have his hair done again.
Most men just go to the cheapest place in town. A woman sees a trip to the salon as an investment.
Barbershops tend to be unpretentious places. There are expensive barbers for men -- think John Edwards and his four hundred dollar haircut. But only a very small percentage of men go to those.
Hair salons can be extremely pretentious, however. Just look at the names of some of the more famous hairdressers,with their middle names included, or their hyphenated last names. Even worse, they sometimes go by just one name: Garren of New York. Oribe. Cristophe.
At fancy restaurants, often, the more you pay for a meal, the less food you actually get. Salons are not dissimilar: the more you pay for a cut, the more it seems as if they are doing you a favor by deigning to touch your hair.
But at these places, you're not just paying for a cut. The women who go to fancy salons want an entire presentation. They want to be fussed over, with flair and flamboyance. They want that semi-hypnotic effect of having hands fluttering over their heads, trimming, patting, combing, massaging, teasing, eventually bringing them to a mental orgasm. (Everything their husbands don't do for them.)
And then, at the very end, they want to be unveiled, like Pygmalion's statue. If their hairdresser just said, matter-of-factly, "Ok, you're done," it would be supremely anticlimactic. They want someone to gush, "Oh, baby, you look gorgeous! Darling, you look absolutely fabulous!!" (It's worth the extra two hundred bucks to hear that.)
This is probably part of the reason straight men are never hairdressers: they wouldn't be able to pull that presentation off with the same emphasis and feeling.