1. They aren’t actually free.
2. Because: you have to tip, because duh, of course you have to tip, but you didn’t consider that when you heard the word, “free” and so it feels kind of shocking when, as you’re walking out the door, you ask the girl at the front desk, “Do people tip?” and the girl says, “Yes.”
3. Thank god you have a twenty. How is it even possible that you have a twenty? It must have been hiding.
4. And there goes the twenty. Au revoir, Mister Jackson. Would we had more time together.
5. So: the reason they’re (almost) free is because it’s a teaching session, which you would have known and inferred meant “takes a long time,” except for the fact that when the awesome girl asked you last night in the subway if you wanted to get your hair cut at her fancy salon for free, you didn’t listen to the rest because you are having the worst hair month ever and you just walked many blocks in the rain and you really haven’t ever felt uglier in ages, AND YET, here was an angel with perfect hair and red lipstick offering to fix you for free, and, IT’S A NEW YORK MIRACLE!
6. But it will take three hours, is the part you didn’t listen to.
7. Which is approximately three times as long as any haircut you’ve ever had.
8. Add on the commute on each end, and it’s four.
9. And you’ve kind of got a lot going on right now, so that four hours in a chair without Internet access but for sneaked looks at Gmail while the Student and the Professor discuss and snip at your hair is torture, not to misuse the word torture, but it’s TORTURE.
10. “This girl has about three times as much hair as the average bear,” says the Professor. “This will be tricky.” You apologize for having too much hair.
11. Somehow, between the two of them, they figure it out. They make it work.
12. The haircut ends up being amazing.
13. Like, really. Top ten haircuts of life.
14. And it was only $20. Free, practically.