Short answer: Yes! I cut my own hair – and yes, with a vacuum cleaner.
The slightly longer, just slightly more precise answer is that I use a vacuum cleaner attachment called a Flowbee.
I can hardly believe this works. And I can even less believe that I’m owning up to it. Here’s the story:
Haircuts a Waste of Time?
Haircuts have always struck me as a complete waste of time. The way I feel is, you should be able to grow hair to the length and style you want, then press a “Stop” button and freeze-frame it right there.
Just like we do with lawn grass. Yeah, right. Another fantasy bites the dust.
I thus resigned myself, years ago, to patronizing barbershops. There’s a good one within a couple miles of home. It’s staffed by two old geezers and a pretty younger woman named Debbie.
Cheri is a harsh critic of my haircuts. Only Debbie met her high standards, so I’d wait in line for her clipping treatment. At a cost of just $12 (including my standard 20% tip), it seemed a bargain.
Aside from lost time, there was only one problem with that arrangement: I like being self-sufficient! I’ve always wanted to cut my own hair. But I’ve tried before, and the results always were comical.
Enter the Flowbee.
Flowbee is one of those “As Seen on TV” doohickies they promote on late-night infomercials. There’s a recessed flat surface, where flat blades whiz back and forth across each other in a blur. From one end is a hose that attaches to a vacuum cleaner. From the other, there’s an extended rectangular tube to guide the hair while you hold the Flowbee the right distance from your scalp.
With the blades and the vacuum cleaner running, you glide the Flowbee over your head. The vacuum pulls in hair, while the blades cut it to the length of the tube. There’s even a beveled spacer for trimming around ears and neck.
It sounds like a joke – and with a dumb name like “Flowbee”, who could take it seriously? I didn’t, even during the several years I researched other be-your-own-barber products.
Most “kits” on the market turn out to be scissor-and-trimmer bundles you can’t really use on your own hair. You’d need to get a friend or parent to trim you – and they’d need training.
There’s a buzz-cut thingie that gives you, well, a buzz cut. Next best thing to a shaved head. No thanks.
Along Interstate 75, a few miles from Knoxville, there’s a truck stop with an attached “As Seen On TV” retail outlet. Its billboard used to advertise proudly: “Fuel, Food, and Flowbees!”
But by the time I was interested in haircuts, they’d gone out of business. I therefore ordered a Flowbee online, from Flowbee.com. Expectations were low, but hey – I could send it back, right? Money-back guarantee.
At $80, I figured my first seven haircuts should pay for it. If it worked.
Unpacking it, I was skeptical. However, the Flowbee seemed solid. I hooked it up to a yellow DeWalt shop-vac we had lying around, and set to work.
Strands of my hair were being pulled into the tube. At first, though, I saw no sign that my hair was being cut at all. The effect was incremental: I kept waving the Flowbee around – and after a while, I had a haircut!
The Ultimate Test
It looked fine to me, but the acid test is Cheri’s critique. She had been as skeptical as I was. To our mutual surprise, however, she found it to be the best haircut I’d ever had!
Sure enough, it didn’t take long to break even. That point came maybe eight years ago. Every haircut I’ve had since then has been free (except for electricity). I’ve saved many hours of my time, and gotten better results.
Oh, and the Flowbee still works as well as the day I ordered it.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better (and lazier). Now I always start by whacking off most of my excess hair with scissors. Then I just use the Flowbee to even everything up. Same result, just faster.
Perhaps the only thing left to say is that the letters in “Does Gary Matthews Really Cut His Own Hair With a Vacuum Cleaner?” rearrange to spell “vulture’s wishy-washy, tragicomical, moth-eaten nuclear warhead.”