Picture 30In Williamsburg, where I live, it’s hard to find someone to cut your hair for less than $60 who doesn’t make you look like an eastern European club kid circa 1993. And so, when assigned to check out the $10 haircuts at Empire Beauty School in Bensonhurst, I was willing, if not exactly eager. At least it wouldn’t be any worse than what I could give myself.

No styling skills are required for admission to Empire, which is one of the area academies where future hairdressers must toil for seven to 16 months before taking the New York State licensing exam. The school offers the public $10 practice cuts by pupils with little and possibly no experience, which was evident when I checked in for my appointment and was randomly assigned to a student who stared at me with a look of fear. That probably should have been my first clue that things weren’t going to go well. (more…)