As regular readers will know, your humble Devil lives at the top of Brixton Hill. Brixton is painted as being a relatively poor area, although there is little sign of poverty.
Coming home tonight, I saw a family coming out of a hairdresser's, and talking excitedly, in the local lingo, about their new haircuts. The mother and two older daughters—the latter aged, maybe, 6 and 8—had the style that is known, I believe, as "corn rows". The youngest was still in a pushchair and had some elaborate braiding of some other sort. I don't pretend to know about hair styles—I get my hair cut, for less than a tenner, at a barber's which, like all of the haircutters here, proudly proclaims that they cater for "Euro and Afro".
The point is that the hairdresser's from which they emerged helpfully had their prices in the window: corn rows, for instance, are priced "from £40". The collected haircuts of these four people had come to a bare minimum of £160.
Child benefit for three children is, I believe, of the order of £15 per week, per child; that means that this mother was "earning" some £180 or so a month from the state. Which, of course, we all pay for.
So, this month, some £500 was removed from my pay, at least partially so that some fucking family in Brixton could have a fancy hair-do. Well, don't I think that was worthwhile, eh?
Having a child is a fucking lifestyle choice: I don't have children, and I don't see why the fuck I should pay for yours. I am actually happy to stump up for state funding of education (but because I love knowledge, not children) and I am even happy to pay a little to ensure that those children don't starve.
But why the living fuck should I pay out so that they can have a fancy fucking haircut?
UPDATE: a Brixtonite writes...
You should know that nobody ever pays the prices advertised in the window. They are there purely for the white hippies who want to do something to impress a newly acquired black boyfriend and appear trendy.
Everyone else goes in and haggles with the hairdresser to get a price that is reasonable. I know that the going rate for cornrows is actually about £20, although. £40 if you use hair extension. Everything is half-price or less if it is for kids. So imagine they'd probably have paid about £10 each for theirs.
Cornrows can also last up to a month or so, which is why many people do them and it saves a lot of the stress of managing black hair.
In fact, growing up in Nigeria, cornrows were the regulation haircut in both the state and private schools for girls. If you came to school your hair "Undone" you were sent back home. You might have noticed that Africans don't go around with afros, it is slightly taboo in most places.
I am 28 and still cannot comb my natural afro hair unaided. With kids it's a whole lot worse. It's not like how it is for you where your comb glides easily through your hair like a hot knife through butter! It is very difficult and painful.
So cornrows are not a "fancy haircut" (except with boys, but that's another story and its mostly teenagers who pay for it with their own money anyway), they are very necessary for many little kids and a mother who takes her kids regularly to the hairdresser to get the hair cornrowed properly is probably a very responsible one.
So relax already!
Which is, I think, fair enough...