The Official Sweetie of Muddled Ramblings & Half-Baked Ideas cut my hair today. She did a good job, but when done said, “I’m not an expert, and I hope never to be.” Amen to that.
I had gotten pretty shaggy, as the pile of hair in the picture will tell you. We thought, Official Sweetie and I, that my next haircut would be by a trained professional. We were almost there.
But it turns out we weren’t almost there. The groundhog poked his head up, saw rich people exploiting fear of the vaccine for profit and political power, and dove back into his burrow for six more months of plague.
As a result, I got my best home haircut since I was a kid this afternoon. I hope it’s my last.
I was getting shaggy long before The Virus came to town. The other day, the Official Sweetie of Muddled Ramblings and Half-Baked Ideas floated an idea. “Maybe I could cut your hair.”
For background, as a kid, my dad cut my hair many times, and while I was young enough to be oblivious to the quality of the result, I enjoyed those times. (As I reached my teens the thinning shears in the home haircut kit were an object of fascination to me, allowing me to be shaggy while not overheating my cranium. Dad and I both appreciated the engineering behind those shears.)
So there I was with way more hair than I wanted, and the Official Sweetie offering a fun project of togetherness. No arm twistage was required. “It will not be the best haircut you ever had,” OSoMR&HBI said. I will not tire you, dear readers, with a litany of the bad haircuts I’ve had in my life, but I was reasonably confident that this one would not be the worst.
Plus: The difference between a good haircut and a bad one? Two weeks. By the time anyone saw my lovely locks, time would have passed and evened things out.
The cut went down. Of course we documented the adventure.
My new favorite hair stylist arrayed her tools: My heavy-duty hair trimmer (I lost all the guides over the decades, but my good pal John gave me the 3 from his set a while back, so it was 3 or nothing that night), scissors not intended for cutting hair, and a sweet comb from roughly 1978. Add a couple of hair clips and we are ready to go!
“Wow! That’s short!” The Official Sweetie said. She had made a few exploratory passes with the trimmer, but finally she put the guide against my scalp and made a run, bogging the mighty trimmer for a moment with the sheer power of my thick hair, but leaving behind a summer-length swath of almost-naked scalp. I felt the breeze and smiled.
Meanwhile, our little dog Lady Byng was not OK with any of this. Clearly pack members were doing terrible things to other pack members, which might have been all right were it not happening in the room that exists only to torture dogs with baths.
At one point The Official Sweetie stopped. “I kinda want to stop right here,” she said. Although without glasses my image in the mirror was indistinct, I could see what she meant. Kinda reminded me of the bad guy in Fifth Element.
I asked that we carry on, however. I wanted a haircut with staying power.
For the next few minutes I came to appreciate barber’s shears. When in the big chair I hear “snip snip snip” at an impressive rate; that is the product of scissors that are both sharp and quick. Loose-hinged but somehow tight. Cutting hair with slower scissors requires a great deal of patience.
OK, I promised I wouldn’t belabor bad haircuts of the past, but my worst haircut was also the most time-consuming and most expensive. Jason (a friend’s favorite) fiddled with my hair for an hour, cutting one goddam strand at a time, and while the final look played to my hair’s Ultra-80’s feather-the-fuck-out-of-it-and-make-David-Bowie-weep strength, that was not what I had asked for. I just wanted my hair to be shorter.
My needs are actually pretty simple. My hair is long. I want it to be short. Even my regular hair-cutter has a hard time believing the transformation I want, and she’s done it several times.
My sweetie knows this. She hacked away with scissors and trimmer, and while the result was maybe not what a trained professional would have pulled off, it was not too shabby.
Over the last couple of days I have found a couple of places the clipper missed, and there is some choppiness. But overall, an unquestionable success.
Before you even ask, I will not be returning the favor.