Tee’s Review: It took great courage on your part to tackle the handsome locks of your husband. You must have secretly worried that the haircut would strip him of his manly abilities, like Sampson. But, apparently, Delilah, he’s the same hunk, brewing mead, turning bowls and moving and assembling furniture around the house for you!
I would rather trim the gigantic crepe myrtle in the front yard than cut your hair. Spoken to my husband early on during our stay-at-home-for-the-pandemic adventure, this was my declaration of drawing the line somewhere. I would be willing to paint the house, cook a bale of greens from the garden, scrub the floors like a washer woman, but I could not give in to this one outrageous request. After three months, the petitions became more plaintive.
He rolled his desk chair from the study through the kitchen to the back door, where we lifted it up over the door frame onto the deck. During this operation, he handed me yet another set of hair-cutting instructions. The previous instructions covered the use of electric hair clippers. The latest version contained a short paragraph about using scissors for the sides and top. I assured him that I had read both sets of useless instructions. The plan was set in my mind. Execution was imminent.
After three months of home isolation, my man’s hair was in his eyes, jutting out past his ears and slithering down the back of his neck. It was thick and unruly and gorgeously silver gray. I didn’t want to cut it, but I know he was feeling desperate enough to allow me give it a go.
Before the haircut, we decided investing in clippers wasn’t necessary. The barbershop would be opening soon. One morning after salons and haircutting facilities were allowed to operate, we walked by the striped pole of the one-man barbershop my husband favored. He peeked inside to assess the level of risk, assuming it would be relatively low. The barber was wearing a mask, but the customer in his chair was not. This shop is a one-room facility, where the air exchange was questionable enough to forgo the desired coiffure.
My guy bought a cheap pair of hair-cutting scissors at the local grocery chain, so I knew his permission to cut that wayward fleece was accompanied by exoneration, should that be required. Expectations were fairly low on both sides of the chair as we set up on the back deck, preparing for limited success rather than abject failure. There would have to be an earthquake or sudden micro-burst of wind to really throw things off to such a state that forgiveness would not be possible. Spray bottle of water, scissors and comb in hand, we began.
I have seen the results of a misguided haircut. No doubt they occur. I was 23 years old when I received a bad hair styling, the type which left me in tears. I called my mother to complain. So, of course the first thing she asked was if I had paid for it. I had asked for a short cut with a body wave. I walked out with tight curls in a style that looked like something my grandmother would have asked for. And I paid for it. My mother’s question left me angrier with myself than with the stylist. Mom called the salon and demanded they do something about it. They assured her they had no idea I was upset with the results of my experience in their salon.
I returned to the salon. I didn’t want to. I was not like my mom, who would have stood her ground in the moment and asked for what she wanted. By the time she was 23, my mother had already had three babies and her own household to run. I was just getting started with an independent life. I did not know how to be forceful or confrontational in any way. But I went back and asked them to do something about the curls, which they did. The stylist applied a relaxer and retrimmed to make my appearance look less matronly and more hip for a woman of my age. Then asked to be paid for this service! I worked up the gumption to take a page from my mother’s playbook and asked for the manager. He agreed with me that I should not be charged for fixing the stylist’s original mistake. That felt good.
Now I was in charge of someone else’s look, listening with incomprehension as to how the outcome he desired should be accomplished. Truthfully, there was only going to be one way it could be done and that was crudely but carefully. He’s got a lot of hair. I very professionally draped a towel around his shoulders as I scanned the landscape.
I wet his hair with the spray bottle of water, combed through it a few times then started with the back of the neck. This seemed the best place to get into it from my completely ignorant point of view. Once the length on the neck was scaled back, I combed the sides a few more times and decided there was just way too much hair. At this point I remembered that my stylist used clips to move sections of my hair around and out of her way. We did not have clips and having only two hands, I employed the only other two hands available.
So, with my guy in a Greta Garbo-type pose, I attacked the lower level of hair in a cornrow pattern. Comb out a stretch, drop comb, fumble for scissors, snip at an angle (per stupid instructions) and try not to laugh as it gives one’s victim the wrong impression. Once combed, holding the length of hair between my fingers seemed to be the best strategy for seeing what I was doing but it was an awkward maneuver to get rid of the comb and pat the surrounding area to find the scissors while holding the opposite elbow in the air with a strand of hair between my fingers at the best height for snipping. The contortions necessary for this posturing made me feel as though I was auditioning for Cirque du Soleil rather than rendering a substandard haircut.
I eventually started shoving the comb and scissors between my husband’s back and the chair so that I could find them more readily. The comb suffered multiple drops to the deck floor where I was repeatedly forced to retrieve it. I could not remember my own stylist getting such a workout during a haircut. Before I could finish trimming the lowest layer of hair on my brave man’s head, my lower back and knees were protesting my ineptitude as a barber, forcing me to take a break. After a few stretches and some self-affirming mantras, I returned to the task at hand. My loved one was counting on me. I finally settled into a repetitive pattern, spraying, combing, directing the extra hands where to hold as I worked my way around two lower layers of hair and around the ears, which survived without a scratch.
The need to attend to the top layer of hair, that moppy bit that falls into the eyes and gives a man his sexiest look, intimidated me a bit. The instructions on this part seemed straightforward as they were written in scissor lingo rather than clipper jive. Visions of Adolf Hitler swarmed into my mind, when I wanted to be seeing George Clooney. This could make or break a relationship. Hitler killed himself, presumably not because Eva gave him a really shitty haircut, seen the world over on internationally distributed newsreels. We’ll never really know for sure. I fixed my mind on George.
I stood, straddling the man of the hour’s legs, where I could look him in the eye and be fully present for this momentous act of bravery and intense concentration. He didn’t have to hold the hair for this top part, so he steadied me by placing his hands on my hips. We chuckled over this a bit. With steely determination, I started hacking away on the George Clooney cut. I, by God, was not going to be married to fucking Adolph Hitler!
|Guest Editor Tee knows the value of a good haircut. To date, neither of us has gotten our hair done since the start of the pandemic. We may be shaggy, but people can still recognize us!|