My Family (a long time ago)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I hate having to go get a haircut. I rate it right up there with shopping. I don’t like to do either of them, but I do it because I have to. I know there are some people who will say that I should be happy that I still have hair to cut, but I still hate doing it. I go to the same place every time and I usually have one of two people that I’ve come to trust cut it each time. However, this last time I went, neither of my usual people were there and I actually got a double whammy.

First, I’ve never seen this person in the shop before so I’m assuming she is new. Second, she looked really young, like maybe she just got out of hairdressers school, or beauty school, or whatever they call it. Or worse, I’m thinking that she’s never even had any training. Perhaps, like my daughter, she started out cutting her Barbies' hair (my wife can attest to the fact that it was not a pretty sight). Maybe this young woman went from Barbies to her little brother – we’ve all seen the horrors of sibling induced hairdos on America’s Funniest Videos or the like. I almost turned around and left, but I really needed to get it cut. If my 12-year-old self could have seen me now, he would have been horrified that I even thought that it was necessary to get my hair cut. Times, and styles, change.

When I was young, I had no say in my hair style. When my friends were starting to grow their hair out, I still had a wiffle (or a buzz cut to some people). When my friends’ hair was over their ears, I was lucky that I still didn’t have a wiffle and could actually grow it out a little. In my family, we had an in-house barber and his name was Dad. He didn’t do fancy haircuts, nor did Dad do the latest styles. He had his own set of electric clippers, he put on the attachment for the length, and then it was zip, zip, zip – all your hair gone (just look at the family picture I use for this blog!). When I saw him setting up the stool in the middle of the dining room on a Saturday morning, even as a little guy I knew what was coming.

Apparently, so did one of my older brothers because he would take off to avoid Dad the Barber. This did not seem to bother Dad in the least. He'd say, “Don’t worry about him. He’ll be back.” After all, Dad wasn’t stupid. He knew that a teenage boy would have to come home to eat at some point. He’d be patient and bide his time, clippers at the ready. Now, I don’t know if this is my imagination or if it really happened, but it seems to me that you had to sit there and watch the other guys getting their hair cut while you waited your turn. Not that it took that much time. He didn’t let our hair get too long and, as I mentioned before, it was just a quick zip, zip, zip – all your hair gone. The older ones had some say, but us younger ones had no hope of letting the hair stay a bit longer.

I don’t remember when, but at some point Dad stopped being the family barber. I don’t remember where we went after that, either, but I do know that for as long as I can remember, I’ve not liked getting a haircut. Today, I still get shivers down my spine when I hear the buzz of the clippers near my ears, even if they’re not giving me a wiffle. I do my best to stay motionless so that there’s not one of those “Oops, I think I went too short” moments.

This story ends well, though. The new, young woman, cutting my hair for the first time, did a great job. I didn’t look like Moe from The Three Stooges, my hair didn’t look like it did in the blog picture, and when I got home my wife told me it looked great. Hey, if she likes it, then I have nothing to complain about. Overall, a good experience. And yes, I am happy that I still have hair to cut – even if there’s less of it each year and what’s left is getting grayer each year.

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