Before my son was born, I made my husband promise that he would never, ever, ever let me cut the boy’s hair. I have a bad history with barbering.
I’ve cut my brother’s hair a few times. Mostly when I was a teenager and he was just a little kid. It never turned out well. The most memorable occasion was when he about 8 and desperately wanted a crew cut which my mother would not allow. He brought me a pair of blunt edged paper scissors and asked me to do the job. I figured that if you just cut it short enough it would have the desired effect. It turns out that this is not the case. I kept cutting and cutting and cutting, but it never looked right. When my mother stopped me mid-job, it’s fair to say that the results were uneven. Uneven as in near-bald in some places and tufty in others. Being young and gullible, I told him that it looked good, and he believed me. But it didn’t. It looked like he had the mange.
Foolishly, seventeen years later, my brother asked me to cut his hair again. It wasn’t so much that the memory had faded but that he was a bit desperate and assumed that my skills had improved. They hadn’t. But at least I had the right tools – a clipper and a set of guards. But it turns out that good results are uni-directional. If you run the clippers the wrong way, you still get the mange look.
And even more foolishly, even after seeing the results of my brother’s cut, my husband let me cut his hair. It didn’t go well. It was kind of a post-chemo look. Apparently I told him that I knew I’d cut it too short in some places, so let some tufts remain in the hopes that it would even out the look.
I found this photo and showed it to my husband just before scanning it in. He said “it does not convey the full horror of that haircut.”
So, even with the full knowledge of what my haircutting skills are like, he let me cut Bill’s hair this morning.
To be fair, the boy’s locks were getting very shaggy indeed. And we’d already tried a couple of times to get his hair cut at the hairdresser around the corner who had done an excellent job back in December.
So we got out the clippers this morning. It all started out well enough. But Bill soon tired of my clipping and decided we were done. Although we weren’t.
And even though it wasn’t a perfect job – a little rough around the edges and over the ears, Simon did say that Bill’s hair looked better after I finished than before I started. And then added that this must be a first for me.
I do it
Bill’s quite fond of power tools, and this was no exception. He wanted to be the one with power. He decided that he wanted to do the haircutting and was aggrieved when neither Simon nor I would agree to let him cut our hair. But if there’s one thing I know about haircuts, it’s that you should never, ever agree to let anyone near your head unless you’re sure they know what they’re doing.
He’s not crying because he’s having his hair cut. He’s crying because he’s not doing the hair cutting.