When I was in preschool, my mom thought that she was qualified to cut hair. I had always worn the standard bowl-cut, looking like a native boy from the Amazon. No one would be surprised to see me carving a canoe out of a log with nothing but a sharp stone, in the jungle. How challenging could a bowl-cut be to execute? The steps of the procedure are in the title, bowl on head, cut. But my mother needed no bowl. She had an eye for arts and crafts. Free hand baby!
With an old beach towel wrapped around my shoulders, that for sure was in too much of a state of disrepair to ever leave the back of our linen closet, never to taste the brine of saltwater again, I sat and awaited the clippers.
Oh the dreaded clippers, rusty dog clippers that we stored in our basement, I can still hear the loud SNAP! that they made when they were turned on. Who knows the life those clippers lived. Matted pet hair, beards and back hair, never meant for a bowl cut. Scissors are what the bowl cut demands.
I am still filled with fear when I need a haircut. I let my hair grow until it appears that some stray cat has fallen asleep on my head. Only then will I reluctantly drag myself to a salon to awaken that cat from its slumber. Never do I book an appointment in advanced. Otherwise I will no doubt stress myself all day long, and eventually cancel.
I have since out grown the bowl cut. Now I wear short shag. Yet, I have the hardest time dictating to a hairdresser just what I am asking of them. The direction “I need a haircut” gets one nowhere in a salon. I used to look through magazines for pictures of people sporting the same do that I was looking for, then cut it out and bring it in, only to get a disconcerting look. “Poor boy can’t talk. Sit down honey; I’ll cut it like the picture.”
Once the only picture with a style near what I was after, was worn by some beefy, Mexican model with gold chains and fake tattoos. Nothing like the scrawny white body that I am trapped in. So I reluctantly hand this woman the picture from the men’s magazine. She looks at it closely, then at me through the mirror, and asks, ”Is this you sugar?”
Now, I could accept this as lame humor, but she was for real. She honestly thought it was me. It actually looked more like her. Now I’m supposed to let this blind woman have her way with my head with a pair of sharp scissors?
“You know, maybe I should let my hair grow out a little longer. I hear this is going to be a chilly July. Thanks anyways” And away I ran.
This trepidation to hand over my scalp to a blade wielding human has followed my throughout my life. I can recall a hair salon in a mall back at home with the god-awful name “Head-Hunters”. What kind of image is that supposed to evoke in a young kid’s head. I would stand outside kicking and clawing at my mom, as she’s drag me in. There was no way I was going to let these primitive tribal members come near me, bones through there noses, carrying spears and woven baskets.