“I can do that I thought to myself.”
After all, I’d seen it done many times before. It couldn’t be that hard.
I was deceiving myself, I know. People train for years to become good hairdressers. Who was I to think I could mimic their expertise at home?
But, with a tight monetary fist, a previously purchased “home barber” set and four woolly boys at home, I decided to give it a try.
Isaac was first. A couple of weeks ago I talked him into sitting down for the requisite 30 minutes. I ran the shears over his head, short back and sides. Then had a go with a pair of scissors, cutting off the curly bits I missed with the shears.
The result was definitely passable and, as I admired my work in the following days I became convinced that it actually looked fairly good. Isaac seemed satisfied but he’s refused to tell anyone it was his Dad who cut it.
Yesterday it was Johnny’s turn and he proved a bit more difficult. His hair is wispy, fine stuff, still baby hair really. On top of that Mommy didn’t want it really short.
“It keeps him from getting sunburned on his head.”
Any barber will tell you that young children are among the most difficult to cut. When they’re not crying, they’re wriggling around in the chair.
“Johnny, hold still.”
“Yeah, but Daddy, you’re going to cut my ears,” he said with his neck and shoulders all tightened up.”
“If you’d just hold still I promise I won’t cut them.”
He looks a bit better, but I suspect an expert examination would reveal a number of missed spots.
David’s hair is easy. It responds well to the clipper and was done in a matter of minutes. I left a little clump at the front so he could “spike it up” the way the boys do in primary school.
“This is going to have to come off,” Lisa said.
“Well, you’re going to have to tell him, not me.”
The clump remained.
“Benjamin, it’s your turn.”
I was surprised he sat down for me. Ben is more conscious about his looks than his older brother and likes the coifs the boys wear here in Scotland. He spends time in front of the mirror every morning.
“Dad, I want the V-neck I got last time at the barber.” The V-neck is the latest thing with a V of hair left longer at the back rising to a short Mohawk on top. Not your basic buzz job.
So, I ran him through with the clippers.
“A little shorter Dad,” he said.
I was looking for a No. 2 clipper guard, but couldn’t find one, so I used the No. 1, the shortest.
It takes a steady hand with the clippers. One slip can take out a sizeable chunk of hair.
I slipped, I saw his scalp.
“Oh s***,” I said to myself, smiling at Benjamin.
I was remembering the botched home hair cuts of my youth. I could see and hear his friends laughing at him, as mine did so many years ago, a trauma I didn’t want the boy to have to endure.
Once a chunk is missing, all the hair around the gap has to be cut to the same length, so I kept cutting. I had a backup plan. I knew I could call friend Hamish, who cuts my hair. “Look man, I’ve got a little emergency over here. Can you come?”
I could see him whistling at the mess I’d made. “There’s not much left to work with here, John. He’ll just have to wait until it grows back.”
Pride prevented the call and I slowly began to make headway amidst the carnage.
“Ben, this is really short.”
“That’s OK, I like it that way.”
“You’re not going to like this,” I was thinking.
But, I was able to salvage something fairly respectable.
“How does it look son?”
“Wow, this looks great, even better than the barber! Thanks Dad!”
All I could see was my mistakes and I suspect the barber might have something to say about Ben’s claim. But, the boy was happy, really happy. I think he’ll let me do it again and he might even boast it was his Dad who cut it for him.