The Trimmings and Trappings


What’s the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut?

About two weeks.

So knowing my mistakes would eventually take care of themselves, I took it upon myself years ago to be the family barber. But since Kate gets a haircut only about once a year, I don’t mind splurging the 12 bucks at the Super Cuts down the street. She’s such a good little client. She strikes up conversations with the stylists and adores every second of the scalp massage during the shampoo. And to get a good blow dry? The ultimate.

But all of that is wasted on the boys. The three little boys abhor getting their crew cuts crewed. That’s why we do it at home. I got sick of paying exorbitant tips out of sheer embarrassment over their sulky (Andy) and sometimes violent (Luke) behavior. Their gut reactions upon hearing the clippers rev up are…well, let’s just say you would think it was a chainsaw, the stylist was named Freddy and was donning a hockey mask. To make matters worse, they grow hair like Rapunzel on prenatal vitamins. They need haircuts all the time.

Scientifically speaking, I know there are no nerve endings in mammal hair or nails (nail clipping is a whole other post–“you’ve cut off my weapons!!!”) That is why we are told to not feel sorry for a horse getting shod even when we see the the farmer hammering in huge, sharp metal nails. It doesn’t hurt, right? So why do I feel like a shoddy dentist who forgot the Novacaine every time I buzz up their necks?

Parenting books always say to give children choices. Well, the haircut is non-negotiable. So yesterday the choice was, you can either suck it up and take your haircut like a man, get family bucks and treats and come out the other side looking very handsome. Or whine and cry, get pinned down and maybe I’ll do a good job, maybe I won’t. You decide.

Andy didn’t cry, but he made his reservations about my styling skills known throughout. (“Never insult the women holding the scissors, Andy.”) Luke’s bottom lip quivered, but he held still. Dean? Dean was my best client by a mile. For the first time, he liked the vibrations of the clippers on his smooth scalp. Here are the results.

Now those are some locks of love.

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