I enjoy cutting people’s hair. I mean, I really enjoy cutting people’s hair. I think if I could live my life again, I’d ditch university and learn how to cut people’s hair well enough to charge money for it. Well, probably not, and if I did I’m sure I’d learn to hate it, but occasionally, the urge strikes me, and I march into the living room wielding a pair of scissors, and I brightly ask; “who wants a haircut?”
My husband used to let me hack away at his hair a number of years ago. I think I did four really good haircuts for him over the course of a year. Unfortunately, I then did a really bad haircut for him, and he hasn’t let me near him since.
The children, however, are too young to understand the danger of answering me gleefully with; “Yes please! Can I have a Mohican?”
Claudia’s never been to a real hairdresser. I was determined for her to have gloriously long, princess hair when she started school, so the few trims she’s had while it’s been growing have been an inch off the bottom to neaten it up. A few weeks ago I noticed it was looking a bit ratty and tangled, so I asked if I could cut the bottom bit off. She agreed with gusto, and told me she wanted it short like Harry’s. When I suggested just a bit off the bottom, she put her hand close to her crown and said; ‘This short!’ We compromised on a bob.
Being four, I didn’t think layers or anything fancy were necessary, so I just cut it in a straight line to the top of her neck, and I have to admit, it looks really cute.
She spent two, gratifying days saying; “I love my short hair!”
I was briefly sated.
A few weeks later I walked into the living room with a gleam in my eye, and my husband instantly ran away to don every hat in the house while muttering; “it’s fine! There’s months’ worth of growth in it yet! Years even.”
Then my eyes fell upon my son.
Now my daughter has perfectly lovely, normal hair with a slight wave at the back and curls at the front. If I screw up while cutting it, it springs back to wherever it wants to be, covering my epic failure. My son’s hair is a whole different kettle of fish. Tom’s hair is thick. Not just slightly thick, but really, really thick. He has around three times as much hair as is strictly necessary on a human head. Each individual hair is quite fine; it’s not like it’s wiry. There’s just an awful lot of it. And after that bit, there’s an awful lot more.
It’s also straight. Absolutely, completely, utterly straight. It’s straighter than a Roman road. It’s straighter than the route that the crow flies. In the sixties, people ironed their hair for hours on end to get what my son naturally has.
The problem with this is that if it gets just a little bit long, it hangs on his head, covering his eyes, and given time, probably blotting out the sun. It needs to be kept short for the good of humanity. He doesn’t have wispy, fair waves that he can toss freely with a slight lilt of the head. If Tom shakes his head too quickly, lives could be lost. The other problem with this, is that it refuses to nicely cover up any accidental scissor lines or slightly longer bits.
So I’ve been saying for a few weeks; “Tom needs a haircut.” My husband has been happily ignoring these comments, but when his muttering turned from; ‘it’s fine!’ to; ‘it’s not that bad,’ I decided to take matters into my own hands. Literally my own hands. We’re a touch strapped for cash at the moment, so a barber’s out of the question, and an extensive search for the hair-clippers came up with nothing. It was going to be down to me, and my trusty pair of scissors.
I sat him down on a chair, put a video game on to render him virtually comatose, and I went to work.
As always with these things, I started with joy in my heart and a; ‘tra-li-la, hum-diddly-um…’ in my mind.
After the first five snips I realised that we were officially past the point of no return, and I really didn’t have the first idea what I was doing.
There was nothing for it, but to persevere.
I cut a bit more.
I started hoping I’d work out what I was doing before long.
At about half an hour into the experience, Tom asked if we were nearly finished. At this point, the hair at the top of his head looked slightly like the pudding-bowl look as is often seen in medieval period dramas. The back hadn’t been started, and that part was still quite long and flowing. It was… what’s the word I’m looking for here? Oh yes, mullet. Mullet central. There was absolutely no way I could stop now.
At about forty-five minutes, we reached Tom’s sitting still limit. I was roughly at the point at which I needed to snip neatly around his ears. I decided to sacrifice neatness in exchange for not accidently drawing blood.
We mutually decided to just stop when we reached the one hour mark when my trusty method of; ‘just cut it shorter and shorter until it vaguely looks right’ failed me slightly. I went to run him a bath muttering things like; “he’s six! Nobody care’s what a boy of six’s hair looks like!” and “it’s better than it was, at least. Sort of. Maybe if you squint at it a bit.”
Oddly, he actually quite likes it. I suspect I’m going to finish the job at another point over the weekend, but a lesson has been learned. I’m not exactly sure what that lesson is. I suspect Tom’s lesson is; ‘Never say yes!’, and my husband’s is; ‘Hide the ruddy scissors before leaving the house!’ Unfortunately for them, my lesson appears to be along the lines of; ‘if at first you don’t succeed, just keep cutting and cutting until eventually it’s at least short, even if it’s still not even.’
At least I’m not cruel enough to post pictures of it.
Well, apart from this one.
(I have had another go, and it looks substantially better now!)