“Oh, shoot,” I said, except I didn’t say shoot.
Considering that I was holding a pair of clippers and standing behind my husband, these words were especially foreboding. It’s never good when the hairdresser curses while working. It’s even worse when the hairdresser is barely qualified to plug in the clippers, much less select and change the blade guard.
Even though I have no formal or informal training regarding how to administer men’s haircuts, I have been roped into doing them for the last several years. When a woman shows up on a remote ranch, someone immediately hands her a pair of clippers and all the cowboys line up. It’s weird.
Cowboys live a long ways from town and a barbershop, and I guess they figure women have a knack for cutting hair.
I’ll take full credit for single-handedly proving them wrong.
The worst haircut I have given to date happened a few days ago in my kitchen. My husband wanted me to try giving him a high and tight, so he handed me his phone to watch a YouTube video. After 18 minutes, I said “She makes it look easy, but I’m not fooled. I will probably screw this up.”
“You told me to watch a YouTube video and install your car stereo, so get the scissors and give it a try,” Jim replied.
You’d think someone would be more interested in their hairdresser’s proper training and education. But, you’d be wrong, if that someone was a cowboy with extremely limited barbering options.
While the kids were occupied in the bath, I used the bare clippers on the base of Jim’s head. I carefully took them straight up, not following the curve of his head. So far, so good. Just like the woman in the video. I grabbed the scissors that once upon a time came in a haircut kit but have since been used to open bags of goldfish crackers, cut through cardboard boxes, and slice through string. Once snip of the hair revealed they were way too dull for the task at hand.
So, I grabbed a number two blade guard and took the low-skill approach to finishing the haircut. By now, the kids were out of the bath and the little one was angry. I held him with one arm and ran the clippers with my non-dominant hand.
I have no idea why I do the things I do sometimes.
I tried to smoothly blend the short back with the slightly longer top, but the toddler’s spastic reaching for the clippers caused me to equally spastically jerk him away from his dad’s head. Naturally, this affected my ability to run the clippers in a controlled manner.
The haircut quickly acquired a variety of straight lines, sharp corners, and indentations.
“This looks like shit,” I dejectedly told Jim.
“It’s okay, you’re doing good, just keep blending.”
God bless that man for being so helpful and encouraging, even as his wife was butchering his hair.
I grabbed the number zero blade guard, because I’d never seen one before and I thought it might help blend the short area into the too-short area. One buzz in proved that theory wrong.
That’s when I cussed again and said there was no hope. He would just have to wear a hat 24/7 until his hair grew out. Possibly longer, to prevent me from trying to give him another home haircut.
Can you guess where I experimented with the number zero blade guard? If you think this looks bad, you should see what I did to his sideburns. I miss Nevada, where I could just take a number two blade guard to the whole thing, leave a forelock, and call it good.