Since this post went live, some things have changed. Read to the end for an update.
I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m good at a lot of things—obsessing about disaster scenarios that may or may not ever happen, attempting to control even the most menial aspects of life, and Monopoly. But despite my best efforts, I discovered cutting hair is not something I can add to the list.
Let me back-up a little bit. So I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for almost a decade. Over the years, we’ve had our share of ups and downs—we’ve celebrated the birth of our two children, mourned the loss of both of his parents, and cleaned up more poop than we ever imagined possible. And for most of those years, he’s favored a clean, simple straightforward hairstyle. Every week or so, he takes out his clippers and gives his head a once-over (leaving a dusting of tiny little hairs sticking in the bathroom grout lines). A month or so, ago, we were looking through some old photos and came across one with a much younger (pre-kids) version of us. Freshly married, full of hopes and dreams and collagen. The sun radiating off of our bright, unlined faces as we gazed adoringly into each other’s eyes. Not a care in the world, and no idea what we were about to get ourselves into. We looked so happy. And youthful. And damn… my husband looked good. Not that he doesn’t look good now, but he wore his hair longer back then. And I liked it. (This is when he actually went to the barber to have it cut. No wonder that younger version of me looked so happy; she didn’t have hair clippings coating her bathroom every week). Maybe you should try growing your hair out again, I said, eyebrows suggestively raised. And just like that, no more hair clippings in my grout lines.
Truth be told, this isn’t the first time he’s thought about growing out his hair. He’s toyed with the idea of rocking a style beyond his usual buzz cut—but that would require regular trips to the barber. And my husband, like most men, doesn’t like spending a lot of time or effort on his personal grooming. So he asked me to pick up the clippers. Normally, I’d brush off his request (pun intended), but since I’m going to be stuck in the house with him for the next who-knows-how-long quarantining, I decided it might be fun to shake things up a bit. Plus, I knew I wouldn’t have to be seen in public with him for a while if things were to end badly. Spoiler alert: things ended badly.
So that brings us to this past weekend. Given that I don’t have any real knowledge or experience in the hair-cutting world, I did what any good millennial would do—searched for tutorials on YouTube. I watched, and re-watched the videos. Pausing, taking notes, and sketching in the margins to make sure I understood the exact clipper placement on his head. Then we discussed what I learned—how to blend, which guards to use, and what is the best angle and wrist motion. Giddy with the anticipation of seeing my husband look 10 years younger, I eagerly grabbed the clippers and made the first pass. Not too bad—my lines were a little uneven, but that would be fixed later when I started to blend. Another pass through, and… well that’s OK, we’ll just start blending a little higher on his head than we had anticipated. Another pass with the clippers and, oh no! I wasn’t supposed to go that short on the side of his head. And wait, why isn’t this blending? Maybe we need a different guard… no, wait! That’s too short! Every time I try to blend, it just keeps making a sharp line! This isn’t how it was supposed to go! And why are all these damn little pieces of hair all over. They’re getting in my sleeves! And they itch! Stop, just stop! I’m just making it worse!
Finally, after 45 minutes of sweating, swearing, and slaughtering his hair, I had to admit defeat. I set down the clippers, and we looked at the mirror in dismay. Maybe it will look better after you shower, I said. Maybe I should just buzz it off, he replied. He opted for the shower. And it did not look better.
Well, he may not look like the man I married so many years ago, but I’m still gazing adoringly into his eyes (because if I look at his hair, I won’t be able to stop laughing). After all, it’s not everyday you can say you’re married to a man who has the confidence to Zoom with his colleagues all week looking like he was attacked by a weed wacker. Although I don’t think Hairstylist will ever make my resume, I’m determined to keep trying. Maybe I just haven’t stumbled on the right tutorial yet? Let’s just hope my next attempt goes better than my first.
Does anyone have any tried-and-true tutorials? Or better yet, any Hairstylists willing to train me once this quarantine is lifted? Drop a comment below!
UPDATE: After my original post, a friend of my husband’s (with a cosmetology license) took pity on him, and offered to give me a lesson. Obviously, thanks to COVID-19, an in-person meeting wasn’t in the cards anytime soon. And my husband’s hair was clearly in desperate need of some immediate attention. Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is how we found ourselves on a Sunday evening, tripod propped against the toilet, our kids trying to cut my husband’s beard with the clippers, and our friend giving coaching and encouragement over video. I plied my kids with Fruit Loops (to give us a few minutes of peace), chugged a glass of wine (to steady my nerves), and grabbed the scissors. The results speaks for themselves. Thank you, Jen!