Today is early release at school and hair cutting day for the two older grand daughters. There bangs are creeping into their eyes and large families of rats are nesting at the dry ends of our middle grand daughter's hair, creating cries of pain when I evict them.
The thought of hair cuts brings back memories of those first few years when I was learning to cut hair. Actually, I'm still learning to cut hair as it is an on going process but most times the results aren't quite so tramatic. Okay, except a couple years ago when I forgot to put the comb back on the clippers and I put a bare spot on our son's head. But, that's another story. The following is the tale of when I began the adventure into home barbering told as if it were yesterday.
I like the secure feeling of self-sufficiency, so encouraged by my husband I decided to add barbering to my list of things I do myself. It was 8:30 p.m., our small children snug in their beds asleep, out from under foot, not tugging on my pants wanting a drink while wading through the hair on the floor or antagonizing their siblings disturbing my concentration. The best time to begin a new adventure I figured or was it? At this late hour the beautician' shops were all closed if I needed rescuing. Over confident, I equipped myself with a borrowed pair of scissors and escorted my husband to a kitchen chair. I figured I could do this. After all, I'd been cutting bangs for years.
A snip snip here and a snip snip there and a re-snip snip here and there; and after a third or was it a fourth round of snip snips, the clock struck 9:00 p.m. I stood back to survey my handiwork -- I mean disaster. Before me sat a new member of the "Monkeys". You remember them. The band that was popular in our youth. Only my husbands hair cut was much shorter and since the band broke up years ago, he wasn't about to be caught dead impersonating them. Knowing him, he probably never would have impersonated them.
Anyway, the under my breath" Ut, Oh!" sent him scurrying into the bathroom to survey the damage while I rushed in the opposite direction for the phone calling a friend who had for years been successfully cutting hair for her large family. Listening to her phone ring, I prayed she'd answer and prayed she'd be in a merciful mood. Most of all, I prayed she could make the mess I'd made half presentable once more. Her hello was met by a tearful plea for her to come and rescue me. It was a marriage emergency. Okay, that might of been a bit strong but as I peeked around the bathroom door I wasn't sure how far off I was.
To her credit, she didn't laugh when she saw my husband's hair but a smile did tug at the corners of her mouth and she assured me her first hair cut wasn't none too pretty either. Instead of repairing the damage herself, she guided my hand and an hour later the latest outdated band member was sporting a maybe not stylish hair cut but, at least a presentable one. Some mistakes just can't be fixed. They just have to grow out.
There were two things Kirk and I decided to do differently the next time.
1. Cut hair when the local hair salon was open despite children under foot.
2. And, if I wanted my husband to remain as a guinea pig I'd better speed up.
My next victims were our daughters. My oldest's hair cut turned out okay. In fact, she was quite proud of her mother. That of course isn't saying much since the year before she had taken the scissor to her sister's bangs and thought it looked pretty good too. Still, my confidence had been restored and I started in on our middle child. Just a little trim I thought. I was soon staring at a miniature Dorothy Hammil. Remember her?, the figure skater? Afraid she would be mistaken for a boy, I dressed her constantly in pink. All for nothing, as every one loved her hair and she wore it that way for a couple years.
Not ready to give up I bought a hair cutting book for dummies and my own pair of scissors. Then I convinced my husband to allow me to snip at his hair once again. Such a brave man. At 9:00 p.m. one night I began. So much for lesson number one. But, other than Kirk falling asleep twice and the discovery that virgin wool sweaters washed in a washing machine and hair had much in common, it wasn't too... bad. Yes, there wasn't much hair left but hey, he didn't look like one of the Monkeys.
So the moreal of my story in case you didn't catch it is if you want to learn to cut hair start when your kids are small and marry a tolerant husband. Through their patience we
ve save a bundle of money on hair cuts over the years and it wasn't but a few years ago that I stopped cutting our own children's hair. Our son has been letting his grow far beyond military style and has discovered, to our daughter's dismay, that he has lots of curly locks and they were left with none. As for our girls, their hair cut choices are beyond my range. That's okay for grand kid's hair cuts are keeping busy.
How grateful I am for all those ladies who helped me along the way. Especially for my neighbor, a beautician, who moved some years ago, and cut my hair but refused to cut our children's, insisting instead on teaching me how to do the styles our children wanted.