Thursday, October 30, 2014

First Hair Cut

After 633 days without a haircut, my kid was rocking some serious locks. On some days, it would curl up and look really cute and my wife and I couldn’t bear the thought of cutting it. Other days we would look at each other, both of us knowing that social services may be watching.
But we wanted to hold off until he was two. I don’t know why, but that was the plan. What was the rush anyway? It wasn’t like he had an impending job interview or something.

But last Sunday, for whatever reason, I said something about getting it cut and my wife finally relented. I’d been ready to just grab the scissors and a bowl and go to work, but my wife thought that might not be a good idea.  So we hopped in the car, heading for the mall. 

Being almost forty, I tried to remember the last time I got my haircut at the mall. Pretty sure it was in the eighties and I told the girl to cut the sides but leave the back long. The result was one pretty sweet mullet.

We strolled in to the first place. Okay, I strolled in. My wife started crying. Right then I knew we were in for an experience. And boy was it.

The really nice girl took our name. The other girls looked at my son and did that Awwwe thing. He just nibbled away at his goldfish, clueless as to what was coming. So were we. 

When our name was called the light poppy music skipped to a halt, replaced by the sinister moan of an organ. Then, from the dark recesses of the store emerged a figure...

The Butcher.

She came for us slowly, cloaked in black. Her steps clicked like a timer as she set her eyes on my poor little son. She ran her broom across the floor, a deep scowl etched in her face as she nodded for us to put the boy in the chair. For reasons I'll never know, I did as she asked. We flinched as she slung a cape over his tiny shoulders. Then, with the first hint of a smile, she ran a finger across her weapons scissors.

There he sat, like a lamb for the slaughter. The Butcher began her work, speaking in tongues--a horrid mixture of baby talk and scolding. I looked at my wife. What had we done? 

Look, I get it, I can see how it could be frustrating to get a little toddler in the chair who won’t sit still. That being said, when you hit him with the blast of hot air from the blow dryer and he jumps like it’s a flame thrower, you may not want to do it again. And again.

But The Butcher pressed on, only stopping to moan or sigh because the  small child in her chair was, you know, moving around. She even got a little stern, grimacing and sighing, all the while hacking away with the sheers. It was a bad, bad time.

Finally my wife waved her hand. She’d had enough. She took the kid and muttered something to the effect of YOU BETTER NOT TIP HER. I didn’t. Frankly I was surprised they charged us..

The Butcher stuffed the clippings into a happy Baby’s First Haircut envelope. We pretended nothing happened. I thanked her….awkwardly…for just…you know…okay bye.

We hit the mall in search of another salon, my wife marching like a storm trooper shaking her head. People pointed and laughed at the kid with the funny haircut.

Then, like a shining beacon we found hope. We entered another salon. After a few gasps at the sight of our child, (somebody mentioned that pets were't allowed), they promised to help the best that they could. The next girl was llike and angel. She spoke in soft tones. She was friendly. She had this refreshing habit of smiling. And Simon behaved, for the most part. He sat and she worked her magic and the result is that after two haircuts and thirty bucks, he looks like a boy. 

I still say the bowl would have worked. Because for me it was just hair, I didn't get it. But to my wife it was so much more. With the crying and all, she was clinging to that hair like a memory of her baby. But he’s no longer our baby, he’s a little boy. 

Great, now I’m crying…

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