Courage at Twilight: Dreaded Haircuts


Dad took me to a barber for a hair cut when I was a little boy.  I felt terrified, for reasons long forgotten, and cried and cried and cried, until Dad gave up and took me home.  I am sure he felt thoroughly frustrated, though he did not punish me.  Well, perhaps he did.  From that day on, Dad cut my hair, with scissors and electric clippers.  Inevitably, the clippers nipped painfully at my ears and the scissors caught and pulled my hair and the cut hair went down my back and stuck to my face and the whole experience was humiliating misery.  I came to dread getting my hair cut, but having pitched a fit, I could not really complain.  All through junior high school and high school Dad cut my hair.  I wanted cool hair, like the popular kids, parted down the middle, and long (it was the late 70s after all)—and I did NOT want Dad, or anyone, cutting my hair.  Of course, not being the cool kid but wanting cool long hair so badly translated into an ungovernable mop, with its occasional mediocre hair days.  When my brother Steven came to visit before Christmas, he noticed the steel sheers on my desk.  “I know those scissors!” he exclaimed.  How could you possibly know those scissors, I thought.  I have been using them for decades; they have been my truest and sharpest scissors.  “Dad cut our hair with those scissors!”  Somehow, I had unwittingly inherited them, using them for all my paper cutting needs.  “Don’t you remember how our hair always got caught and pulled in the hinge?”  Oh yes, I remember.  Looking back these decades, Dad was quite a skillful barber.  He did a great job on an insecure adolescent who wanted to look a certain way and feel a certain way but did not know to even begin approaching the subject successfully.  So, not knowing how else to go about it, I submitted to Dad’s haircuts.  Steven, younger and feistier, was not so tolerant, and soon left home for his haircuts.  Now, of course, I am bald and the whole matter is moot.  Just put the clippers on #2.

Me, circa 1980.


Me in 2021

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