Hair Scare

I don’t go hatless near playgrounds anymore because I don’t want to upset the children.

There’s this recurring nightmare where I do exactly that and a terrified boy spots me. He instinctively reaches up to touch the hair on the top of his head to reassure himself that it is still there. He’s relieved to find that it is, but his eyes continue to drill me, because in my style he sees the death of all his dreams.

Any modern boy would be perfectly justified in doing this because parents in Georgia are using my haircut to shame their sons.

There are at least five elements at play in this “trend”, if it can be called that.

  1. Children misbehave
  2. Acceptable methods of discipline are in short supply
  3. Many men, as they age, lose hair
  4. Men try to hang on to as much hair as possible
  5. No child wants to look like one of these men

The inevitable result is the haircut punishment – trimming a ten year old’s mane to make him look like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, or me.
As someone who came by this hairstyle naturally, I’m alarmed that my “look” is considered so toxic and undesirable that free spirited children will curb their own of self-expression to avoid it. What does that say about me? That I have, in my later years, turned into a monster, of course. My fate is something to be avoided at all costs. For people in any age group, worry about “what will they think of me” is a powerful lever to change behavior. But at this point in my life I thought I could be a positive role model. Instead, I’m being used as a a bludgeon.

Behave, or it’s this!

A word of advice to the kids: If you think following the rules will guarantee you a full head of hair forever, you should reconsider. I behaved and wound up like this anyway, so you’re not completely out of the woods.

And to all the barbers out there – I know at one time barbers were also surgeons and there was a lot of blood involved. As you might imagine, that association made people hesitant to sit for a simple haircut. Now that those days are gone, do you really want to equate the barber shop with punishment? Sure, it may bering in some business today, but when those children grow up, they will have a built-in haircut/humiliation association.

Do you really want that?

Share your worst haircut experience.

54 thoughts on “Hair Scare”

  1. Well, this will be embarrassing to share, but………forty years ago and in a too brief window between my first and second marriages, a very nice-looking man asked me for a date to go horseback riding. l went out and bought a cute wig, braided it, and gingham ribbons at the end of each braid. I was trying to “look the part”.

    Tim’s horse lead the way while my horse lagged behind a ways. All of a sudden, his horse took off galloping and my horse followed suit. I saw the branch coming and foolishly sat straight up to see if I was going to miss it.

    The branch clipped the top of my head, leaving the wig hanging from it. It then fell to the ground and my horse stepped on it. Tim saw the event, rode back, got off his horse and gallantly picked up the wig, dusted it off, and said, “You don’t need this”. He couldn’t have been more mistaken! I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that self-conscious in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I was born with difficult hair and a mother who had no patience with said hair. She was born with the lush curly locks common in her family. My sister and had the paternal hair genetics–thin, fine stuff. Mom’s motto was “cut it short.” This was best since she was frustrated by hair. My poor sister was the victim of multiple Tony perms which produced a nightmarish look.

    My brother, of course, was the recipient of the Irish thick, red, gorgeous hair which my mother cut in a buzz.

    It just was not fair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was born with a mother who wanted me to look like Shirely Temple when l was three or four and l can still smell it and recall sitting there for hours and feel the discomfort of the five thousand permanent rods pulling my hair. Children tend to exaggerate at such a young age, but that’s where memories are laid down. It was probably only two hours and 20 rods, but the stench and the sting were quite real!

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      1. My sister always thought she was SO BEAUTIFUL after these perms. She was really difficult about the actual process–sitting still, tolerating the odor. I remember the rods as more than 20!

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  3. Really: “at one time barbers were also surgeons” ?? I did not know this.

    Many toddlers, when being told they are going for a hair cut, get scared silly – to have some part of you get “cut”, they know, is not a good thing. Go ahead, try and explain how a finger cut hurts, but cutting their hair will not. I learned to say we were going for a hair TRIM, and it worked much better.

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  4. The day before her first big ballet recital, daughter, age 5, cut her bangs really short. We had to use a lot of hairspray to get those short bangs up to look like they were part of her bun.

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  5. I have always been among the follicle-ly challenged so bad haircuts have been few and far between. However, two come to mind. I was 16 when I received my first shaving-of-the-neck-and-sideburns by a barber in Minot, ND. He did nick me with the straight razor. It seemed best not to complain at the time considering my rather defenseless posture but I’m pretty sure all my back pains from that time forward stem from the extreme tension placed on my spine. The second was in 1975. Location: mid town Manhattan. There was nothing wrong with the haircut but I was charged $30.00 plus tip. There was no signage as to what the cost would be, so I accepted the tariff as part of the New York experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some people have a bad hair day, I had a bad hair decade. As I’m sure I have mentioned to some of you, my hair used to be (mostly) straight. I had pixie cuts until I was well into grade school. In about 5th grade two major changes happened: my eyes went from 20:20 to needing glasses and my hair started to get curly. By 7th grade it was really curly. I went to a local place to get my hair cut and the guy who ran it decided short and curly all over was best, because it really showed off the curls. I looked like Orphan Annie if she hadn’t bothered to try to comb her hair (and less charming, since I had big plastic glasses to add to the “look”). There was no taming the curls – they went every which way. That haircut was followed by what can only be described as a “girl mullet”…it got better in college once I let it grow out a bit (and by that time I had found a better stylist).

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My first hair cuts were given by Mr. Kay Aanenson, the barber who ran Kay’s Jip Joint on Main Street in Luverne. He was a noted dancer of the Charleston, and spent much of his youth as a professional dancer on cruise ships in the 30’s. He was a Norwegian Bachelor Barber, and always dressed in the latest fashions. I saw him at church every Sunday. My dad always took me for my haircuts. If I cried, Kay would just give me sticks of Wrigley’s mint gum. Of course, there would be hair in the gum after a while, as I cried and chewed and Kay would just stuff piece after piece in my mouth. He usually wanted to give me a pixie cut, but mom cautioned my dad not to let that happen, as my hair was thick and would stick up all over with a pixie cut. I suppose I ended up with a modified page boy cut. It was one of Kay’s relatives who started the Old Dutch Potato Chip company.

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  8. First – all my haircuts until high school. I have super straight, fine hair and my mother wouldn’t let me grow it until high school. So she selected a sort of pixie – just below the ears with bangs cut straight across. I don’t know what I wanted but I didn’t like that. I would go to the barber and say, “Please, not a theater, not a theater!”. I had been to some plays and the bangs and straight sides reminded me of a proscenium stage with top and side curtains. I’m sure the barber didn’t know of what I spoke.
    The other bad one was one of the first times I cut my waist length hair after college. I went with a friend to a salon; we sat side by side in the big chairs. She had her hair cut by her regular, trusted person and I just got whoever else wasn’t booked. I decided to put my fate in this person’s hands. Farrah Fawcett was huge then and the hairdresser decided that was the style for me. My hair looked good for about 15 seconds and started to sag and look pathetic before I left the salon.
    I started growing it out immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife’s hair is very fine and very thin. They killed her thyroid when she was in 8th grade, which is probably why it is so thin. In our wedding pictures, her hair is shinny from all the hairspray to keep it in place. The hairdresser came and did it in the church. It did last through the wedding. It took me four years to talk her into buying a wig, which solved all the issues. She is still embarrassed that she wears a wig.

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      1. I do, too, Clyde. What little hair, always baby fine and scant, became even worse after chemo. Having gotten used to such a quick and simple way to look presentable, l’ve come to love using one! Saves salon costs and having bad hair days!

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    2. The only person who looked like Farrah Fawcett with her Farrah bangs was Farrah Fawcett (and one girl in my 6th grade class). That look came in right about when my hair got curly. Can’t do feathered bangs with curly hair. The other ‘do of the day – the Dorothy Hamill – was also not possible for me (though it looked great on my cousin with her stick straight hair that responded to a curling iron).

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  9. My daughter had no real hair until just before her fourth birthday. Every year I took a Christmas picture in a unusual place. That year I took it on the hearth of an old fireplace of a logging camp in the woods not far from us, the remainder of a building. Had it all planned. This year Becca would have real hair, not a lot, but not tufts of straw sticking out of her head. You know, of course, she cut her banks the night before.

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    1. I was fairly hairless until I was over a year. My mom used to tape a pink bow to my head because it bothered here that people said “what a cute little boy”!

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  10. Few of you will be surprised to learn my mother cut my hair until I was in about eighth grade. Do not spend money for what you can do yourself. She was a decent barber, skills translate from sewing . I was very far from alone in having a parent who cut my hair.

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  11. Good morning. As a young man I knew a bunch of guys that let their hair grow long. I tried doing that. It wasn’t a good look for me. I also tried growing a beard. That was uglier than the long hair. I did keep the mustache which I like. I do let my hair get kind of long before I get it cut. This is because I put off getting my hair cut longer that I should to keep my hair in good shape and I don’t mind looking a little scruffy.

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      1. My grand-daughter’s hair is like that. She keeps it long and loves the curls, even when it frizzes. Mr. Tuxedo has wonderful blond wavy hair. My CA grandson is just showing real hair–bright red, a combination of the red that runs through my family and his mother’s red hair.

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        1. My grand-daughter will be 5 next month and still has baby hair; and she does not like it, not one little bit. She longs to have a Queen Elsa braid thrown over her shoulder. We hold on to the hope that someday it will thicken up and be the hair she dreams of but it hasn’t begun to cooperate yet.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. For many years l wore what wasband described as a “dandelion gone to seed” hairstyle. It looked like an afro but you could see through to my scalp. Tight, curly perms every three months just to make it look like there was some volume when there was none.

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  12. I can’t remember any haircuts as a child, but I must have had them, and I don’t remember my mom cutting it. She sure gave me perms, though. What a gift when long straight hair came into vogue.

    When I was about six, I remember my mom coming home from getting a haircut and bursting into tears. Her long hair, which she had meant to get “trimmed”, was gone and she had a short haircut. She must have gotten used to it – I never again saw her with long hair.

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    1. I lived in the haymow for three days when my sister and mother were doing perms. They would do both in one day. It took three days for the odors to clear enough for me.

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  13. In my junior year of high school, I won the part of Anne, in the Diary of Anne Frank. The drama teacher thought I needed a little something to help me look the part. Since there was nothing she could do to make me look starved and waif-like, she thought an adjustment to my hairstyle might do the trick. She said she was pretty good at cutting hair and volunteered to give me a trim after rehearsal one afternoon. She combed a horizontal part behind the midpoint of my head and started bangs there that ended about a 1/2 inch below my hairline; maybe 2 inches above my eyebrows. It was horrible and there was no way to fix it. When my dad saw me that night, he immediately took me out and bought me a human hair wig in a nice style that I wore through the rest of my junior year while my bangs grew out. IIRC, the wig cost about $100 which was a huge chunk of my family’s budget back in 1966! A real nightmare haircut.

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  14. I’ve had more bad haircuts than I’ve had good ones. I have very fine hair – lacking anything that resembles body – and it’s wavy, apparently a challenge for most stylists. They all approach the problem with confidence – I can handle this – but almost inevitably it’s a mess when they’re done.

    My most notable haircut, however, was one I gave myself. It was while I was in Moscow. One evening I wanted to go dancing at the American Club, but I needed to do something about my hair. I started snipping off a little here and a little there. Then when it looked lopsided, I’d snip off a little more on the opposite side to make it more even, and of course, I couldn’t see what was going on in back. Eventually I ended up with a haircut resembling the one Mia Farrow sported in Rosemary’s Baby about ten years later. When I arrived at the Club no recognized me. A friend of mine said if it weren’t for the dress I was wearing, she wouldn’t have known it was me.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mom was the family barber growing up (for everyone except my sister and my dad). Her great uncle had been a professional barber, so mom knew some rudimentary tricks of the trade. It wasn’t a ‘style’ but it was better than a ‘bowl cut.’

    Occasionally, mom would make a bit of an ‘oops’ and that would be a good opportunity to tease her…which each of my clan always leaps upon like a starving squirrel on the last peanut on Earth.

    Mom was lopping off my Isaac Asimov-like sideburns which, if left unchecked, would potentially take over my entire head in a manner not unlike the Martian Red Weed from ‘War of the Worlds.’

    I had just been assisting mother by folding and moving my ear out of the way of her scissors. She commented that this was very helpful because she didn’t want to nick me. As I put my hands back in my lap, there was another few ‘snips’ and then mom said, “Oops.”

    This is not the most favored thing to hear from an operator of sharp implements near your delicate sensory apparatus. Curious, I asked, “What happened?”

    “Nothing, nothing…everything is fine,” my mother said as I felt her squeeze my earlobe sharply.

    “Did you just cut off my earlobe?” I asked with intentional exaggeration.

    “No, no…it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s just fine,” she said with mounting panic.

    Her hand came back into my field of vision and her fingers had a modicum of blood on them.

    “Well, ~one~ of us is bleeding,” I said. “Would you care to elaborate on which of us it would be?”

    She was really starting to lose it when I told her, “Just pack some of the hair clippings in it…that should clot it up just fine and I’ll hardly notice.”

    She felt badly because she was always worried that this would happen one day but I told her that I didn’t feel a thing and it -was- fine.

    Much teasing continued. “If you ~really~ want me to get my ear pierced, all you have to do is ask.” “Good thing you snipped off the earlobe…if it had been the top, I’d have to get my glasses re-adjusted.” “I know you’re hoping that one of us would turn out to be royalty but cutting off our earlobes is not the best way for us to fake it.” Etc, etc, etc.

    Things were just calming down when my dad poked his head in and said that he was just checking to make sure “my ears were on straight.” I laughed and said, “Well, they were when I came in here…”

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  16. I’ve been very blessed with thick, wavy hair so even bad haircuts weren’t really obvious. But I remember a disastrous haircut I gave my oldest son. He wasn’t even 2 years old, when I decided to cut his long baby hair.

    I was almost done and just doing a careful cut above his ear. But he moved at just the wrong moment and I snipped off the very top piece of his ear. He screamed bloody murder and I was totally traumatized by what I had done. I have never taken scissors to hair since. He’s 25 now and the top of that ear still looks like a small slice is missing.

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  17. I had the pixie haircuts with the too-short bangs countless times while I was growing up. I think the idea was to cut the bangs so short you wouldn’t need a haircut again for about three months. No one except Audrey Hepburn looks good in super-short bangs.

    Since I’ve had supervisory control over my own haircuts, I’ve had no serious complaints.

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