What is it in the makeup of so many fathers that compels them to cut their sons' hair? Every father I know has tried it at least once, usually to the chagrin of the mother and the detriment of the child's looks. Is it a carry-over from days of yore, a self-sufficiency thing?
Whatever propels men to this strange but strangely common behavior, my husband is no exception. It all started innocently enough. We took our son, Jack, in for his first haircut, the delightfully low-maintenance style known as a buzz cut.
The barber swept Jack into his seat, belted him in, and within a matter of minutes had cut his hair the length of grass on a putting green.
My husband, Walker, paid, inwardly seething at the price charged for such a "simple cut." I remained quiet while he ranted. Looking back, this was my second mistake.
My first mistake? I should never have allowed him to come along in the first place.
Several months passed, and it was time to once again have Jack's hair cut. I allowed myself to be convinced that Walker could do just as good a job as any barber, and since "we already had the clippers," it would be free to boot. Mistake No. 3.
Gone was the efficient professionalism of the barber. This simple cut required extensive preparation.
Walker cleaned the patio and then got out a little table, followed by a little chair. He lifted a trusting Jack onto the chair and, with a loud snap, unfurled the sheet that would protect Jack's tender neck and shoulders from falling hair. Next, he laid out his tools with the utmost care and precision. Finally, he was ready.
Walker revved the clippers a few times and then ran them steadily over the top of Jack's head. Nothing happened. He fiddled with the controls for a moment and tried again. Still nothing.
This time he fiddled and then removed a little white piece that guards the moving blades. "There. Now it should work just fine," he said, smiling at me.
I gasped. There, straight down the top of Jack's head, was a wide swatch of shiny, very white, bald head. This was a bad haircut, a very bad haircut.
Once started, there was no turning back; there was no way to disguise this mistake. So while I silently left for the store to buy some hats, Walker shaved the rest of Jack's head, leaving him absolutely, undeniably bald. This was a buzz cut to the extreme.
At first I was embarrassed to take Jack anywhere. Curious strangers would stare, wondering what had caused this balding condition.
Only Jack's big sister approved of his new fuzzless look. Sitting beside him on the couch, she would watch TV while rubbing her hand slowly back and forth over his velvety, baby-soft head.
Jack's hair finally grew out, and a mere six months later, he is now ready for another haircut. Walker mentioned that fact the other day as he was looking all over the house for the clippers.
"Have you seen them?" he asked. I just shook my head and walked out of the room.