*Haircuts and Other Self-Inflicted Wounds *
By: gvi
20 December 2011

The files in my home labeled "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" and "Don't Do Like I Did" are the fattest in the drawer. You'd think they wouldn't hold any more, yet I somehow always find a way to stuff another entry in there.

Getting a haircut is a fine thing. You feel clean and refreshed, and usually leave the barber looking better than you went in, even if in my case only in a relative, lipstick-on-a-pig sort of way.

Giving yourself a haircut is a completely different matter. It's as well-advised as representing oneself in court, and for the same reasons. Still, it's doable if you have a sense of adventure and humor, and don't hold yourself to very high standards when first setting out. Just the same, the interested adventurer may find benefit from the experiences of those who have gone before him.

This event, like so many others, forces me to resign myself to the fact that the meaning of my life is merely to serve as a warning to others. In that spirit, here are some excerpts from the GVI-Gives-Himself-A-Haircut-After-Action-Review:

1) A very nice set of haircutting impedimenta will pay for itself in the first five or six haircuts. It ought to pay for itself in the first two or three, but as it's fairly certain that you'll be paying a visit to the barber to fix the mistakes of your first couple of go-rounds, you may as well figure the added expense into your cost/benefit analysis.

2) Hair clippers with adjustable heads are graduated in numbers which, the manufacturer alleges, roughly correspond to eighths of an inch. Says so right there on the package. Don't believe it for a minute, Pardner! Back the thing all the way out before you even turn it on. And even if the implement of destruction IS correct in its graduations, I submit--and I'm now in a position to know--that 3/8 of an inch looks a heck of a lot shorter on your head than it does on a ruler.

3) Have a place for the hair to go when you do cut it off. It turns out I was pretty clever on this one. I laid my daughter's sink-top mirror in the bottom of the bathtub, the better to watch me mow my head. I leaned back over the sink to get the little stuff that insists on growing down my neck and invading the top of my back, and sure enough, the fruits of my labor landed mostly where I wanted them to land.


4) Just because it's a sink or a bathtub, DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that water and the drain are the proper means to get rid of the clippings. Let not yourself be enticed by the siren song of the apparent ease with which the thin, tiny wisps of hair you used to possess OUGHT to be washed down the drain.

You see, your hair doesn't want to leave your head (in fact, most of mine seem to want to but the remaining holdouts have their own opinions). When you cut it off, it resents what it rightly sees as injustice and tyranny, bravely banding together when (adding insult to injury) you dump a bucket of water on it in an attempt to get it to flow into the bathtub drain. Hair can be very courageous and resourceful at times like these, and it puts up stiff resistance. So much so, in fact, that it does as good a job as your drain stopper - or perhaps better than your drain stopper.

This leaves you with doing now what you should have done in the first place; namely, manually picking up the clippings and putting them in the trash bin. Only now, you have to do it with a disgusting, wet clump of hair clippings instead of dry, featherweight, wisps of practically nothing at all.

5) If you aren't a parent or a spouse, you likely haven't yet learned that the ability to lie convincingly and on cue is an important survival skill, one best applied with a well thought-out and rehearsed cover story beforehand.

I can honestly say that my daughter is learning to cut hair--she tried once before and did a whale of a job better than I did. The thing I can't honestly say is that she is the one responsible for the way my hair looks this time. That doesn't mean I'm not going to blame her when I get asked why my hair looks like it does.

And who knows? Maybe I'll be able to use the excuse of bleak impoverishment to secure enough donations from sympathetic friends and well-wishers to get my butchery cleaned up by a true professional.

Yup. One more experience to add to an already overfull "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" file.

Consider yourselves warned.


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