I’d like you to meet my son. He’s six years old, cute as a bug and smart as a whip. Now where could he be? He was here just a minute ago…..
No, wait! I see his grubby sneakers, his well-worn sweatpants with the collection of rocks and nails in the pockets, his unaccountably spotless Godzilla t-shirt. ACCKKK! Where is his head? There is some sort of unruly tumbleweed kind of shrub atop his skinny little neck where his head should be!
In a panic only a mother can comprehend, I grab hold of what appears to be some sort of alien invader engulfing my offspring’s noggin. With a shudder of horror, I brush back the tangled menacing locks and find: My son. Mildly surprised and blinking somewhat in the light, but I’d know those big browns anywhere. It’s my son, alright.
Looks like it’s time for a haircut.
Cutting hair is not difficult. Anyone with a sharp pair of scissors and a modicum of patience can tame a head of hair with reasonable success.
Now, I’m not talking about anything fancy that will require curling irons, rollers or any type of styling goo. For instance, here’s the extent of my long hair cutting technique. Every so often, I will grab my hair, pull it around to the front, figure out by feel where it thins (generally about an inch from the ends), and whack it off at that point.
No, what I’m about to relate is strictly a very basic short haircut suitable for men, boys, and females with shorter, cuter noses and better cheekbones than are possessed by yours truly.
The best place to cut hair is outside. You don’t have to worry about the mess of hair everywhere, the lighting is good, and the vast outdoors takes the sharp edge off of the screams of any unwilling participants.
Grab your scissors and rustle up your head of hair to be cut. Now, if this head belongs to your husband, you are in luck. All you have to do is tell him that his presence is required not to push/pull/fix/kill anything, but just to sit still in a chair for a few minutes in the sunshine while you massage his scalp and he’ll be knocking down furniture and shoving small children and dogs out of the way to get to you. If you are also holding a brand new Sports Illustrated and his favorite beverage, the speed you will witness will take your breath away.
Just like shooting fish in a barrel.
If, on the other hand, the head is smaller and wilder, you will need another tactic altogether. As a parent, you are told to never lie to your children. Lying to children will teach them not to trust you. It will teach them to lie in return.
This is silly. Children are born liars. A child so tiny he can’t even form words will emphatically shake his head in denial when asked if he’s been in the cookie jar, crumbs cascading from his chubby chin onto his Buddha-like belly.
So instead of calling “Junior, time for your haircut”, cheerily holler “Junior, time for ice cream for breakfast”, or “Junior, it’s raining monkeys outside”, and when Junior rounds the corner at a swift trot, snag ‘im with a stout rope and proceed to the front porch.
When my son was tiny, he had lovely locks of spiraling angel hair. He was over 2 when I finally resigned myself to the first haircut. I valiantly walked into Supercuts with the little guy, his curly locks were gone, and we returned home a grownup looking little boy and a mother in tears clutching a framed lock of hair. For some mysterious reason, his second trip to the barber went badly. Extremely badly. We left with about 1/3 of his head done at the request of the hairdresser.
Thus began my avocation of barber. The first year haircuts were accomplished with my husband’s help. I’d cut hair frantically while he drew pictures with Alec sitting on the table. I never knew how adept my husband was at drawing some convincing renderings of motor vehicles in various colors and configurations.
Now Alec is a big boy and sits quietly, except for asking “Are you done yet?” after every snip, and shrieking “ITCHY ITCHY ITCHY!!!” after every fifth snip, and alternately peers at me appealingly or glares at me balefully through the falling hair.
With the help of digital photography, and having promised fully half of my article payment to my victim, er, volunteer, who has been saving up to buy a camper for the last 4 years (yes, since he was 2), I will commence to share my exceedingly unscientific, completely untrained technique for clipping the average head of hair with unspectacular yet satisfactory results.
Step One: Corral your victim:
Step Two: Wet the victim’s head and towel dry. Comb out hair—the look we are going for here is something like this:
Step Three: facing your victim, gently pull up a hunk of hair, and measure off where you want to cut it using your fingers. The important part is to hold the hair vertically:
as a horizontal cut will result in a look similar to Moe. On a bad day. Repeat all over the head, checking length once you are finished to make sure you didn’t miss a spot.
Step Four: Once you have the entire head a uniform length, trim the back and around the ears. If you are dealing with an adult, clippers can be used at this point. For twitchy, noise-shy little guys you should be able to at least trim the back.
You may need to forget about around the ears until they are less unpredictable.
Step Five: Brush off any stray hair, toss your victim into the shower for a good shampoo and rinse, thank your victim for not biting you…
and release back into the wild.