Perspective

I ask everyone who sits in my chair how their day is going. Partly to make conversation, and partly because sometimes we hairdressers also wear the hats of Therapist, Confidant, Sounding Board,etc. Sometimes though, I just get a good laugh.

I asked a 15-year old boy how his day was going, and he was having THE WORST DAY OF HIS LIFE (his words). First, his phone died, because he listens to music on it all day, and could only charge it during 2 of his 3 classes. Then he decided to learn guitar, because MUSIC IS MY LIFE, MAN. But he picked up his first guitar and his fingers kept slipping of the strings. So he FAILED at that. Then, and you’ll never believe this – his mom said he had to get a HAIRCUT.

I tried to offer him sage advice, but eventually I agreed that he was having the worst day ever. What with his smartphone, and apparently lax schooling, and access to a guitar on a whim, and parents that care about his appearance, etc.

Yup, worst day ever.

Foster kid

A family came into the shop, and the mom sat in my chair. There were also 5 boys and her husband, all getting haircuts in preparation to meet their newest family member, a little girl that they would be fostering. On asking about it, the mom’s logic was pretty sound:

“We couldn’t make a girl so we borrowed one.”

I thought that was just about the sweetest thing.

Haircut for Santa

Around Christmastime, a 6-year old boy with long black hair sat in my chair and wanted it all buzzed off. When I asked why, he said that he “wanted to make sure Santa knew he was a boy.” Apparently this was his idea, not mom and dad’s, and they’re not sure where it stemmed from, as last year he didn’t receive any “girl” toys. But I complied, and hopefully this little boy with a shaved head got all the proper presents.

ringlets no more

A dad brought his 4-year old son in for his first “real” haircut. He’d been trimmed at home, but he still had his beautiful baby ringlets. Dad was ready for him to look “more like a boy,” so he wanted quite a bit of length taken off. After discussing it, Dad said to go ahead and make it a full mohawk: skin on the sides, and enough length taken off the top so that it would stand up on its own. I asked him several times if he was sure, and reminded him that those ringlets would not come back. He was sure, and of course the boy was totally into it. And just for funsies, let’s put in some colored gel to make the mohawk blue and super spiky.

As I was shaving the boy’s head, I asked if Mom knew he was getting a haircut. Apparently she knew he was getting it cut, but not this haircut. I asked the dad to not blame me when Mom flipped out from him cutting off all of her baby’s beautiful hair. The dad just chuckled.

Although I never did hear from the mom, so I still wonder how the new ‘do went over at home.

14 year old eyebrows

It’s very common when I’m cutting a man’s hair that I also trim up any long hairs around his eyebrows, ears, what have you. If they don’t specifically ask for it, I offer. (And in the case of ears, I normally just do it.) It seems the older men get, the more accepting they are of the existence of super long hairs above their eyes.

I was cutting the hair of a 14-year old boy when he suddenly got a little bit nervous and mumbled a question. I asked him to repeat it, and it turns out he wanted his eyebrows trimmed. I complied (even though he didn’t really need it) and assured him that he was nowhere near “mad scientist” on the eyebrow level. However, he seemed relieved that either I did it, or it wasn’t a major issue. He also didn’t mention it to his mom, which is unimportant but may also show that he didn’t want her to know either.

As of today, he’s the only kid that has asked me to trim his eyebrows. But I know teenagers are very concerned about their looks, and who knows, he may have had a first date or something to get ready for. Hopefully his newfound eyebrow confidence worked out well for him.

ultimate heartbreak

As I’ve mentioned before, we give out lollipops as bribes for children that sit still and don’t cry for their haircuts. We also have stickers and temporary tattoos, but those don’t have quite the draw that free candy does.

However, I never realized how important the candy was until the day we ran out.

Repeat customers have come to expect the treat at the end. Often, as soon as they get out of the chair, they run to the counter where we keep the stash. One child did exactly this, but when there was nothing there, his little heart broke. I saw it, my coworkers saw it, his parents saw it, everyone in the salon saw it. Nay, felt it. That child’s world had just ended. He sat through a haircut, perfectly still and not making a peep, and all for nothing. NOTHING! His whole world was a lie. Never would he enjoy getting a haircut again.

In that moment, none of these words were expressed, but we could see it all on his little face. He didn’t cry. No, he took a deep breath and silently walked away. But it was such a heavy moment that I wouldn’t be surprised if he went home and wept quietly into his pillow.

None of us ever wanted to repeat that moment, so we made sure to restock on the candy as soon as possible.

the sleeper

A dad brought his 2 & 1/2 year old son in for a haircut. I could see the boy was sleepy, as his eyes were drooping and once in a while his head would flop. I started using the clippers on him, but he wasn’t listening to us telling him that he needed to keep his head up. We noticed that he had actually fallen asleep. He slept right on through the clippers buzzing against his head, and his dad had to come physically hold his head up so I could finish the cut with scissors. We stopped worrying about waking him up, because this boy was out. He was drooling, and at one point he even snored. Dad was struggling to keep the boy’s head up while I cut his hair, and we had a choreographed dance to do it. In fact, I had to stop several times because I was laughing so hard. Dad even managed to get his phone out and take some pictures. The boy kept on sleeping through the whole thing. The only time he briefly woke up was when I finished the cut and Dad lifted him out of the chair. But he snuggled up and went right back to sleep.

My coworkers congratulated me on actually putting a child to sleep (which I’d never had happen before), but credit lies with the boy’s older brothers who played with him so much that he just couldn’t stay awake anymore.