posted by Joe Anaya on March 12th, 2012

The barber, er…she prefers the term stylist, I see usually does a nice job. One time, we were chatting and she asked, “How’s that?” I run my fingers through my hair and decide the back part of the top of my head is a little too long. I ask her to take a little more off the top. She picks up her scissors and comb and goes back to work. “How about now?” I check again and it feels like she didn’t really trim the top of my head near the back. So, I say, “Uh, still a little more.” She gives a hesitant look and starts again with the scissors and comb. Now I’m paying closer attention. She reminds me of the Monty Python skit where Michael Palin is playing a tape recorder with sounds of him cutting hair while the he cowers in the back not really doing anything.

She steps back and nods for me to take a look. I run my fingers through my hair. I put a perplexed and slightly frustrated look on my face. She’s taking nanometers off the ends. She sees my face as I had hoped and hands me a mirror. “How does it look from the back?” she asks. As a general rule I don’t care much about the back of my head. I see the front and do what’s needed to make it look presentable, but the back I don’t see and as long as someone hasn’t secretly carved their initials in my head I’m fine. I take the mirror and to reduce the stress of telling her to get on with cutting my hair the way I like, I check out the back of my head via the reflection in the big mirror. With a gentle firmness I reserve for someone who uses sharp objects around my neck and head, I intone, “It looks fine, but it’s still too long.” Then the truth comes out.

With the sensitivity of an undertaker, she confesses, “If I cut it any shorter, you’ll see your bald spot.” She sheepishly points to the spot I was trying to make shorter, “You’re getting thin up here.” Apparently, she’s had other customers not take the news well.

While I appreciate her sensitivity, I am not worried about my hair thickness. In my earliest memories of my father, he was already bald and gray. Thankfully, my mother’s father had hair late in life and that’s what genetics cares about. The fact that I’m middle-aged and just starting to thin is a relief.

I explain that I really hate having long hair. My hair gets wavy and bushy as it gets longer; that I did get from my father’s side of the family. I also would really hate heading down the slippery slope of a comb-over. I instruct her to trim away. I don’t care if someone sees my thinning hair, especially since that person would have to be hovering above me looking down. Now, if she had asked if I wanted my ears trimmed, that would have upset me.



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