One of the most humiliating aspects of my childhood were haircuts. My mother cut my hair until I was 22 years old and those cuts were universally bad. To this day, I may have had two good haircuts in my life. Of course, that wasn't bad enough.
Haircuts to me evoke summer days on the deck, standing submissive, stripped to my snow-white little boy briefs while any neighbor who happened by could just stop and talk as my mother fiddled and fussed with my head, turning it one way or another, bending back my ears till they were red and sore. There were even threats to cut off an ear if I kept squirming. There was also the threat of the dreaded bowl cut (or a complete shaving) if I complained to much. After, I would have to run inside and wash my hair and get all the clinging snips off my shoulders and chest. Haircuts make me feel pale and skinny and powerless.
I remember Tim and Julie helping me shave my head one night in '97 at 2:30 AM after I had drank a pint of Maker's Mark with Mountain Dew. I thought bald might be a good look and save me the trouble of future haircuts. I was wrong. Some heads are just shaped wrong. Mine is one.
In Alaska, I grew a beard and did not cut my hair for eleven months. That was also a bad idea. I still think of the hateful look in the eyes of the Wilmington barber who finally had to cut through that mess.
All this comes up for a reason: I broke down and got my hair cut last night at this barbershop in my neighborhood. I was getting pretty shaggy and the weather was getting too hot for it. The barber spoke hardly any English; he just kept shaving away and saying, "Better? Better?" over and over. I am of an age where the hair at the roots is a shade grayer than the ends. I was terrified.
Luckily, I'm ok with the new look. It was about time. I went home and washed up and drank a can of Bud Light in the shower. I felt like a new man.