Giving my son a haircut
Cutting my son's hair on our patio on April 4. (Photo Credit: Patrick Hodges) VIEW ORIGINAL

I don’t consider myself to be a doomsday prepper, at least not like the folks portrayed on television. But, I do like to be equipped to survive awhile during a crisis or disaster. I certainly wasn’t scrambling to go to a supermarket to get toilet paper, milk and bread when the COVID-19 situation started getting serious. That said, having not really encountered a true crisis in my lifetime, I now see how I overlooked one routine and taken-for-granted facet to carrying on as normal as possible – the know-how on cutting hair.

Some may not consider a quality haircut to be essential for survival. In the truest sense of the word, it’s not; but there’s something about a haircut that just makes a person feel good – it’s a morale booster. In a situation where we’re doing more isolating than surviving, I’d argue that morale is important.

The word “essential” leads me to my next point – the powers that be have deemed barbers and salon workers non-essential for the average civilian. As this pandemic continues to drag out, people are starting to realize that they may need to take the haircut situation into their own hands. That’s where my family and I found ourselves this past weekend.

I personally sport a buzz cut, which for times like these is pretty handy. My wife made quick work of it and in about five minutes, I went from shaggy to sleek. I would highly recommend this haircut to anyone right now as you don’t have to be a professional to do it right.

The problem, however, came with my 6-year-old son’s hair. It’s longer, layered and chock-full of cowlicks. It practically takes a team of stylists to keep this kid’s hair looking presentable.

The thing is, my wife really loves my son’s haircut, and so does my son. So when I announced that I planned to give him a haircut “just like daddy’s,” they put the kibosh on my scheme with quickness.

Fellow fathers are probably thinking at this point, “Why is this guy even giving the kid a choice? Why doesn’t he just say, ‘These are tough times kid. Suck it up!’” That’s a valid point and it did cross my mind to just buzz a stripe down the center of his head and leave him no choice. Then, weighing the fact that I’d be stuck in the house with a wife and son who both would hate me for the next month or two, I decided to compromise.

So, I grabbed my clippers and scissors, gave my son a firm warning that I had no idea what I was doing, and promised to do my best.

I’ve watched people cut my hair hundreds of times and I’d seen them cut my son’s hair probably 25 times. How hard could it be?

Well, it’s really hard.

I started by trimming the back with the clippers, which ended up looking all choppy, despite my best efforts. I also went a little too far up with the clippers in the back, giving him this sort of weird, quarter buzz cut.

I moved onto the bangs and used scissors to cut straight across. Though I’m an amateur, I fully understood that this was just a first step. I went back in and cut with the scissors angled up, creating a sort of jagged effect. This helped avoid the dreaded bowl-cut look.

However, it was at this point that I realized the bangs had been cut too short. If you’ve ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber, his hair looked very similar to Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd, from the front anyway. The full haircut resembled a reverse mullet.

My wife, who had been carefully watching the process with her hand over her mouth, suggested I continue with the clipper thinning method I used earlier, but on the front. What I didn’t take into account before continuing was my son’s cowlick on the front right-side of his hairline. When I went over that area, I completely buzzed off an entire chunk of his bangs.

When this happened, I thought it would be wise to throw in the towel. I suggested to my wife and son that we just buzz it all off as originally planned and go about our lives. Much to my surprise, they still refused.

So, I did what any dad would do in this situation, I handed the scissors and clippers over to my wife and walked away.

I learned a lot from this…like I’m horrible at cutting hair, and I probably should watch some YouTube videos on it before attempting this again. And in times of crisis, human beings will do everything they can to hang onto what they have, even if it’s a failed haircut.

But most importantly, I now have a deeper appreciation for my barber — and my son’s team of stylists. Hair styling is a hard job, and an art, and they deserve every penny they make. I don’t care what anyone else says, they’re certainly essential to me.