Getting a Haircut

After almost a year, I finally went to a proper barber and got a proper haircut today. It was an expensive proposition, and not without its own risk (imagine that! for a haircut!) but all things considered, a worthwhile undertaking. At last, at long last, I don’t look like a neanderthal anymore.

It took many contortions and patchwork fixes to get to this point. Around April or May last year, my wife gave me my first haircut, then once again in August. We borrowed a set of electric clippers from my brother-in-law, then we fired up a tutorial on YouTube. All in all, I thought she did a passable job, but after she accidentally gave our daughter a bowl cut, I could never get her to trim hair again.

Generally, my friends took one of three different tacks. The first strategy was to let it all grow out into luxuriant flowing locks. Unfortunately, it only works for younger men, trim of build, and without a nascent bald spot on the crown; already I fail the test on all accounts. Besides, I had never been much for more than the basic hair care of shampoo and water.

The next strategy was to shave it all off, and a tempting prospect it was. It must feel fresh and liberating, but…I have a big dent at the back of my head. As a baby I was left in the crib too long without my head being turned. *Pihing!* Someday, maybe someday, I’ll get around to it, when I’m a little less chicken. I wonder if I’ll look my grandpa, the late Donato Martinez.

The final strategy was to cut your own hair. My brother-in-law had gotten quite good at this, and the few times we saw each other, the trim looked barbershop-decent. Aside from his own, he was also cutting the hair of his son and my Dad. How’s that for developing an alternative career?

I ordered my own set of electric clippers. From Shopee. At just a little over P100, it seemed like such a steal. You can guess how that worked out. The first few trims were tolerable, but then my thick hair started to jam up the teeth. Afterwards, it felt like it was chopping and pulling more than cutting.

And so, month after month of pushing off the decision, suffering through the pain of dull clippers, and growing weight of a burgeoning moptop, I finally went to the barber at the mall. I hadn’t realized how expensive it had gotten: P330 now for a haircut! I suppose I could have gotten it cheap at the neighborhood salon, but I figured after a year, I could splurge a bit.

Besides, it felt safer. By now, they had adapted to the new exigencies: the dropcloth was paper, the barber wore a mask and face shield, and believe it or not, he managed to cut my hair without me ever taking off my own mask. As he cut my hair, I couldn’t help but think of all the little things we used to take for granted.