“I need a haircut.” Not on a protest sign, a desperate plea in our own home. Gary thought a cut was long overdue and yesterday he finally succumbed and allowed me to get the scissors out. It was with great trepidation that he sat in the kitchen, shirtless, while I wielded the scissors normally reserved for Scruffy. My little dog has no teeth and a fragile jaw so I “groom” him; and now I was going to groom Gary.
Knowing that Gary is particular and more than a little vain, I took care to clip only the back of his head. Then he had to check in the mirror. Next were the instructions on how he wanted the hair he combs to the side trimmed. After that and no major disaster, he described what must be done to the other side. Not too much later he was satisfied, no small feat on my part. Gary was actually delighted because he’d expected to look bad.
In the day, people did things for themselves. I cut my Dad’s hair, I cut Mum’s, I even cut my brother’s in the late sixties, although the result gave him a distinct resemblance to Friar Tuck. The home salon experience didn’t end there. In our farming community in the 50’s and 60’s, home perms were beyond popular. I remember Richard Hudnut and Toni brand names and Prom may have been another. The one Mum favoured came in a pink box. She lent out her “perm rods” and was sought out for her skill in using them. Everyone looked like a poodle because the resulting “curls” were tight and their ends burned by the harsh ammonia. The “permanent wave” never loosened and needed re-doing in about 4 months.
I liked doing friends’ hair and it was an economy. The salon was for very special occasions. One of the last times I gave a “perm”, my girlfriend and I got into her husband’s gin. When he came home to the odour, two tipsy women, and a wife with hair like a frizzed Brillo pad, he was furious. Fortunately, when my friend’s hair was “set” and dried, it looked fine.
“I need a haircut.” Next time I hear Gary say this, I’ll be a little nervous. I shouldn’t have done such a good job; the bar is now set high. All the same, I was glad to see the we could still “do for ourselves.” It was a time honoured tradition that people are re-discovering as they stay home. It’s nice to be fussed over and looked after. Estheticians and stylists provide a service but in these times, you can “do it yourself.” Stay safe.