Jerry Nelson: Homemade haircuts

Jerry Nelson
Special to the Farm Forum

I didn’t have the gumption to see it through, so I gave up on the project.

My wife and I have been doing our best to maintain social distancing during this coronavirus situation. This meant forgoing haircuts, which gave me the perfect excuse to accomplish one of my life goals, namely, to have really long hair.

Nothing as extensive as the locks associated with Crystal Gayle or Lady Godiva, but something respectably lengthy. Something along the lines of the beer-bellied Thor in the movie Avengers Endgame.

The aspiration to have long hair dates back to my childhood.

My parents cut my hair when I was a tyke. I would be plopped onto a chair and a towel draped over my shoulders. Mom or Dad would then attack my jumbled mop with an electric clippers that had approximately the same horsepower as an outboard motor.

There would ensue much squirming and such parental mutterings as “Hold still!” and “Oops!” and “Don’t worry, it’ll grow back.”

But I didn’t care how my hair looked. That is, not until I boarded the school bus.

Comments like, “Did your mom use a bowl when she cut your hair?” and “Aren’t you too young to have a bald spot?” cut to the quick. I decided to avoid further embarrassment by simply letting my hair grow. Additional inspiration was provided by popular culture, including the song “Hair” by the Cowsills, which contained the lyrics, “Oh say can you see my eyes if you can then my hair’s too short!”

While I wouldn’t mind if I began to resemble a sasquatch, my parents insisted that I keep my locks trimmed. I countered that I it was my hair and that I could do whatever the heck I wanted with it. We compromised by sending me to our hometown barbershop for haircuts.

This began a long and (mostly) happy relationship with the barbering industry. Over the years, I’ve learned that going to a professional haircutter and asking for a trim is like ordering food at a restaurant. You never get exactly what you want; at best, you get a vague interpretation of what you ordered. For instance, your idea of a sirloin cooked to “medium” might mean seeing some pink inside while the chef’s notion of “medium” might involve serving a piece of beef that looks like a lump of charcoal.

These concerns became irrelevant the moment I decided to let my hair grow. As my golden locks lengthened, I became increasingly aware of what a pain long hair can be.

I was totally unaccustomed to peering through my glasses and having my view obscured by a forest of follicles. I borrowed hairclips from my wife, but they looked ridiculous, especially when I used the one that features a sparkly blue butterfly.

My intent was to have hair that’s long enough to form a man bun. But let’s face it: man buns look dopey. Matt Damon, one of the most objectively cool guys on the planet, sported a man bun in the move The Great Wall. Have you seen Matt with a man bun since? Nope! Wonder why? Because the only way he will wear one is if he’s getting paid to do it!

As far as I know, nobody is lining up to pay me to sport a dopey-looking ‘do.

Everything that’s old is new again. Faced with few good options, I decided to resurrect the venerable tradition of in-home haircuts.

My wife and I have a troubled history regarding this practice. She tried to give me a haircut when we were newlyweds and nicked my ear. There’s plenty of blame to go around regarding that debacle, although I must point out that I wasn’t the one holding the scissors.

Hoping to avoid bloodshed, I purchased an electric clippers. After watching several YouTube haircutting videos my wife felt ready to tackle my tangle of tresses.

The clippers slowly made its first pass up the back of my noggin, its motor chugging like an overloaded truck climbing a steep hill. A clump of hair the size of a squirrel dropped to the floor.

“You sure you know what you’re doing?” I asked my wife.

“Be quiet and stop squirming!” she replied. “It’s like giving a haircut to an over-caffeinated wookie!”

“See any ticks? Ticks really like long hair.”

“Not yet. I could take the guard off the clippers and give you the Vin Diesel look. The ticks wouldn’t have anywhere to hide.”

“No, thanks. Just steer clear of the ears, please.”

We got through the ordeal without any major incidents, and I am exceedingly pleased with my homemade haircut. You can hardly tell where the bowl sat.

Jerry Nelson