#163 - The Buzz Heard Around the World

9 minute read

Motto: I Hate Getting My Hair Cut.

Yesterday was the worst day I've had since Thor died. Let me tell you the story. Let me tell you the story of my haircut. I hate getting my hair cut. I always have. This is for several reasons:
  • I have to slouch really low in the chair and it hurts my back.
  • I have to small talk for 15 minutes with someone whose usual barrage of smalltalk questions never apply to me (sports this and cars that, seriously).
  • I never know what to tell the barber.
  • I have to hear a sales pitch for how I should do my hair differently, usually involving expensive hair goo that they would be glad to sell me.
  • And, to top it all off, I have to pay for all of my troubles.
Usually I bring along a partner to dull some of the displeasures. Melissa can tell them what I want and can talk to them while I sit there in slightly less uncomfortable silence. Yesterday I tried to get a preliminary haircut to set the stage for a real, professional one that I'd get one week before the wedding. That's when this happened:
How did this happen? I was out running errands by myself. I had laundry in the wash and wanted to get back in time to move it over to the drier. I had 20ish minutes, which seemed like a good amount of time for a quick hair cut. When I got to Sports Clips (the only place that's open on a Sunday) I slouched way down in the chair and told the lady what I wanted. I think she could sense that I was in a bit of a hurry. I based what I wanted was off my previous haircut, which I actually very much liked. I made a point to ask my previous barber what she did so I could tell all future barbers to do the same. I confirmed my recollection of what she said with Melissa before I started my errands. After I told the barber what I wanted, she said "oh, so you want to go a lot shorter?". I've heard that before, you know. I don't like haircuts, so I always go somewhat short and let it grow way out so as to maximize the time between cuts. Barbers usually tell me it's going to be a lot shorter. It's always a lot shorter. That's what a haircut is. So I just said "yup". She said alright and started her work with the buzzer thing. She started on the back and sides of my head. I was turned 45 degrees from the mirror - it was in front of me and to my left. When she started in on the top of my head, she started just behind my right ear. In other words, completely on the backside of my head from what I could see in the mirror. She was working fast - really fast. After her second pass over my right ear I knew something felt wrong. I turned my head to see what was going on. That's when my heart sank right down through my stomach, into the chair, then into the floor. She was shaving my head. Shorter than a crew cut. Shorter even than what I'd typically think of when I think of a buzz cut. She'd already taken off 1/3rd of the hair from the top of my head. I could see my scalp... clearly. I gasped, and apparently looked pretty upset. She asked what was wrong. I asked her if what she was using was what I told her to use. She said yes, and it turned out she was right. What I had told her was way wrong. Either way, it was too late to turn back, so we finished the job. My hair is the shortest it's ever been. At least it's the shortest it's been since I was a little bald baby. I look like a recovering cancer patient... and I am getting MARRIED in LESS than a MONTH. How did this happen? Afterwards, I moved the laundry from the wash to the drier and called Melissa. I started the conversation off with "I'm so sorry". Conversations that start with an apology are never good. When I asked the barber on my previous haircut what I should say to people to have them to cut it like that from now on. I could have swore she said "have them do a 2 on the sides, 3 on top". At the time, that sounded like a perfectly reasonable description of my hair. It was shortish on the sides, a little longer on top. I asked Melissa before I started my errands if 2 & 3 sounded right. She said "sure". I don't know what my previous barber had said, but it couldn't have been 2 & 3. Turns out that "2" and "3" refer to "1/4 inch" and "3/8 inch". If I knew that, I'd have known it was obviously not what I was looking for. I might look okay by the time of the wedding - but I will NOT look like Aaron Gillespie. On the day when you meet the extended friends and family of your bride, the day when you are supposed to represent the best possible version of yourself, I won't look like me. On the day that arguably the most important pictures of your life are taken, I won't look like me. On the day that inarguably the greatest number of pictures of you are taken, I won't look like me. It's the worst possible thing that could have happened at that barber shop. I was just getting a preliminary cut. There was going to be a professional cut done about a week out from the wedding. It didn't matter what my hair looked like, so long as it was fixable in a few weeks. It was supposed to be quick and insignificant, and it turned into the most important and worst haircut I've ever gotten. How did this happen? How many things had to go wrong exactly like they did for this to have gotten so badly messed up? I feel like a teenager who took the car out for a joyride in a mostly empty parking lot... who then hit the only vehicle parked in it. If ANYTHING other than what happened happened, we'd be fine. How did this happen? I had to break the news to Melissa. That was hard. She's still sad about it, but she knows how terrible I feel. She's put so much work into planning this wedding and I went and irrevocably screwed the pooch in 3 minutes. Thousands of dollars on photography, ruined (or, at the very least, sullied) by a $20 haircut. Now, for the next month, every single person who knows me will look at me and, in an instant, say "WHAT HAPPENED?! Aren't you getting married in a month? Is Melissa pissed? How did that happen!? Why didn't you stop it? Why didn't you make sure it wasn't going to look like that." Then they'll call me an idiot. And I'll deserve it. How did this happen? So: To Melissa: I'm sorry. To everyone else reading this: Please don't ask.

Top 5: Candy and Nuts that could have Prevented This
20. If I hadn't been in a hurry - but I was. 19. If I had shown her a picture of what I was looking for - but I didn't. 18. If I had said "around an inch on the top" - but I didn't. 17. If I had mentioned anything about "bangs", or "off the ears", or anything else to tip her off that I was picturing something way different from what I told her to do - but I didn't. 16. If I had said "I've got a wedding in a month, I want to set it up for another haircut in a few weeks" - but I didn't. 15. If I had waited to get it cut in a few weeks, when it would have been my last cut before the wedding - but I didn't. 14. If I had gotten this cut a month ago so it could grow out some more - but I didn't. 13. If I had looked up what "3" was on the internet, or asked somebody, just to be sure - but I didn't. 12. If my recollection of what my previous barber had said was off in the OTHER direction - but it wasn't. 11. If I had insisted on facing directly towards the mirror so I could keep a better eye on what she was doing - but I didn't. 10. If she had faced me directly towards the mirror in the first place - but she didn't. 9. If she had phrased the "you want to go a lot shorter" differently... "you want a buzzcut", "you want to take it all off", "you don't want to have to comb it anymore", or said anything other than specifically what she said - but she didn't. 8. If she'd confirmed with me in any other fashion before making the first cuts - but she didn't. 7. If she hadn't been going so fast - but she was. 6. If she had stopped and asked me how it was looking at any point before she made the irreversible cuts to the top of my head - but she didn't. 5. If she had started on the side of my head that wasn't on the complete opposite side of the mirror - but she didn't. 4. If Melissa had said "I'm not sure 2 & 3 are right" - but she didn't. 3. If Melissa, or anybody else had been there - but nobody was. 2. If it hadn't been a new hair place - but it was. 1. If the barber shop WE WENT TO THE DAY BEFORE wasn't CLOSED AT 2PM - but it was.

If ANY ONE of those 20 things HADN'T been the case, I'm sure that this wouldn't have happened. But they all happened... and now I look like an evil henchman from an action movie.

- Jon -