I hate getting my hair cut. Hate it. I have no real reason for this hatred other than forced small talk is one of the world's worst inventions and there's really no way out of it when you're getting your hair cut. You pretty much just have to grin and bear it when your barber/stylist curses like a sailor or doesn't understand why people love Star Wars or decides to use the straight edge for no reason and cuts your ear or definitely just got off a smoke break and has the smelly hands to prove it (all real things that have happened in my life). It's the worst. For a long time I went to a barber shop where most of the stylists spoke no English just so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone about the weather or something and I just dealt with the fact that they never really got the cut right because, again, they couldn't speak English. It was worth it. Then one magical day, after years of trying and failing to find a style that was practical, functional, and rad in spite of a head full of cowlicks, I finally broke down and had my non-English speaking stylist buzz the heck out of it. And guess what? IT WAS AWESOME! I walked out of the salon that day thinking to myself, "WHAT IN THE WORLD HAVE I BEEN DOING FOR 28 YEARS?! THIS IS THE BEST!" Shortly thereafter I started cutting my own hair and declared that I would never again be subjected to the weird awkwardness of 20 minutes spent with a random, small talk-y, Star Wars-hating, ear-cutting stranger again! Freedom (but without the dying and stuff)!
Well not quite. I didn't think through the whole, "Eventually kids have to start getting their hair cut" thing. Curse you, children, and all of your growing up! Regardless, last week I found myself right back in my personal hell at a place called Cool Cuts with a child who wanted absolutely nothing to do with this whole thing.
Now, prior to this date we had NUMEROUS people demand that we NOT cut his gorgeous curls. To those people I say, "Seriously?" This was a looooong time coming. We'd been meaning to do it for literal months because, for real you guys, he was starting to look like a Boxcar Child. When this kid was in the bath and had his hair wet, it stretched all the way down past the back of his neck. We're talking major mullet here. And if we tried to go an extra day without bathing him, you could look at him and think he might be some sort of feral child who would definitely bite your leg and try to crawl off with your purse. Something had to be done before CPS stepped in.
So we sat him down in the seat, a metal car that once upon a time was probably cool and comforting to unsure children but is now so old that it looks like something you might find in Chernobyl, and allowed the stylist to do her thing. Cooper was uneasy with this whole thing at first but seemed willing to give it a try during all the pre-cutting stuff.
But as soon as she started tugging on his hair with both comb and fingers, he decided this wasn't fun at all and wanted out of the Chernobyl car immediately. This resulted in the funniest/saddest video of all-time:
Let's just say this process took a while. Every time he'd settle down and start watching the video on the tiny TV, the stylist would start attempting to cut his hair again and he'd whip around and stare into her soul with the look of someone who had done time until he rediscovered the TV and we'd start the whole thing over again. In the end, I had to lean over and put my face against his so he could rub my ears (his comforting mechanism that totally doesn't make the top of my ears look like I've found a new way to shoot heroin) and wait until the awfulness came to an end. When it was all over, I took him out of the tetanus-y car seat, paid a fee that is either way too much for cutting a child's hair or way too little given all the weeping and death stares I still haven't decided, and promptly headed down the road to get ice cream.
It was in the ice cream parlor that Lindsey and I truly got a good look at the kid and realized that while we may have gone into Cool Cuts with a little homeless baby, we had come out with a real little boy who is probably right on the verge of carrying on full conversations and going to school and playing team sports and heading off to college and starting his own family and all of that real life stuff that was so far away pre-haircut but suddenly seemed right around the corner. Which is what you really want from a $30 hair cut, right? A sense of your own mortality? Cut it out with the growing, kid.
Maybe next time I'll take him to the place where they don't speak English, Brian