Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shear Desperation

Shear Desperation
By Allison Adams, 09-01-09, submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 09-02-09

For the last couple of weeks I’d neglected to try desperately to get my son in for a haircut. (When a teenaged boy begins and ends his day with a reminder to his momma that he needs a haircut – its serious.)

You know how hair is: One morning you just wake up to find that overnight your hair crossed the line of looking like it needs a little trim, to looking like it belongs on a Troll doll.

For my son that day came last Saturday, when, in shear desperation, he asked me if I would cut his hair.

Just in case you’re wondering, I am not professionally trained. (In anything.) However, that little detail rarely slows me down.

“I would be honored” I replied. “Please sit here on this kitchen slash barber chair, sign this waiver, and we’ll begin.”

“Not funny, mom. Please be serious.”

I rifled through a number of junk drawers in search of the perfect weapon – I mean – tool. I rejected several candidates (safety-tipped, purple plastic, missing a finger-hole handle) before I selected a shiny, silver pair of scissors. I found a comb in the toolbox, and grabbed a new garbage bag from a box in the garage.

“Don’t these scissors look professional? Now then, I’ll make a hole in this black garbage bag and you slip it over your head to keep stray hairs from sticking to you.”

“What about my arms.”

“You won’t be needing them. Let’s see. I need to get my bearings.”

I used the comb and my fingers to explore his head of hair – just like the professionals do. Then I hatched a plan.

“I guess I’ll start here, in the back. (Snip, snip, … snip.) Did you say you wanted it pretty short?”

“Seriously, mom. Just give it a little trim – okay?”

(Snip, snip. Comb. Pull. Snip, … snip, snip.) “Were you interested in any particular hairstyle?”

“No. No style! Just give it a little trim.”

“You know, there’s a lot more to being a hairstylist than meets the eye. (Snip, snip, snip, snip… Comb. Pull. Snip, … snip.) You have to have proper training and sterile tools …”

“You don’t have those.”

“… And you have to have focus, a steady hand, and a strong back!”

“You don’t have those either.”

(Comb. Pull. Snip, snip, snip. Comb. Pull. Snip, snip … snip, snip.) “Ooops. I meant to ask if you wanted it cut above the tops of your ears.”

“Not really.”

“Oh.” (Snip, snip.) “ That’s too bad.” (Comb. Pull. Snip, snip, snip … snip.) “What about sideburns?” (Snip) “Did you want me to leave your sideburns?”


“Oh. (Snip.) “That’s too bad.” (Comb. Pull. Snip, snip… snip, snip, snip. Comb. Comb. Pull. Snip, snip, snip.) “I suppose I could leave the other one.”

“Mom. Please focus. Really.”

(Comb. Comb. Pull. Snip, snip … snip. Comb. Pull. Snip.) “Good heavens – you have a lot of hair! I need to rest my back; get off my feet. I may need to stop for a few minutes and take a break.”

“Are you kiddin’, mom? Seriously. I’m really sweatin’ in this garbage bag! And I can’t move my arms! Just focus and finish – please!”

“If we owned one of those electric sheep-shearer thingy’s, I’d be done by now.”

“Mom. Please.”

“Quit your whining. I’m nearly through.” (Comb. Pull. Snip, snip. Comb. Pull. Snip, snip.) “Tell me, though - are you a fanatic about having both sides even?”

“I’m hot in this garbage bag, mom. Please just finish.”

(Comb. Pull. Comb… Pull. Snip, snip.) “You know how all the celebrities say they have a best side? Well now you can tell everyone that your left side is your best side!” (Comb. Pull. Comb. Pull. Snip, snip, snip.)

“Are you done?”

“Hmmmm. Well … yes. I believe I am! Let me peel this garbage bag off of you, and you can go have a look in the mirror.”

“Well … I guess … wait. What happened here?”

“Once you wash your hair, then dry it, then keep your head tipped to the left – like this – no one will really notice that spot. Or that other one.”

“Great. That’s great, mom.”

“If you have another hour, I have some foaming hand soap and a butter knife – I could give you a shave!”


“Oh, give me a little credit. I knew as a mom I’d have to be proficient at many tasks: butcher, baker, candle stick maker – but I never knew I’d be styling hair!”

“No – you mentioned butcher.”


  1. there is a barber chair in the ROTC room at school. i'm sure they'd let you use it. they have clippers too.