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Published May 26, 2020


The haircut

By John Toth / The Bulletin

I stuck my head in the barber shop door. “Do I have to make a reservation? Is there a waiting list?”
I didn’t know what the protocol was since the hairdressing business has been allowed to open again. The last haircut I got was two days before the shutdown, and it was like every other haircut I got over the years.

Things have changed, but no reservation was needed. I was one of two customers in the place. What a stroke of luck. No waiting. I expected this to be a big hassle, like maybe making a reservation online, then getting the appointment confirmed and given a secret code - or something. That’s why I have been putting it off - and because of the virus shutdown.

I was a teenager in the ‘70s. Longer hair was not much of a problem for my generation. Kids like me didn’t bother to get haircuts too often - maybe two or three times a year. Even then, the stylist had to be really careful not to cut off too much.

But short hair is my style now. I like to roll the window down on my car and feel the wind as I drive. I can’t do that with hair flying all over the place and in my face.

Age makes a guy realize that the shorter the hair, the less he has to mess with it. Maybe combing it once a day, or even skipping a day. It looks good even when it’s messed up. It’s practical. Older folks, I’ve heard, like practical - or many of them, anyway.

Don’t misunderstand - I am not admitting to being old. This is about a haircut, not age. But, I am also not as young as I used to be, so we’ll just leave it at that.

I never thought that being able to get a haircut would be such a big event. This virus has made a lot of things we have taken for granted into major events.

I have a new appreciation for toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer.

I also have a new appreciation for hair stylists, whose livelihood the lockdown orders took away. It was not safe to sit in that chair and get a haircut because of the virus. Maybe that was too cautious. I’d rather be too cautious than be on a ventilator fighting for my life. Hair can be cut later.

“I’m sure glad that you’re back.” I told the stylist through my facemask. “Cut it shorter than usual. If they shut things down again, I need it to last.”

Snip here, snip there, it was like a movie on fast forward. I could tell she was very good at her job and missed it while the shop was closed. I admired her ability to cut the hair just in the right places so that it is layered.

I’ve always had my hair layered. That’s just the way it has been ever since I can remember, even when it was long.

She likely has every move memorized and can cut hair in her sleep. It didn’t take all that long to turn a growing mop on my head into a nice short, around-the-ears, layered cut.

It felt good to be back to as normal as possible for right now. We have a long way to go, but this is an important step. Let’s not mess it up by getting sick and becoming a statistic.

Take good care of yourselves and be careful. By following the rules, we’ll all make sure that, in a few weeks, I can get another haircut.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)