Haircut

The first time I ever tried to cut someone’s hair was back when I was seven years old. Our parents were not home, the housekeeper was busy cooking, and I saw my sister sitting idly with her doll. At a year younger than I, she had shorter and more straight hair with chubby cheeks and friendly smile. She suspected nothing when I approached her with a proposal.

“Want me to cut your hair?”

She only nodded, didn’t quite follow what I actually wanted to do.

I took her hand to the small garden next to the terrace. I’d grabbed a small comb and a small scissor from my pencil case. The mission was clear to me; I wanted to do something challenging because I was bored.

My cute sister sat calmly on the swing that our father built while I observed her head. It shouldn’t be too hard, should it? I had seen my mom get her hair cut a dozen times before. I, on the other hand, never had one. At second grade of elementary school, my hair was very long.

I grabbed a few strands of her hair and started cutting. At that time my sister was wearing a bang; I’d better start cutting from there on. Or so I thought.

My hands worked and worked. As I moved the scissor and the comb, I heard her giggling over hair falling to her lap. When she finally looked up, I gasped in horror.

The bang was asymmetrical. And I thought I had scratched one of her eyebrows with the scissor.

I turned around when I heard another cry of horror. This time it came from my mother who dropped her bag at the gate of our house and quickly ran to where we were.

She turned my sister’s head from side to side, examining every damage I could have caused. Then she glared at me and screamed, “What have you done to her hair?!”

My mom didn’t wait for my answer. She grabbed my sister’s hand and dragged her to the neareat salon, a neighbor’s house about 200 meters from ours.

The rest was a history. I was scorned for days for having the guts to cut my sister’s hair.

“You could have cut more than hair,” my parents told me. But I didn’t.

“You were just seven, what were you thinking?” Okay, maybe I was too young for the task. But I and my sister were never traumatized by the experience. We always giggle whenever we remember the ancient memory.

Thirty-one years later the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Salons and barbershops closed and every member of my family has head full of unwanted hair. My confidence led me to buying hair clipper online. My husband’s lack of confidence in me made it hard to put into practice what I had learned so far from Youtube videos.

Nevertheless, my eldest has been complaining about her long hair for weeks. Yesterday she asked me to just cut it and be done with it.

“Do you trust me?” I hesitantly asked her.

“Of course, you’re my mom.”

And I was sold.

I took a small comb and a small scissor from my son’s pencil case, very much like decades ago. We sat in the laundry room. She was wearing my cooking apron around her neck. In front of her was a large basin to hold falling hair.

She preferred dry haircutting and I obliged. I combed it several times, dividing the strands into several parts, trying to remember what I had learned from watching other people cutting their or someone else’s hair.

Nothing. Nada. I didn’t remember anything.

So I mustered up my courage and began working. I started with the sides, then the back part, and at last the top part. I pulled the strands little by little, making visible levels around her head, slowly cutting only the tips. After one hour, I barely finished.

“I’m going to have a Skype call in 10 minutes,” she reminded me.

So I gathered my humble tools and stopped my experiment. “I’ll cut more tomorrow if you’re still up to it,” I suggested.

She only nodded and hurried to the shower. Soon I was helping my youngest with her shower and saw that the comb and the scissor were still there. Her hair had been quite long, never been cut since she was born. So …, why not?

Her hair was still wet when I grabbed the scissor and cut the tips. She swayed and escaped my hold but I was faster. My hand moved briskly and voila 5 centimeters of hair on her forehead and below her shoulder were all gone.

I wanted to pat myself on the back for completing the daunting task, especially after not being trusted to do it by the love of my life. But after a day I started to see the imperfections in my daughters’ heads. I then vowed to watch more videos about haircutting before opening again homesalon a couple of weeks from now.

Meanwhile, here’s the result:

IMG_9221

My eldest prohibited me from uploading the “before” pictures, so please believe me when I say that the haircut turned out to be fine. Not perfect, but decent enough.

PS: My over-the-top confidence made me offer a haircut to my mom today. It’s a proposal she quickly rejected, recalling the horrifying error in my past. Hahaha.

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