Monday 7 February 2011

(or it could save my life...).

At some point around 1996 or 1997, I went to a barber and asked for a number 4 all over. It seemed like a big decision at the time, but you have to understand that in those days I still had a full head of hair. In my mind, going for an all-over clipper job was a renunciation of the tyranny of hair; a decision made voluntarily at a time when I still had little idea what my hairline had in store for me. It was a kind of emancipation. Take two bottles into the shower? No, I renounce hair and choose to take none.

As the years have slipped away, so too has my hairline, and my decisions at the barber have become simpler as much out of necessity as choice. Grade 4 quickly became grade 4 on the top with grade 3 around the sides and back. Before long that moved on to a grade 3 with grade 2. Then it was a grade 2 and grade 1. Then grade 1 all over. Then grade 0.5... Each progression accompanied by a certain amount of anxiety about the next step. I was worried about having my hair cut too short.... but at the same time, clearly, I was running out of styling options.

Finally, on Saturday, I went to the barber and got a grade zero all over. My hair was cut so short by the time they'd finished that it was probably about the same length as the couple of days of stubble growth on my chin and probably doubled in length before I came into the office this morning. My head was now (partially-)covered in velcro, not hair.  It felt like the end of the line: short of using a razor and shaving my head completely, this is about as far as my tonsorial journey can take me. I haven't owned (or needed) a hairbrush in fifteen years.  Hair, for me, is officially over.

Or so I thought.  That may be the end of the line for the hair on my head, but it appears, however, that this is not the end of all my hair-related indignities. My future path was revealed with a simple question, asked by my barber as she put the finishing touches to my buzz cut.

"Would you like your eyebrows trimmed?"

Gah.  And, sadly, yes please.


  1. At least she didn't ask about your nose hairs. *G*

  2. Isn't a female barber called a barbaress?

  3. Threelight - I expect so. I did rather think "barber" was a bit too masculine a word, but calling her a hairdresser as she scalped me seemed a touch extravagant!

  4. Don't worry, that eyebrow thing happens to ladies, too. They just refuse to talk about it. So we are all in this getting old thing together (don't ask me directly about eyebrow trimming. I will deny).