As you can see, I am now sporting a near skinhead ‘do. This is not my preferred hairstyle, I can assure you, though I do like my lid sufficiently trimmed. Just not this trimmed. As a doughy, white guy with the surname Schmidt, embracing a neo-Nazi visage comes with significant, unwanted baggage. I’m a hasty face tattoo away from having elderly ladies scream when I turn my cart into their isle at the grocery store.
Nor do I have the tell-tale outline of male pattern baldness to provide a forgiving excuse for my aggressive hairstyle. The shaved head with the betraying shadow arch is the modern day toupee for white men. Why, then, you might ask, have I performed such an injustice to my once glorious mane? First of all, it was an accident, the four most feared words my wife ever hears uttered from my mouth. And once again, it all comes down to money.
About two years ago, in an effort to save a few dollars, I purchased my own hair clippers kit. I did this so that I could give myself haircuts rather than paying $20 a month to have the newest beauty school graduate at the local First Choice do essentially the same thing. I’ve never been much for adventure with my hair styling choices. One misadventure into the natural afro look back in 1993 was enough personal expression for one lifetime, thank you very much. Now, as a married father of two in my forties with thinning hair, my give a shit factor had dipped into negative territory.
I’m also cheap. My mother was a hairdresser and had her own little salon in the basement of our house when I was a kid. I never had to pay for boring haircuts until I moved away in my mid-twenties. Paying money for something so mundane, and typically poorly done, has seemed wrong ever since.
So I decided to become a regular self-groomer, settling on a number 2 guard universal head shave every six weeks, give or take. That time frame allows for a fair amount of variability in hair length and thus style. A hint of my adventurous side perhaps, but mostly I’m just lazy. I don’t religiously maintain a closely coiffed head of hair but rather let it grow out until I am no longer able to step out of the shower and go about my day without having to comb it first. I’m all about simple and free these days and if I need to part it then it needs to get chopped.
There are also marital factors to consider. I may not be actively wooing new conquests but it remains in my best interest to keep the already wooed happy. The number 2 guard leaves a hair length that my wife will tolerate. She’s not a fan of the buzz cut look and certainly not the bootcamp look I currently have. The number 2 guard gives me the freedom I desire while also returning relatively quickly to a length my wife likes. Win-win.
So where did things go wrong, you might ask? Well, yesterday it was time to tame the mop, so I dug out my equipment and gave myself my signature all over number 2 guard. I finished clipping and cleaned up the pile of trimmings with the vacuum before turning my attention to fine tuning around the ears and neckline. I picked up my trimmer and peered into the bathroom mirror only to discover a single hair at the very peak of my forehead had been left completely wild and uncut. This would not do! Without stopping to think, I dropped the trimmer, grabbed the clippers and took one swift pass up the front of my head, obliterating that stray hair. Except … I forgot that I’d already taken the number 2 guard off the clippers when I cleaned up.
I had just cut a small path into the front of my hair with guardless clippers! I bellowed in disdain it dawned on me what I’d done. Even the newbie at the hair salon wouldn’t screw up like this! A few moments of panicked brainstorming left me with only one option to repair, or, more accurately, hide, the damage I’d done. I needed to clip my entire head taking every inch of cranial real estate down to the slightest stubble. And that, my friends, is why I’m looking more like a Jerry Springer guest than a kindly neighbour for the next little while.
At least I saved $20.