At the barber shop ...

Judge me if you must, but ... I got my haircut this week.

It was not a decision I made lightly or out of desperation, even though I was starting to look like that kid in my high school yearbook, the one I've been running from almost since the day I graduated. That kid had WAY too much hair. 

I've always coveted good hair, the kind that falls gracefully around the shoulders. But the truth I've come to accept since my high school days is this - my hair is a mess. It does NOT fall gracefully. Quite the contrary, my hair grows UP, as if it were competing with trees for sunlight. And when it starts getting out of control, it requires generous amounts of product to keep it from looking like there's a giant puff sponge growing out of  my thick skull. In other words, if I don't keep it short, I have a natural bouffant. Jackie Kennedy did it better.

I'm just thankful that before I sat for my regrettable senior portrait, I apparently shaved off that fuzzy mustache I was so proud of. At least, the wisps of hair I was only able to grow back then do not appear to be evident, if they ever were.

The fact is, it wouldn't have hurt me to wait a while longer to head to the barber shop. After all, I live in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, a region of the state that's still considered a coronavirus hotspot. A third death was reported in my county this week and another in the county next door, but like so many states around the country, we're in the process of reopening for better or worse.

No matter what our political leaders say, prudence suggests that waiting would have been a better move. The best move, actually. Lord knows I've got plenty of ball caps to choose from. I could have continued stuffing my budding bouffant into one of them. In the end, though, concern for my barber shop friends won the day.

Two barbers hold court in the shop I frequent. For years, I've been in the habit of seeing them every two weeks. I get paid, I go get my haircut. It's like clockwork. Only the pandemic has made time stand still. Until this week, my barber friends were out of work for more than a month.

I wrestled with the idea of heading downtown, throwing a couple of quarters in the parking meter and waiting for my turn in the chair. In the end, I decided to risk it. I figured since I've been lucky enough so far not to have lost any work to the pandemic, I might as well show a little loyalty.

The question, however, remains - when does the benefit outweigh the risk?

I wish I knew the right answer.

To be honest, if my barbers weren't also my friends, it seems likely I would still need a haircut. As it is, I left them a generous tip to try to make up in some small way for the haircuts I had to put off.


  1. Looked you up, after hearing you 'live from...' this morning on NPR. Giles is not a name heard often anymore, at least not here in the North, My great-grandfather was a Giles, and lived in PA. Yesterday was my first hair cut since early March before the isolation became a thing; our state opened up at the end of May for salons, I was told yesterday. While my hair doesn't grow straight up, at least not all of it, cowlicks and waves are part of my signature look. These cowlicks apparently come from my grandfather, son of Giles. I have a picture of him sporting said cowlicks in the same danged spot as mine. I too find I have two choices - short and a little product, or long and a whole lot of product, and appliances (as a woman I have more choices), barrettes, combs, bobby-pins, etc. So all the recent purchases of appliances have gone back into the box that hadn't been opened for a decade or so. We'll see how long it is before it is opened again. Good to see the face behind the voice. I'll look to see you on the radio. :)

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