Hate getting a haircut. Always have. Not sure why. Perhaps it is the pain of listening to the inane conversation that spills from the lips of the one cutting your hair. Perhaps it is Biblical. The horror of watching my signs of virility fall to the floor, only to be swept away with the other garbage.

Whatever the reason, managed to make it nearly a year since the last clipping. Had the hair to prove it — long, flowing and out of control. Amy offered several times to trim it. She’d rather do so than leave me alone with someone else. Too many times I’ve emerged with no hair, sometimes with the beard cut back to a goatee. The last time, she screamed and said I looked like a serial killer.

But she had several stops to make in Christiansburg Saturday so I said, nonchalantly, “just drop me by the mall and I’ll get a haircut.” Asking for a divorce would have brought a less painful look. She started to say something but thought better of it. Been there, done that, had the fight.

The young lady with spiked blonde hair at Regis Hairstylists ran her black painted fingernails through my flowing locks and asked “how much do you want taken off?”

“All of it,” I said.

Her eyes widened. “All of it?”

“Close cropped on the sides, just long enough on top to lay flat. Above the collar, above the ears.”

She walked around the chair, contemplating the mountain of hair from several angles. Sir Edmund Hillary spent less time considering his attempt on Mount Everest.

“I think,” she said, “I’d better shampoo it first.” Ouch. I wash my hair every day. Did she expect to find Bigfoot lurking somewhere within?

One shampoo, several attacks by sissors and clippers, and a half dozen “do you want more off” questions later left the chair surrounded by a mountain of white hair.

“Wow,” she said, “that’s unusual.”


“Most men’s hair gets darker when you cut it short. Yours is whiter.”

“Well, at my age, I guess I should just be happy that I still have hair.”

“You do. Lots of it. Or rather, you did.”

I ventured out into the New River Valley Mall parking lot, feeling — for the first time in months — the chill of the air on the back of my neck and the mixture of competing noises via unmuffled ears.

Amy regarded the new ‘do with weary acceptance.

“It’s OK,” she shrugged. “It could have been worse.”