Friday, April 14, 2006

The Butcher of Seville

My last post got me thinking about my hair - and more specifically the history of my hair - back when I was a defenseless young boy and it was time for my haircut.

[Editor's note: Before I go any further, let me just say that I love my mom dearly and this post is not in anyway intended to be a slam on her personally. In fact, I will defend her by saying that she was NOT a trained stylist and was ONLY trying to help by saving us money so we could do other things such as... oh I don't know - eat? Beyond that, however, she had no business being in the hair business.]

As I just disclaimed, for most of my childhood, at least until I was old enough to get a job and afford to buy my own haircuts, my mom was also my barber. (Hmmm, now that I think about it, I wonder if this had anything to do with the fact that I started working at age 13?)

During these years, mom tried her best to keep us looking trimmed and neat. Armed with clippers, scissors and other implements, mom would lay out the blanket on the livingroom floor, grab the kitchen chair and plop us down for our quarterly clean-up.

Now, thanks to school portraits, I have documented proof of how well this worked out for me.

The Buzz Cut

A favorite of mom's because it was, well... easy. Just slip the old #2 guard onto the clipper and let'r rip!

This is how I spent most of my young childhood from about 3 through 8.

To be fair, this style was (and still is) classic in the sense that there has always been kids who wear crew cuts. And as well, this was by far the most consistently unbotched hair style I had as a child.

The Hack Job
But eventually something went horribly wrong. I probably decided it was time to grow my hair longer, and mom decided she could stay on as my stylist.

Enter the Trim Comb - by Popeil!

Ron Popeil had some pretty popular inventions. Among some of the most well-known were the Pocket Fisherman (still only $19.95!), the Veg-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone and the Electric Food Dehydrator. But nobody told my mom that the Trim Comb was not one of his successes. (btw, I tried in vain to find a picture of this
medieval tool - so if you can find one please send it my way!)

Basically the way it worked was you inserted a razor blade into a thin plastic case that had comb "teeth" at the top. Then you adjusted the height of the blade inside the comb to how much hair you wanted to rip out of your child's head.

These pictures are proof of several things.

1. The trim comb was a failure.
2. I wasn't strong enough to fend off my mother.
3. What the hell kind of shirt is that?

The Beatle

About the time our Trim Comb "mysteriously" got smashed into tiny little bits and pieces by some unknown victim of hair abuse, I decided it would be a good idea to grow some fake sideburns and shoot for the "one-length" Beatle mop. And - only 10 years after it was in fashion!

This required mom to only have to be able to cut a straight line across my bangs which, as you can see - umm, nevermind.

As I mentioned, sometime during Jr. High I started going to a professional stylist and both mom and I were off the hook. However, now that I'm all grown up, I can transfer the blame for my hair problems to my dad - as in "thanks dad for the crappy old-guy hair genes."

Over time I have learned two important things about hair styling:

1. Cutting hair is not as easy at it looks.
2. Always keep your childhood school portraits as evidence.


Mooselet said...

In defence of mothers everywhere, especially back in the 70's, let me say you look just like every other kid from that era. I had the bowl hairdo from kindy until I was in the 6th grade.

As a teenager I once tried to trim my mother's bangs... There's a reason I take the Toddler to the salon instead of giving her a DIY.

Anonymous said...

Jeff: Remember how we used to tie a bone around your neck, so that the dogs would like you! Just kidding, your mother cut my hair too and I was an adult. Dad

Anonymous said...

Oh my God..LOL!!This is the best! At least she didnt give you perms!!I looked liked a brillo head. "Oh, it will relax, just give it some time." Ya, right! Now THAT was child abuse! I especially LOVED the quarter inch bangs. "We have to get that hair out of your eyes." If only they'd gotton close!To her credit (love you mom!) I never had the guts to try and cut my boys hair--it's not easy to have winey, squirming kids sit still while you tourture them!

Anonymous said...


Great story

Sounds like the Veg-o-Matic would have done a better job than the Trim Comb.

Anonymous said...

I think you got your pictures mixed up. Isn’t the Beatle style a picture of Michel? At least that how I remember him looking like growing up. My Dad used to give me the clipper crew cut all the time too. I was packing up his appartment last month and I ran accross the clippers, they hit the dumpster.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Funkster - Funny thing is, while looking through my pictures to decide which ones to put in this post, I found several of you sportin the ol buzz cut too.

I'm saving them up for later (bwaaaahahahahaaa)!

Anonymous said...

It"s over. We sent the trim comb for the army to use at Guantanama Bay!

Liberal Banana said...

Nice. I know I'm several months late but you gotta love a good haircutting post. Thanks for visiting my site - hope you'll stop by again soon! :)