Monday, February 16, 2009

What, you didn't know I blog for the federal governement?

Since today is President's Day I thought I would take the day off myself and re-publish a post I wrote 3 years ago that most of you haven't seen before. This is one of my favorites. Enjoy.

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.


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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Click here for the followup story to see the medieval Trim Comb I mentioned above.

27 comments:

Mom Thumb said...

I remember that post and those cute pics. But my fave is still the mullet. But only because you're wearing leather pants in that one.

Theresa B said...

Lovely blackmail evidence, but -- if I remember correctly, that's what everyone looked like back then. I think it's probably good that your mom wasn't shelling out money for somebody else to do the same thing.
Two other thoughts:
1) My mom cut my oldest brother's hair exactly once. Then she took him to a barber to repair the damage. After that, my dad took over and the buzz cuts ensued.
2) One of my friends bought a Flowbee because he was too cheap to pay for a haircut. Not a great look, let me tell you.

Memarie Lane said...

my husband's aunt just bought a flowbee. i didn't even know those things were still around. I hate crew cuts, I call it the "recovering from lice" look.

April said...

once in jr high, the cholas decided to style my hair. I think it took 3 washes to get all that hair spray out of my teased coif. But I'm not brave enough to post it.

Bill said...

Funny thing. Your mom asked if I thought she should give free haircuts to street people at the shelter. I said great, that should make some want to look harder for work.

JD at I Do Things said...

I wish I had photographic evidence of the tape my mom used to adhere curls against my face.

Love "The Beatle."

The Doozie said...

I have a classic look in ALL my pics. It's called scotch tape and you stick it on the bangs, and thus cut a straight line. I use it still today, only not in that capacity.

mom said...

I am laughing out loud!!! I don't know what to say----and I know I'm expected to say SOMETHING!!! How about "Love you--Mom"

LOBO said...

See you at next year's award ceremony!! :)

Jeff said...

mom thumb - Fortunately for me kids in those days didn't have mullets. I can't even imagine what the Trim Comb would have done to that.

Theresa B - Thank you for reminding me about the Flowbee. I see a new post in my future!

memarie lane - Ack! Don't even mention the "L" word! There is nothing more evil.

april - Law of the Blogsphere states that once you mention it - you post it. You have no choice.

bill - Somehow I think their hairstyles are the least of their problems. But nice try on giving Lois the business ;-)

jd - Wait. What? She taped your hair to your face? I don't get it.

doozie - Again with the tape. Thank God my mom didn't know about the tape.

mom - That works. Thank you for being the subject of one of my favorite posts.

lobo - Please be more specific. I'm invited to so many it's impossible for me to keep track.

Beetle said...

I'm sure I've seen worse :O) The Beatle cut was cute!

Heather said...

I just remember being terrified my mom was going to poke my eye out with the scissors. Luckily, she never did.

Elizabeth said...

I think they look cute!
The best haircuts are the ones my pre-schoolers gave themselves, now that's a picture you want to keep!

Father Muskrat said...

Despite the unique names, I don't see a lot of variation in these hairstyles. Where's the suckcut anyway?

Jacki said...

I am SO glad that my mother never attempted to cut my hair!!

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Your mom did much better than mine. She mangled ears!

Michelle said...

Actually, I think the Young Jeffrey buzz cut is really cute. And ummm, you should see some of my pictures. Boy hair isn't nearly as bad as girl hair. I promise.

JunkDrawer Kathy said...

Hey, at least you didn't have unwieldy curly hair, which meant my mother cut out the matted rats nest clumps where she couldn't get a comb through. I was a little uneven for the better part of grade school. Thanks, Mom, for taking the easy way out.

Love the Beatle!

ann of the curly hair said...

Imagine having curly hair in grade school. No one knew how to cut it, and there were no styling products or proper drying equipment available for us curly-heads.

I nearly had to seek therapy to undue the damage of having unwieldy hair for the past 3 decades. I've only just begun embracing the curly look with professional help and medication, of course.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I think we all had that same hair cut at one time or another in out youth ... especially in the 70's / 80's. Enter teenage years and women. Suddenly the hairstyles changed!!

bon bon said...

be thankful your mom couldn't get the veg-o-matic to work for this purpose. that's why the kids called me julienne!

Anonymous said...

There is an old saying among the Spanish, "He who has not seen Serville, has not seen anything beautiful". I do not think that includes haircuts.

VE said...

This is a good ploy...reschedule all your first year posts again and go have a nice break. Nobody saw the first few months of any of us so it'll all seem fresh and new to everyone but you. Good idea!!!

jerrychicken said...

Yep, I remember the post first time around and I remember the razor comb too, for we had one in our household, the blood flowed freely on a sunday evening when our dad had managed to catch either me or my brother - I believe that they are now prohibited under the Human Rights Conventions ?

Windyridge said...

Um Jeff, the genes for balding come from your mother's side of the family so blame her male relatives. Your pop is off the hook.
So when did your hair get curly???

Jeff said...

beetle - Yeah, I was pretty much the Paul McCartney of 10 year olds.

heather - And I thought running with scissors was dangerous!

elizabeth - Aren't those usually a result of bubblegum gone wild?

father muskrat - The first 2 are plain old buzz cuts, the next two are hatchet jobs (note the missing chunks of bangs) and the 3rd one is a bonafide Beatle cut. Seems pretty clear "cut" to me. ;b

jacki - Some mothers know their limits.

ed - Ouch. Do you have the scars to prove it?

michelle - I bet my mom would have had fun with your hair. So much more to work with!

kathy - Sounds terrifying. Your sister seems to share your pain.

anne - I think you and Kathy DO need to get that therapy. This sounds much deeper than you think.

speedcat - Oh yeah... I was a chick magnet once I changed my hair. Not.

bon bon - Could you make hundreds of fries in seconds?

anon - Wasn't that about Herod's building? I wouldn't know though because I've never seen it.

ve - The key is to not say it was a reprint.

jerrychicken - I've read about it in the history books. I had no idea you were a victim.

windyridge - Oh, that's reassuring... since my mom's dad died in his 60s bald and from a heart attack.

Maureen said...

Aw, lookee young Jeff! What a cutie. If you cut those photos out, stack them up and flip them, we can see you grow up!!!