I need a haircut! My hair was last trimmed on March 9. Though thinning on top of my head, the hair on the sides is in need of a trim.
My wife says she needs a haircut, too. Her hair is very thick and grows quickly. Lucky her.
We have discussed the option of purchasing a home barber package and giving each other haircuts. It was a brief discussion. Love does not dictate meeting one another’s tonsorial needs.
It is sad that at this stage of life I must struggle with hair issues. When I was a youngster my father made all of my haircut decisions and those decisions were simple — a butch haircut for summer and a comb-over for winter.
It has been said that God made only so many perfect heads, and the others He covered with hair. I got one of those heads with hair. Butch haircuts showed all the bumps and other flaws of my cranial crown.
Becoming more self-aware around the age of 10, I asked Dad to allow me to skip the butch in the summer. In an apparent effort to keep my self-esteem under control, Dad said, “No.”
This was in the 1950s when flat tops were in vogue so I negotiated with my father. If I got a flat top instead of a butch, could I wear that year-round?
A flat top cut still showed my cranial flaws, but at least there was some hair up front to distract eyes from the lumps.
Dad consented and for the next five or six years I wore a flat top. Realistically, my hair style was nothing more than a butch with some hairs to stand up in front with the aid of butch-wax.
Our barber back in those days, I was told, was an Army barber during World War II. He was a nice guy, but his hair styling techniques had not changed much from war time.
Around the age of 16, I decided to let my hair grow out into a comb over. My hair was thick and it wasn’t long before I could actually create a part and comb over my hair. I was never nominated for a cover of “Teen Heart Throb” magazine, but I felt a little more self-confident with my new look.
When shoulder-length hair became fashionable for boys and men, I stuck with my white sidewalls and comb over. However, by the early ’70s I asked my barber to go easy on the sides.
Having moved a few times over the years, the task of finding a new barber was always a challenge. During my 14 years in Sioux City it was at least six years before I found a barber with whom I was comfortable and who cut my hair the way I wanted it cut.
During those years, more and more men went to female stylists for their haircuts. I preferred a male barber.
This led to some consternation when we moved to Creston, Iowa, and I couldn’t find a male barber who cut my hair to my satisfaction. When I asked my business manager to recommend a barber she suggested her stylist — a woman stylist.
I was desperate for a good haircut so I relented and made an appointment with Irma. When she was done with my oddly shaped head, I looked in the mirror and could see I had the best haircut I had in a long time.
For the next 11 years Irma cut my hair, and in all those years her haircuts were perfect every time.
And then I moved again — this time to Ankeny.
But this time finding a barber was much easier. My cousin, Denny, has been cutting hair in Ankeny for more than 30 years and when I needed a haircut I called him and made an appointment.
For the past 20 years Denny has been keeping my diminishing hairs trimmed nicely.
A haircut appointment at Denny’s barber shop is always a good time. Denny is only a few months younger than I am and for the first four years of our lives, before my family moved away, our families were together frequently. We are twice related and always have a good time catching up on family matters.
On my last visit to Denny’s shop I saw some bad news (for me) on a sign taped to the large mirror. The sign announced Denny’s plan to retire in September.
I’m hoping the quarantine is lifted (safely) in time to allow a haircut or two at Denny’s before he retires.
Then I’m on my own again.
I really need a haircut.
Arvid Huisman began writing Country Roads 32 years ago, and today the column appears in several Iowa newspapers. He can be contacted at email@example.com.