Monday, March 14, 2005

Bad Hair Days

I've been cutting my kids' hair for seven years now, or for as long as we've been in Canada. At $7 - $10 per haircut, that’s a lot of savings for my family of boys. Had I known it'd be costly to get a haircut here in BC, I would've learned haircutting before migrating from the Philippines.

Being a very practical person, and a bit of a tightwad, I determined I would learn to cut my sons’ hair on the job. Initially, my older kids had some doubts and resistance so I gave them a fairly attractive offer for the first few cuts: I would pay them $5 if they let me cut their hair. The bribe would still cost me less than going to the barbershop. I’m not sure if I kept the offer, but I kept the haircutting.

The first time I cut Gino’s hair here, I had no haircutting scissors. I used the kitchen shears. With no experience and no proper tool, I struggled to get a decent cut, and ended up creating terraces. It was very eye-catching.

Through the years, my sons have had some really attractive heads. People would ask them in a funny tone, “Who cut your hair?” The stay-at-home cut.

I can well remember a haircut I gave Mickey that he described as the “jungle look”. “Mom, I have stripes and spots…” The wildlife cut.

My haircutting sessions with my kids often provide comic relief to our mundane lives. Every haircut is a surprise. Their photos in the last seven years bear proof of the many hairstyles they have had to live with and laugh about. This also gave them a lesson or two on optimism. Don't worry, hair grows back.

Over time, I became slightly better with the scissors and the clipper. I even learned to dye their hair--upon Gino and Mickey's insistence--sometimes, a lighter shade of brown, or blondish. Often in streaks and patches.

I have such fussy “clients”. My kids always ask me to cut their hair a certain way, never like their brothers’. “Mom, I don’t like mushroom cut.” “Mom, cut only the back and the sides. Keep the top.” “Mom, I want to be able to spike it.” Mom, this and Mom, that. I try to do as they ask, but in the end, it's come-what-may.

Yesterday, I cut Gabriel’s hair. “Mom, can you make it even this time?” That's the one question everyone asks.

Gino and Mickey have grown their hair and can now go to the salon for more sophisticated hairstyles, IF they have the money. Gabriel is eager to do the same some day. Markus couldn’t care less as long as I do it quickly. (“Mom, that's enough. My hair is never even anyway.”)

Years from now, my sons will look at their childhood pictures and say, “Mom did this haircut.” Good or bad.

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