Spontaneous haircuts

Alante Salon, Austin Texas
Alante Salon, Austin Texas

A few years ago I was in Barcelona with my parents. (I spent the year teaching English there. They came to visit. Etc. Etc.) My mom spoke a little Spanish. My dad, almost none.

One afternoon my dad went out for a walk and came back with… a haircut. My mouth fell open. But… what did you say to the hairdresser?

He shrugged his shoulders and made scissor motions with his hand above his hand. I laughed. Well, there’s not a lot of hair there, so I guess there’s not much to lose.

Haircuts are funny things. Let’s be real here: there are so many things that could go wrong. So. Many. Things. You are letting a stranger–or worse, a friend–wield a sharp object close to your face.

There was a time when I cut a friend’s hair in our workplace bathroom. We used dull kitchen scissors with scotch tape stuck to the blades. And guys, I messed it up. I really did. But it was okay. She got if fixed by a professional a few days later. I also cut my mom’s hair once, in what we call the ‘dark room’ in our basement. It has an unfinished cement floor and a paint splattered sink and no windows–I assume that’s how the room got its name. That haircut went well enough.

I’ve had my own share of good and bad haircuts. I got eight inches cut off while living in Chiapas, Mexico–that went great. Then there was a time in high school when I told the hairdresser I wanted long bangs–no good.

I’ve tried to establish a correlation here, but I really can’t. The quality of your haircut does not depend on whether your haircutter speaks the same language as you, or is your daughter, or is your friend.

I was in Austin for a few days last month. I was walking from downtown to the UT campus when I passed by a hair salon. Without having made any plans to do so, I walked in and got my hair cut. It made me realize that I have this quality called a-lack-of-concern-for-who-cuts-my-hair. I think I get it from my dad.


  1. Your father is very smart! He was paying a professional to look at his face shape, feel of and comb through his hair and then put his talent to work! Wah Lah! When you get a “bad” hair, consider what you told the professional before they welded the scissors! (Wait…..was said person REALLY a “professional “??!!)

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