This morning I cut my husband’s hair.
Mind you, this was not my idea. I had not been telling him he needed a haircut. His job does not require him to show his face on Zoom calls. I can count the number of times he has ventured as far as the building lobby or the grocery on the corner on one hand each. No one is seeing his hair but me.
But, when I stumbled out of bed this morning – even before brushing my teeth – he asked me to cut his hair.
“Just this much,” he indicated, holding out me the tiny pair of scissors that he usually uses to trim his sideburns.
“Uh, do we have bigger scissors?” I asked, blinking sleepers out of my eyes.
“These are the sharpest,” he replied, still holding them out to me.
“Maybe we should buy some real scissors…”
“Just cut it.”
So I did.
This was the first time I ever remember cutting someone’s hair. My college roommate – who had long straight hair that she wore in a triangle perm – asked me to cut hers once. My own haircuts are sources of great anxiety to me; so I refused. I could not risk our friendship for a bad haircut. So she asked my then-boyfriend, now-husband to cut it. She handed him a long piece of masking tape, had him tape her hair to her shoulders, and then cut along the tape. I had to leave the room.
But she professed herself happy with the cut.
When I was finished, my husband thanked me and, glancing at my bed-head, offered to return the favor. I politely declined.
A few minutes later while I was showering, he returned.
“What did you do?” He demanded running his hand self-consciously across the back of his head.
“It looks fine,” I replied.
“It’s so short. I told you how short to cut it and you cut it even shorter.”
“I’m sorry,” I replied, honestly contrite, remembering awful haircuts in my past. “I did my best. I’m just inexpert. And I don’t think it’s that short – it’s just not layered.”
We finally agreed that, once I had left the shower, gotten dressed, and put on my glasses, he would tell me precisely where to cut and I would cut just that. Which we did. In my now glasses-ed eyes, his selections seemed random. But, when I had finished, he ran his hand over the back of his head and seemed happier.
Which is what matters, after all.
But I have learned my lesson.
No more haircutting for me.