I never thought I would be blogging about hair. It’s my own fault, I should have visited my barber before social distancing started. As usual, I left my (intended) visit to him as long as possible. It was a decision I have since regretted.
So… I bought an electric trimmer, on line. To be sure it wouldn’t fall apart I bought a good one, a pricey one. It came with instructions I can only describe as basic (see diagram), instructions that deal mainly with trimming beards and nose hair, problems that are of little concern to me.
To be fair, the instructions are written in thirteen different languages. Which means that thirteen different nationalities will be as baffled as I am.
I have some experience of cutting my own hair. By that, I don’t mean good experience, or professional experience. Back in my thirties (I don’t mean the nineteen-thirties, I am not that old) I travelled internationally for work. Being unable to speak any language other than English, and therefore unsure about having my hair cut in, for example, Togo, Ethiopia or Sudan, I bought a small trimmer, a non-electric one that consisted of a scarily sharp razor blade sandwiched between two pieces of white plastic. Somehow I mastered it. Perhaps, back then, people were less fussy about hair than they are now. Or was it just me?
Then things went wrong. With an overconfident and overenthusiastic swipe of the thing I shaved right down to my head. Not all of it, but a very noticeable patch above my right ear (don’t look at the photo to see it. No way would I have photographed myself after what I did that day – the photo is simply to show you how thick my hair was back then).
I panicked. I had an important meeting the next day. At the time I was on the UK Department of Energy’s Geothermal Energy Steering Committee, a meeting I didn’t want to miss. In desperation I painted the bald patch above my ear with my wife’s mascara. That wouldn’t have worked these days. Back then, with my dark hair, it seemed to do the trick.
The disguise was so effective that I forgot all about it – until, well into the meeting, I decided to scratch my head. It itched, just above my right ear. I didn’t notice the mascara on my fingers until I saw what appeared to be black ink, all over the Department’s briefing notes. I don’t recall anything else about the meeting. I was too concerned about hiding my right hand. And the briefing notes.
All seems well today. I Googled “hair trimming men” and then clicked on “videos”. There are plenty of hints and tips there. I suppose the greatest challenge was to actually switch on the trimmer and watch what looked like handfulls of hair fall to the ground around me. I do have a problem cutting the left and right sides of my head. I can’t do it with my glasses on, and I can’t see what I’m doing with them off.