“Oops.”

The word “oops” has many connotations. For instance, one might say it when they spill some water on the floor, or they could quietly mutter it when they’re cutting someone’s hair. Unfortunately, it was the latter that caused the “oops” I heard today.

Social distancing has made getting haircuts at a barbershop impossible, so I pestered my Mom to help me with an at-home haircut. She was reluctant to help, but since we had done it a few weeks back with positive results, I was able to convince her to act as my quarantine barber. Regrettably, the results were quite different this time around. I don’t know if it was the rain energizing me or the simple fact that my last haircut had turned out so well, but I was feeling bold. This led me to move past the medium clipper guard and go directly for the shortest one.

In the blink of an eye, I’d slapped the #1 guard on the clippers, handed them to my Mom, and asked her to work some barbershop magic on the back of my head. The only sound to be heard at first was the loud buzzing of the clippers which reminded me of positive haircut experiences in the past. But that rosy feeling was shattered about thirty seconds into my #covidcut when I heard a gasp come from my Mom.

As I’ve said before, you never want to hear anything other than confidence coming from someone cutting your hair, so I was immediately concerned. This was emphasized further when she handed me the clippers and said she couldn’t cut any more of my hair. I hoped she was being dramatic, but after seeing the back of my head, I knew that she wasn’t.

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You know how monks used to have this haircut? Well, imagine it being reversed so the hair is on the top and the drastic jump to baldness is on the lower part of the head. Congratulations, you are now accurately imagining my hair. I had clearly selected the wrong clipper length, which created a line of demarcation on my scalp.

I was horrified, to say the least, but like any high school acting teacher worth their meager salary, I said that the show must go on. My Mom was incredibly hesitant to resume cutting my hair, but I told her that the only way to make it look any better would be by doing our best to even it out.

This led us to use the next two clipper guard lengths to somewhat fade the back of my head. And as we worked together—Mom cutting and me occasionally taking over on clipper duty when her confidence wavered—I felt somewhat better. I kept telling myself that the only direction colleagues will be seeing my hair is from the front, so as long as it looks presentable on a Zoom call, I will be ok.

While the back of my head currently looks like someone copied and pasted hair onto the top half of it, I am not going to let it bother me. I have worked my hairstyling magic on disastrous trims from Walmart and “Great” Clips, so I am up for the challenge of making this work. And if that fails, at least I have three more weeks of quarantine to let it grow out.

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