WE don’t spend much on haircuts in our house, as you can probably tell. I’ve got used to fellow parents on the school gates sniggering as my poor children scurry past.
“Been to the hairdressers have they?” (Translation: Did you subject them to your appalling scissor skills again?”
I did try with hairdressers when the elder boys were smaller. I took a toddler Jed to the hairdressers when his shoulder-length blonde wavy locks made people tell me what a pretty daughter I had.
He liked looking at himself in the mirror and the up-and-down chair, but as soon as the snippety-snip lady came near he dodged about like she was a wasp.
When he turned 13 I took him to a reasonably posh salon where they charged £30 to cut about half-an-inch off. He went bright red and couldn’t speak during the ‘cut’ as the 19-year-old pretty stylist in a vest top kept leaning over him.
Bloke took the boys to the barber’s a few times, but they came back looking like they were from the 1950s.
The clincher was when Bloke started to give up on his once dense curly locks and simply shaved his head once a month. The professionals were charging him a tenner for the privilege, so we invested in a set of clippers. I think they were about £17 from Boots in 2001, so they’ve certainly paid for themselves.
Clippers are brilliant for the home-hairdresser with sons. You simply clip on the right length of guide comb, press a button and start combing towards the crown. It’s quite hard to mess it up. You can change the comb lengths depending on which bit you’re doing.
Mine don’t freak out when the whizzing sound starts, but they have started to moan about the quality of my cuts. Apparently I was OK when they just wanted short hair all over, but now they are getting fussy: they want floppy fringes.
You know you’re turning into your mother when the length of a child’s fringe makes you reach for the scissors. Even when it’s not your child and the scissors are kids’ plastic craft ones.
The problem is that floppy fringes are usually sported by boys-becoming-teens, and boys-becoming-teens have greasy hair and spots. Spots made worse by greasy floppy fringes. Argh!
There comes a time when the fringe even irritates them, so they grudgingly allow me to get the scissors out. But apparently I don’t do it right. It’s never straight. Or it’s too straight. Or, as one son came home from school and told me: “My mates say I look like a lesbian.”
Jed’s isn’t too hard to do, as it has a slight curl to it which hides mistakes. Dougie and Billy’s is so straight and thick that when it’s long they look like glam rock kids from the 1970s.
When the summer holidays started Jed gave in and let me cut off the floppy fringe and cut the back short. Dougie refused point-blank to let me anywhere near him, insisting he wanted it done at the hairdressers. So last week in the Weston Favell centre he was sent into Supercuts and a very nice lady gave him a scissor trim. At first he insisted she left his sideburns long, but he looked like a spaniel, so we sent him back and he came out looking more than reasonable.
Secretly I like the boys’ mass of wayward, thick floppy hair. I want them to enjoy it for as long as possible because I dread that it won’t last. You see, there’s always been a claim that baldness is inherited from the mother’s side, and my poor Pa lost his locks at 21.
I know I’m facing the biggest battle with Bonnie. Cutting her fringe is about all I’ve managed so far in three years. And that looks a little wobbly because she’ll sit still for the first snip and then wriggle for the rest. Oh, and don’t try cutting it when they’re asleep, trust me, it doesn’t work. . .