The Haircut - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1704881

The Haircut

The only at-home haircut I’d ever had, until the other day, was administered more than six decades ago by my wife, with a modicum of help from me. I was a young reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s Chicago bureau, and doing it myself seemed one way that we might bring our spending more into line with my less-than-robust salary.

I had spotted a Sears Roebuck ad for a home-barbering kit and proceeded to purchase the kit. The at-home haircut followed, a snip here and a snip there, and finally the result:


Fortunately, there happened to be a barbershop a few blocks from our little apartment, to which, head covered, I fled early the next morning. Northwestern University was nearby, and to this day I well remember the barber’s first words as I bared my head:

“You must have been at a fraternity initiation last night.”

Through heroic effort, he was able to restore to my hair some semblance of normality, and off I went to work, which that day entailed interviews with assorted corporate bigwigs who, at least in that ancient time, expected to deal with reasonably presentable interviewers.

On to the present.

Reluctant, with the virus, to venture into any barbershops, presuming I could find one open, and urged on by a wife not given to my collar-length locks, I warily opted once again to attempt the snipping myself. But more professionally this time, armed with precise instructions recently laid down on the pages of my old newspaper by Lance Morrow. With my wife’s considerable help, the result — mirabile dictu — was remarkably OK. Indeed, we both preferred the result to what my local barber had regularly produced.

And the good news does not end there.

So impressed were we both with our team’s success that my wife, a frequent patron of a nearby hair salon, resolved with some trepidation to try trimming her own lengthening locks. My assistance included carefully positioning, as instructed, a handheld mirror. To my surprise, I was even allowed to do a bit of snipping in areas hard for her to see or reach.

Again, amazingly, the result exceeded our highest hopes — so much so that she has decided to continue indefinitely to do the job herself.

With such good news, our at-home barbering may well continue even into some future virus-free time. Among the benefits, our budget for that evening glass of wine will get an unexpected boost.

And should we eventually revert to our former ways, I suspect the chief reason will be that I will have missed the chats with my friendly barber, and my wife with her gossipy hairdresser.

Alfred Malabre

Charleston, South Carolina, and Quogue


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