This article by Ray Spitzenberger first appeared in IMAGES for November 19, 2020, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas.
A few days ago, one of my granddaughters came by the house and told me I looked cool, because I had a “mullet” haircut!
“What’s that?” I asked.
After she explained the trendy hair style to me, I explained to her that in desperation I had to cut my own hair, and the results were an accident! Even before the onslaught of COVID19, I was a quasi-shut-in who waited a long time between cuts to go to the barber (located only about five blocks from my house); but with the quarantine because of the virus, I had no choice but to cut my own hair.
She was very kind to call it a “mullet’ cut, because it was actually an unintentional cross between a “mullet,” an “undercut,” and a “Mohawk.” “Scalped” might be a more appropriate term. Truth be known, I kind of like my new self-inflicted haircut! I explained to my granddaughter that at first I used a long comb with embedded razor blades, but as my hair was shaping up, I got bolder, and took the clippers to create this unique look, — it all happened through impatience and ineptness.
Now, the more I look at myself in the mirror, the more I like the look, — perhaps it’s a tad more “Mohawk” than “mullet.” I like it probably because it reminds me of the good old days when my “Penny-saved, penny earned” daddy would put a bowl on my head and give me a trim. Already then, I hated going to the barbershop and much preferred my “daddy-cut.” As I got older, I had to beg him to save a quarter and cut my hair at home, and his frugal nature would always motivate him to oblige.
Just as popular among men in 2020 is the “grunge-style, long-haired look,” which, of course is a much easier look to achieve and maintain. However, I like the Mohawk much better than the long, grungy, “stranded-on-a-desert-island” look. Other trendy hairdo’s for men are the man’s bun, the pony tail, and the mullet with a pony tail. Not one of these would be an option for me, as I prefer less hair rather than more hair.
Back in the good old days, cutting hair was an art passed on down from father to son until the Texas State Board of Barber Examiners was created in 1929. Since then, barbers have had to go to barber school to get certified as a “chirotonsor.” I don’t know what it cost to go to barber school back in the good old days, but today, going through any good school for barbers would cost you $6,000 to $10,000, which doesn’t seem like a terrible cost when you consider how much money a barber can potentially make. Believe me, I am not against barbers, their job is hard work, I just don’t like getting haircuts.
That has been true throughout my adult life, — getting a haircut was always up there with getting a root canal job at the dentist. No doubt this is the reason, when, starting my career as a high school teacher, I would regularly receive a large comb from my students for Christmas and why one high school Senior willed his comb to me in their Senior Will. When I started teaching in college, college students, on the other hand, must have seen my unkempt hair as “normal,” because I never received the gift of a comb, large or small, from a college class in my twenty-two years of teaching in college. Perhaps by then I was beginning to get bald.
No doubt growing up a country boy in the idyllic little rural Texas town of Dime Box, I learned to feel no constraints, neither tonsorial nor voguish, to be dapper. So it didn’t matter whether your hair was long or short, your clothes, grody or natty, you were free to get on your horse, or, if you didn’t own a horse, as in my case, your bicycle, and ride full throttle across the meadow with your hair blowing, or bristling, in the wind!
Ray Spitzenberger is a retired WCJC teacher, a retired LCMS pastor, and author of two books, It Must Be the Noodles and Open Prairies.