I must admit, I felt a little guilty.  

If I hadn’t been so keen to get as much done on a Saturday as possible, it might not have happened.  Yawlin was loooong overdue for a haircut.  He likes to wear it long (shag style), but it had gotten so I couldn’t see his eyes.  I like to see my son’s eyes, so I told him it was time for a haircut.  He did not want to go.  But I insisted and said that it would be the only time to go for quite some time because of how hectic our family schedule is lately.

I should have chosen another place.

But, I wanted to get the haircut done fast.  And besides, what were the chances that Yawlin would get the same hairdresser that had botched my haircut a few weeks earlier?  And if he did happen to get her, how much can a person botch a boy haircut? 

I should have watched instead of burying my face in a magazine.

I did watch as Yawlin sat in her chair.  Yes, it was the same gal that botched my last haircut, but I was confident she couldn’t mess up a shag ‘do.  She asked him what he wanted and I watched and heard him say, “I want one inch off all over.”  He said it clearly.  He did not stutter.  He did not whisper.  There is no way in hades one could mistake his instructions for anything other than one. inch. off. all. over.

Having made sure he’d given his instructions clearly, I began reading a magazine.  I get so bored waiting, reading helps the time to pass.  I should have opted to be bored.

And I should have noticed the sound of the clippers.

But the place was so busy, who wouldn’t assume the clippers were for some other customer?  I glanced up from my magazine to see that the hair on the back of Yawlin’s head was significantly shorter, and the clippers were now attacking the hair on top of his head.  I gasped, but realized that it was too late.  Too much hair was gone to say anything.  I remained silent.  Because of the angle of the chair he was sitting in, I couldn’t see Yawlin’s face, but I was pretty sure he was not happy about what was happening to his hair.

Maybe I should have jumped up, grabbed the hair butcher by HER hair, and swung her around a few times before releasing her to slide ungracefully through the glass door.

Okay, maybe not.  But, looking back, I should have probably asked for a discount because this particular customer was clearly not getting what he wanted.  What did happen was that she told Yawlin to hop out of his chair to move to the sink so that she could wash his now almost naked head.  As Yawlin passed me he hissed (yes hissed, it is not an exaggeration), “Mom!”  And then he shot me such a look of anger and panic and disgust that I”m lucky I didn’t shrivel up and die on the spot.

The white-haired gentleman who was sitting across from me burst out laughing and said, “I guess he doesn’t like his new haircut.”

“Apparently not,” I said with a nervous chuckle.  “I think I’m going to be in trouble.”

The white-haired gentleman laughed again.  I looked back to where Yawlin was getting his hair washed.  My new friend said, “Well, at least he has all summer to let it grow out again before school starts.”

“Yaaa.”  I said slowly.  “Let’s hope he views it that way.”  This only made the man laugh again.  He winked at me and gave me a thumbs up as he left with his grandson who had received the haircut he had wanted.

I did my best to turn the situation into something positive.

As I was paying for the buzz-job, Yawlin went out and stood by the car.  It was clear he was crying.  The hair-butcher watched him go and said, “I don’t think he likes his haircut.  I asked him what he wanted and he said ‘one inch all over.”

I finished signing the credit card receipt and said, “Yes.  I believe he told you that he wanted one inch off all over–not that the length was supposed to be one inch all over.”


I opened the car and both Yawlin and I got in.  He was crying.  Hard.  I apologized over and over.  And then I remembered the look he’d shot me as he’d passed me on the way to getting his hair washed and how it had made the white-haired gentleman laugh.  I laughed at the memory.

“This is not funny, Mom!”

“I know.  But the look you gave me in there was so funny that you made another man laugh.”

Yawlin looked at me out of the corner of his eyes.

“Seriously Yawlin.  The look was hysterical.  I think you made that guy’s day! He laughed pretty hard.”

I could see the hint of a smile on Yawlin’s lips, so I continued.  “At least there is that.  Even if you have to deal with short hair for a little while, at least you made someone else laugh.”

Yawlin squelched the smile, but he also stopped crying.

Two days later… 

Yawlin’s sisters showed him different ways he could style his new ‘do using hair gel and he seems to have warmed up to his new hair style.  This afternoon while sitting at my afternoon crossing I asked Yawlin if he was going to immediately start growing his hair back out.  He looked in the rearview mirror of my car and said, “I don’t know.”

“Sooo, maybe you like the new ‘do?”


As far as that particular hair cutting establishment?

We won’t be back.