Diary

The shortest noun of my adult life

07 April 2009 | Diary

I am never sure which is the worst part of a haircut: the verb or the noun.

The verb, the actual process of the haircut, is always terrible. “What would you like done?” is always, not unfairly, their first question. Immediately, your hair naivety clashes with the knowledge of the hair expert. I once heard my dad laugh this off and say, “Reduce the volume”. Try that in certain quarters and end up bald.

The noun, the stylised thing that adorns your head, will attract remarks and opinions for at least the next fortnight. Cries of “Happy New Haircut” will be hurled at you from the mouths friends, from passing cars and from the insides of wheelie bins.

You could eliminate the agony of “Happy New Haircut” by having a covert trim every week so that nobody notices. But that would increase your exposure to “What would you like done?” more than is strictly healthy. It truly is a matter of noun versus verb.

Since my verb last Friday, I have had the shortest noun of my adult life. It’s a tufty little Mohawk like what someone’s receptionist or a trendy stockbroker might have. At first I thought that it made me look a bit gay but, after a few hours of mirror torment, I realised it’s my clothes, face, voice and latent homosexuality that make me look a bit gay and not the haircut at all. It’s a perfectly good haircut.

I choose my hairdressers very carefully. Since last July, I have used a Turkish barber. His English isn’t very good, which is precisely why I use him. The worst thing about getting a haircut is that you have to make smalltalk for the duration. I don’t know anything about sport or current television or celebrities and have difficulty faking it while someone is cutting small parts off my body. I have nothing to say so I choose a barber who also has nothing to say. It’s ace.

On Friday, looking forward to forty minutes of silently staring at my own face and occasionally saying “shorter”, I was surprised to see that Mr. Barber has employed a young blonde lady assistant. Lucky Mr. Barber. My heart sank as she patted my shoulders and asked in perfect Glaswegian what I would like done.

“Reduce the volume?” I suggested pathetically.

I think this quote should be added to the pull chord doll they will eventually make of my dad. It’s not as oft said as “use your bloody indicators” and “it’s not racist, it’s an observation” but it is similarly ineffective.

The new non-Turkish ladybarber suggested I get rid of my Adolph Hitler side parting and that she “cut it forward” instead so I would like a bit like that David Tennant.

Two years ago, I had long and unkempt hair like some kind of hoodlum. When I first had it all cut off, a colleague said on the cusp of sadness, “You just don’t look like Rob any more”.

Well, now I really don’t. But my girlfriend prefers short hair to long. When you start doing that thing she does, we can talk haircuts.

The gradual reduction of hair from that to this, however, has generated many comments along the lines of “you’ll be bald next time, hahaha, hur-hur-hur”.

But I won’t. Because I’m never getting a haircut again. I can’t face it any more. Either that or I’ll become one of those people who cuts their own hair and ends up looking like Keith Flint. Not that there’s anything wrong with looking like Keith Flint.