8.23 The Man with the Golden Shears

Here’s a piece of advice for you: get your haircut by a seasoned professional. Seems like something that a person nearing the age of 40 would know. But maybe, this is the age where you resound yourself to only getting your haircut by a person who seemed to be on their first day of work at the hair styling school?

Running some errands at a local shopping centre, I came across the hair styling school and thought, My hair is getting out of control. $10? What could possibly go wrong with that?


When I sat down in the chair, the young man about to cut my hair pulled out a leather case, and opened it to reveal a red crush velvet interior housing a pair of golden shears. He asked me how I wanted my hair cut and I replied, what I’ve told countless stylists over the years: number three on the sides and leave a little on top so I can do something spiky.

He nodded and proceeded to shave the sides of my head, right up to the part. The kind of hair style that is so popular with the kids. I ignored him, putting my faith in the fact that it wouldn’t be that bad. I mean, it couldn’t be worse than when that one guy shaved off one of my eyebrows or when that other person burned my scalp with bleach.

What could possibly go wrong?

I spent most of the hair cut looking down, not wanting to see what was happening. When he finished, I looked up and was speechless. He smiled at me, proud of this Frankensteinian thing that was now on my head. He asked if I was happy and I had no words.

He called his supervisor over to show off his great work. The supervisor, who was so over his job, sighed and looked at me. He asked, “Is this what you wanted?” Still speechless, he sighed again and turned to his ‘protege’: “When you ask your client what they want and they tell you, you have to listen to them.” To which I thought, Isn’t that what you learn on the first day?

Next, the supervisor said, “This kind of style is good for you young people, but old people aren’t that into it.” Wait, was he calling me old now? Was this guy being ageist? The supervisor pointed at the Golden shears and said, “You know those are just for cutting dry hair, right?” The student nodded, of course he knew that! And of course he used them to cut my hair when it was wet!

The supervisor investigated my hair, sighed and said, “Do you want me to layer this for you?” I still had no words and just nodded. He sighed again, pulled out his own scissors, clipped clipped my hair, and walked away.

While I was leaving, I gave the student a tip. A tip! I encouraged this guy to keep doing this. I am an enabler. The tip I should have given him was to stop doing this. Walk away from this hair styling school and never return. Instead, I left him with the idea that not only should he keep doing this, but that he was good enough to get tipped.

For the next two days and most of the third, it looked like I was wearing a toupee. The following week, I had an event and had to fix this and so returned to my usual hair stylist. She explored my hair in silence for a good five minutes. She sighed, but for very different reasons than the supervisor. She did an incredible job and fixed the mess from the previous week.

Stick to the professionals.

Paul Dore