I gave my dad a haircut today
I am 36 years old and my dad is 62.
I have never cut his hair before.
He sits on a shower bench in a shady corner of their back deck. It’s so hot here. All the plants look faded.
We talk about which bushes to water in which order while I plug the electric shears into an outlet up high on the side of the house. I will water the plants in pots first, then leave the hose on uphill from the other bushes.
His hair is short so there isn’t too much to trim. It’s softer than I expected. With all the different shades of gray, I expected it to feel more wiry. I don’t know when I last touched my dad on the head.
I start in the back, moving the shears up and sideways. Then coming down angle to catch the hairs growing in different directions. I fold his left ear down and cut the hair on the sides where it is longest, then the right.
We discuss using the tapered attachments to finish off the sides and how far down the back of his neck I should shave. I will use the bare blade of the shears for this.
I have no anxiety. Just a straight buzz cut, I don’t have to worry about style. Only that I catch the little hairs that flatten under the weight of the shears and then pop back up.
It’s a intimate thing to cut someone’s hair. You have to brush hair out of the way, move their head in different directions. Blow loose hair away. There is so much touching involved.
There is a slight breeze that makes the shade bearable. Simple conversation. Me, my dad, the little tufts of white hair that float across the deck.