“What time are you coming home? I’ve got a surprise for you.” My husband sent me a text message at the end of my workday. He was already on furlough, but my company was slow to respond to the epidemic and had not yet switched to work-from-home or furlough.
When I got home, I saw immediately what Tom meant. He had tried— unsuccessfully— to give himself a plausible haircut. I couldn’t blame him. Tom was shirtless and covered in brown hairs. I knew he was bored having to sit at home all day, since the chores don’t take that long to do. As we were still childless with no pets, he had plenty of time on his hands.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. The hair on my neck and ears was driving me crazy. I miss having to look sharp, too. I know I have nothing to get dressed up for, but after a couple of weeks of enjoying being lazy and leaving my hair messy I’ve realized that I feel better when I look decent.”
“And you want me to fix it. I get it. I’d be happy to try.” This was true. When Tom was too busy to go to the barbershop for a trim, sometimes I cleaned up his nape at home. I never ventured beyond that before, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Although he didn’t say it, I knew that he wanted to look good for me. I appreciated the thought. It was charming how Tom seemed completely oblivious to just how handsome he actually is. At least, I find him stunning.
“I can’t see the back and even the sides are hard to do with just the bathroom mirror.” Some of the hair at his crown was sticking up funny, too. He looked like he had gone about cutting his hair haphazardly, gotten drunk again, or grabbed a random toddler to do it. I could see that he was sober, though. We met through a certain fellowship and even had the same sponsor for a while. There was no alcohol of any kind served at our wedding, except for the holy wine used by the priest during the Mass. Although both of us had mostly gotten our brain function back after three years of sobriety, Tom was still a bit challenged sometimes.
“Where do you want to do it?” I knew not to ask, “Did you make a mess?” because the answer would undoubtedly be “yes.” There was no sense in getting angry or exasperated, because I knew when I decided to marry him that Tom is the way he is, and I was fine with that. I love him just the way he is.
“The balcony. Unless you need the mirror.”
“Wait a minute. You mean you did this without being able to see yourself in the mirror?” I knew that he had been working in the bathroom, since he had mentioned the mirror, and suspected that he wanted to move to the balcony because he wanted to get away from the scene of his messy failure. This was what we in the program called “doing a geographical,” only on a much smaller scale.
I went into the bathroom to survey the mess. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I had suspected. Good. Tom had not covered the floor, but he did have the foresight to move the bathmat and make sure the floor was dry.
“The bathroom doesn’t look too bad, really. I think the balcony is too dark. It wouldn’t do to cut your ear by mistake because it was too dark to see.” My husband is precious to me and I would never want to hurt him.
Tom couldn’t argue with this logic. On the other hand, I made it clear that I wasn’t judging him for making a mess or botching his self-administered haircut. If anything, I thought it would be fun to do something so intimate. I was definitely going to get very close to him, or at least his scalp. Now was my chance to have fun with Tom’s hair and try to cut it as I saw fit.
Tom returned to the bathroom stool, ready for me to get down to business. “What kind of look were you going for?” I knew the answer already, but I wanted to give him a chance to think it through.
“No idea. I didn’t think that far ahead, I just started cutting.” This explained the haphazard results. Neither of us were much for planning, now that our lives no longer revolved around planning our next drunk. We were on this crazy adventure called life together, managing somehow by the seats of our pants, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Were you trying to go a lot shorter, to show off your face better? There are some short hairs on top sticking straight up. Short spikes with cropped back and sides? Crewcut? Not a mullet, I hope.”
“That was an accident. I don’t really know what I want. Whatever you want to do.” Music to my ears.
“In that case, it’ll be quite short. I hope you don’t mind.”
The old medium-length cut didn’t really flatter his face that much, anyway. What a shame that Tom always wore the front of his hair long and floppy, hiding the whole top third of his gorgeous face, unless he absolutely had to slick it back. If he couldn’t be bothered to style his hair out of his face, he should really consider cutting it short enough that it wouldn’t matter.
I picked up the scissors and comb that Tom had left in the bathroom sink. Tom was going to have some sort of crewcut if I got my way. I inserted the comb at the nape of his neck and began cutting, working my way up the back, going shorter than the cropped patches that Tom had inflicted on himself. If he had wanted super short hair, he was going to get it. I would try to get the scissor blades as close to his scalp as I physically could.
I went over the back several times, then put down the comb to taper the bottom. Even if nobody saw his haircut except for me, I still wanted Tom to look decent. Now for the sides. I lifted the hair up with the comb and sliced off the length that obscured the top of his ears. Pulling his ears down and out would allow me to snip around them; I used the comb to make sure. There, much cleaner.
“You’re much faster and more methodical than I was.” Tom seemed to be impressed, even though he hadn’t actually seen the result yet.
“I can see what I’m doing much better than you could because it’s the back of your head. Next up is the top. Are you sure you’re willing to let me cut it how I want? I was planning on cutting it very short to match the hairs that are sticking up.”
“Be my guest. You’ll do a better job than I would have.” Tom was such a good sport about this.
“OK, then, here goes.” I put down the comb and started grabbing his hair between my fingers. One inch. Again I worked methodically, back to front, left to right, until I reached the fringe. I was never a fan of the floppy look. Moving in as close as I could to Tom’s handsome face, I carefully lifted up the hair, gripping it between my fingers, and sliced it off at one inch. Then I picked up the comb again to blend the transitions before point-cutting at random. I wanted to avoid the helmet look.
“Stand up, have a look.” Tom stood up so that he was high enough to see the bathroom mirror. At first he looked stunned, but a mischievous smile soon crept to his lips. Good, he likes it.
“That’s nice and short.” He rubbed the top of his head with one hand and smiled some more. “This will last me through quarantine.”
“I’m not so sure about that.” I had already draped my arms around him from behind. “This was fun. I hope there’s a next time.” I kissed his neck and nibbled his ear, now clearly exposed. My lower half was already tingling in anticipation. We were going to have fun tonight, just as soon as Tom cleaned up in the bathroom and I made dinner. I love to cook but hate to clean, while Tom is exactly the opposite. Together we make a great team.
After dinner as Tom washed the dishes I sat and admired my handiwork. I couldn’t wait to run my hands through his short hair and kiss him. Quarantine didn’t look so bad as long as I would have a hot, sweet husband with whom to spend my days at home.