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The Day I Decided To Trim My Sideburns by Bumpered (recovered)


The day I decided to trim my Sideburns

By Bumpered

I’ll never forget the day I decided to trim my sideburns. It started off just like any other Sunday morning. I slept long and while I enjoyed my first coffee I read the newspaper. After that I headed to the bathroom for a shower and a shave. That’s when everything went awry.

I jumped into the shower. One of the few pleasures I have with my busy schedule is my Sunday morning shower. I like it hot and I stay there at least 20 minutes. By the time I get out, my beard is soft enough to shave. This fateful morning I stood in front of the bathroom mirror with my comb in my hand waiting for the steam to disappear from the mirror. Finally I ran it through my hair, pulling it all back off my face getting ready to shave.

Usually I get my hair cut regularly at a salon near work. Recently I’ve been involved in a new project that has kept me busy six days a week. When I did have time, there were always more important things to be done. My hair had never been especially short. I hadn’t had it cut in about four months. I just combed it back off my face with some gel to keep it in place. My sideburns had always been longer than the rest of the crowd. They had always been my one rebellious feature. When I looked at myself in the mirror I realized they were way too long and way too bushy for me. With it being Sunday, I knew I couldn’t get to the salon and even if I did I didn’t have an appointment. They needed at least 10 days notice.

My options at that point were to wait another ten to twelve days or trim them myself. I thought it couldn’t be that hard to do. Even if I made an appointment there was no guaranty that I’d be able to keep it. So I decided to give it a go. I started to rummage through the bathroom cupboards looking for scissors to use. All I found were the curved nail scissors. I thought about the kitchen, but I knew there were only large ones and poultry shears. Was this the first sign that maybe I should wait? I finally thought about the sewing kit my mother had given me when I moved out. In it there were small, pointed scissors. Perfect!

Now I stood with the scissors and comb in my hand in front of the mirror trying to figure out where to begin. I’d always had them trimmed when I got my hair cut. My sideburns now reached about an inch below my ear. When they were freshly trimmed they reached to just above the base of my ears. I figured I have to lose about an inch and a half in all. Being right handed I started of the left side. I did exactly what the stylists did. I combed my hair down over my left ear. The ear was covered completely. Without a moments hesitation I sliced the scissors straight across at what I thought was an inch and a half. A clump of wet hair rolled down my face and clung to the stubble of my beard. The bottom third of my left ear was now open to the public. I started to whack away freehand the rest of the hair that grew below the new line I had just defined. I think I got things confused. Maybe the stylists didn’t start the way I had done. When I was finished it looked very strange. The bushiness was even more noticeable now. I had to thin out the sideburn – easier said than done!

I started thinning freehand a snip here, a snip there. One snip was shorter than the other, so I had to snip more off. Well, when I decided enough was enough the left side was definitely cropped short. I thought I done pretty good work for a beginner. I’d clipped the left side burn to the top of my ear. At one point I stopped cutting the hair covering my ear. Now two thirds of my ear was uncovered. There was a definite line where my sideburn stopped and my hair started. I would deal with that later when I’d finished with the right side. I went at the right side the same way I did with the left. I had trouble holding the scissors and keeping my coordination in the mirror. I whacked and snipped and cropped the right sideburn down.

When I thought the deed was done I looked at my work in the mirror. Not bad at all, they weren’t the same length though. The hair covering the ears looked different too. I decided it was time to shave and then I could straighten them up. I rubbed my beard with shaving cream getting it really soft and foamy. In honour of the occasion I used a fresh razor blade too. I started shaving as I always do under my nose and around my mouth working toward the sides.

When I got to the sideburn on the left side there was so much foam that I couldn’t see where to shave. Instead of wiping off the foam I cut straight in and missed my line by about half an inch. The left side had been shorter to start with. When I moved onto the right side I did the same thing. Off it came this time a half inch higher than the left one. I rinsed my face and looked at my work.

I was disappointed. The left side was longer than the right. The right sideburn was just a bit longer than mid ear. I started to shave away more of the left one and it turned out shorter than the right. This went on and on. I finally made the decision to shave them off completely. I had had my sideburns since I was 18. This was like losing a toe for me.

To make matters worse while shaving the right one off, I accidentally cut into the hairline on my right side. I eventually stopped, evening them out at about a half inch above my hairline. I was very proud that I’d been able to even them out. I felt strange without them though. I started to dry my hair. That’s when I noticed that I had cut much too high into my hairline and that the hair covering my ears was uneven. With gel it still looked pretty pathetic.

This is where bad goes to worse. I decide that I had to cut the sides too. I had never worn my hair shorter than mid-ear. I wet my hair again. I combed the hair straight down over the ears. Taking a deep breath and with a rather unsteady hand, I chopped off the hair that covered my left ear following the new hairline that had been created. I used the small scissors and cut straight back. It never occurred to me that I should cut it in an arc. Hell, I as a beginner. Well I really screwed up. I had cut right into the longer hair in the back. Now I had a hole. This was getting complicated. I tried my best to fix it, but it just didn’t work. The left and right sides were different lengths. There was a huge chunk missing behind my left ear that I tried to fix by sculpting a canyon out of its hole. All in all I looked a mess. I capitulated.

I decide to drive into town and see if there wasn’t a salon open somewhere. I needed professional help. I pulled on a baseball cap and went in search of a follicle repair specialist.

I drove around for about an hour. Nothing was open. Even the mall was closed. Just as I turned onto Pine Street I saw a barbershop that was open. I hadn’t considered going t a barber before. I hoped the barber would be able to help. I pulled the car up to the shop. It was an old-fashioned one with a spinning red and white pole. The lettering above the door was weathered and peeling. It read “Joe’s Barbershop”. In the window the there was a hand written sign announcing “Come in, we’re open!”

From my car I could see the barber sitting in his chair reading a book while waiting for a customer. I decided I had no other choice. I had to ask the barber for help. As I got out of the car, I saw the barber look up from his book. He watched me approach the door as if he were used to people being indecisive about getting a haircut at Joe’s. When I opened the door he greeted me warmly, but he remained seated waiting for me to state my business. I told him that I needed his help. Joe smiled and got up out of his chair. He was a big man, six-foot-five at least. He had hair grey hair cropped close to his scalp. I still had my baseball cap on when I got into the chair. Joe had me facing the mirror when I took it off. At this point he was fastening the neck tape and cape around me. I saw his expression and knew that I had really screwed up this time.

Joe took a comb through the shambles I had brought him. He listened patiently as I told my tale and nodded sympathetically when I asked if he could help. He spoke to my reflection in the mirror. He told me that I had he couldn’t really repair anything that I’d damaged, but he could cut it very short on the sides and the back so that the no one would be any wiser. I could just tell everyone I decided to go short for a change. I had no choice. I told him to do what ever he had to do. It was the price I had to pay.

There were several clippers hanging from hooks. Joe picked out one pair and a blade out of an open drawer. As the clippers sprang to life Joe swung the chair away from the mirror. I wasn’t able to see what was going to happen. I guess it was another price I had to pay. Joe pushed my head to the side and ran the clippers up over the new hairline I had created. He cut high into the hair that I hadn’t touched. I watched the remnants of my hair fill my lap. Joe slowly moved around my head. I could now feel a coolness brush across my scalp. Several times Joe changed the blades on the clippers. It seemed to take forever.

Joe finally put the clippers back on their hook. Then with scissors and a comb he reduced my long hair on top to a short crop of about an inch and a half. Using hot lather spread high around my ears and my neck, Joe swiftly shaved a two-inch wide band around my ears and the neck. A different set of clippers and comb were used to blend the shaved area with the area he’d already clipped. At the end he rubbed some wax in to the top and brushed everything into place. The moment came when Joe turned me back toward the mirror. I was shocked at what I saw. It wasn’t me. It was some other guy, much younger than me.

Joe addressed my reflection. He asked what I did for a living. I told him that I’m a software developer. He nodded. He asked whether I repaired my own car or did my own plumbing. I said that I didn’t because I don’t know how. He said that from now on I should leave haircuts and sideburn trimming to professionals only. I guess I should have known that from the start since I’m not the handiest person around the house.

Since then I’ve kept my hair short, not as short as Joe’s first cut, but short. My sideburns have grown back and I visit Joe regularly on Sundays to keep things trimmed. I’ve learned my lesson.



The End




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