VIOLA - I joked with my hairstylist recently that our relationship is the longest one I’ve ever been in. We’ve been together 20 years. In second place is my relationship with Dane, somewhere in the vicinity of 12 years.
In all the time that has passed since I first met Dane, we’ve both changed and aged. Back in those early days, Dane wore his hair in a ponytail, but now he keeps it in a crew cut. He’s in the habit of going to get it cut monthly to keep it the length he prefers. Numerous times I’ve suggested he purchase an electric hair clipper, pointing out that he could easily do it himself, save the drive time to Richland Center, where he gets it cut, and save money.
On date night a few months ago, Dane was finally ready to buy a clipper. We drove to the store and were surprised at all the types and puzzled by the gizmos and attachments that came with them. After what seemed like hours, Dane decided on one that wasn’t the fanciest or most expensive, but came in a nifty case and had different-sized blade guards.
For a while, that was the end of the story. The clipper stayed in his gym bag, unused, and he continued driving to Richland Center for his monthly haircuts. I eventually gave up pestering him about trying it out.
Until a recent Friday date night, that is. We’d made dinner together, eaten outside on the bistro, washed the dishes, gotten settled indoors, and were reading, when suddenly I looked over my book at him.
“Do you have your clipper here?” I asked.
“It’s in my bag in the car. Why?”
“Go get it. I want you to shave my head.”
“What? Your head?”
“Yes, that way you’ll have more confidence to shave your own.”
“Just get it. We'll do it in the bathroom. It’ll be fun!”
So Dane comes in with the nifty case and starts taking out the clipper, the cord and various attachments. Meanwhile, I put a stool in front of the bathroom mirror and select a beach towel to use as a cape.
“Come on, Dane, this isn’t hard. Besides, it’s not your head.” I’ve never worried about my hair because I’ve always held the philosophy of ‘Eh, it’ll grow back.’
Together we decide on a blade guard that looks like it will leave my hair one inch long.
Before Dane begins I caution him, “Just don’t cut my bangs or my sideburns,” and he agrees.
He stands behind me and I watch him in the mirror. He hesitates to turn on the clipper and get busy. I prod him along like a Nike ad: “Just do it!”
Starting at the back of my neck, Dane holds and guides the clipper about a quarter-inch out from my noggin, with two noticeable results: (A) I don’t feel it and (B) no hairs get cut.
“Put it against my neck and run up,” I encourage him. And Dane does. My hair starts to fall on the beach towel, on the tile, and even on the bathroom counter.
Now we're getting someplace! Dane takes a few passes from my neckline to the top of my head and then sets the clipper down.
“I need to comb your hair.”
I’m still watching him in the mirror as he begins combing my hair–a lot–for a long time. Grinning at me he murmurs, “This is kinda sexy.”
Finally, I nudge him with “Okay, Romeo, let’s get back to business.”
Now Dane is building up speed. He has the razor close to my head and he’s making pass after pass, up and down my skull and―over my sideburn!
“Hey!” I yell. “Not my sideburns! Why’d you do that?”
“Oh, that was a mistake.”
“A big one!”
Later we’re looking at my head in the mirror, marveling at what a good job Dane has done, other than removing part of one sideburn.
“Eh, it’ll grow back,” I assure both of us.It’s been over six weeks now since Dane gave me my haircut. Strangely, he hasn’t had one since. Now that I’m sleeping with my hair stylist, I worry that my longest-term relationship may be over.