The Moral Dilemmas of a First-World Moron
How angry is too angry?
Yesterday I went to get the back of my hair, which grows at a rate vastly disproportionate to the rest of my follicular endowments, trimmed and tidied. Just the back. Now if you were offered those scarce and specific instructions, without even the complication of my woefully tedious backstory, how would you interpret them? Actually, how could you interpret them? What wild conjectures, based on an unintended subtlety of meaning, could you possibly even gleam from such an (atypically) concise exchange? Perhaps you might think I was backwards in coming forwards, a coquettish barber-shop naïf whose tremulous disposition required the firm hand of an elder figure from the hairdressing community? Or perhaps I appeared, a lumbering man-child with hair slightly longer than the usual passer-by, and they saw my absence of specifics as a cry for help, a plea to be made more standard in my appearance? The alternative, if your response to my plainly-stated request is to start by taking a huge fucking chunk out the front of my hair, is that you’re an either an idiot or an unrepentant arsehole. So, that being the situation I found myself in as, I recoiled too late from the unwanted application of scissors, I somewhat-impolitely asked; “What the fuck are you doing!?!” I’m not proud of my vociferous reaction, nor particularly inclined to such outbursts, but the surprise of what had happened overtook me. The barber looked hurt and asked what I meant. My flare of rage had passed into a more controllable seethe so I was able to ask in a more measured tone (and far less pointlessly than I am about to paraphrase) why, despite my use of the perilously common adverbs “just” and “only”, he had responded by doing the exact opposite. His reply, to which I stood agape: “Well I’ll need to even out the back and the front.”
No sir, no you won’t. BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT ANYTHING APART FROM THE BACK OF MY HAIR BEING CUT. Now a moment of prologue to mitigate my reaction: At school I had shoulder-length hair, beautiful cascading ringlets of a style which was not at all fashionable and which drew, from the rugby-playing contingent of the school’s innumerable wankers, repeated threats of being somehow subdued and having the lot chopped or shaved off. All of which, the usual formative adolescent bullshit, has made me somewhat overprotective of my now much-shorter hair and, added to my general discomfort when being touched (wholesomely or otherwise) by strangers and the repeat of a tediously frequent disappointment, I was perhaps more on-edge than I ought to have been. The barber, still taken aback, asked me if I wanted him to carry on. One look at the garbled avant-garde mess that then graced the top of my head was enough to scare me off the mean streets of one of South Wales’ less salubrious towns so, hesitantly and not without severe reservations, I asked him if he could finish the cut without taking any more hair off. We recommenced in stony silence, my eyes fixed on every cut and slash of the scissors, as the extent of the damage being done slowly unfolded. Eventually he stopped, and held a mirror up to show me the back of my head, except… HE HADN’T FUCKING CUT THE FUCKING BACK AT FUCKING ALL. So I, with almost sociopathic calm, asked for the back to be cut, and raged quietly inside my own head as my entire reason for being there was finally addressed. When he was done, or close enough that I could leave without a rather shocking mullet, I declined his understandable attempts to scour the skin off the back of my neck with a brush, paid and left.
This is not a sensible thing to get quite so livid about, or to dwell on in such masochistic detail. But I have anyway.