Yesterday I asked my Facebook friends about their most memorable haircuts, either given or received, and I heard back a lot of beautiful, inspiring stories. Big hearts and so much passion. Because I tend to be long winded I thought I would jot down my own response here rather than on my own status.
I follow my gut, and a lot of times it leads me to strange places that I never would’ve imagined. A prime example is probably my most memorable haircut to date, because it was so odd and made me think a lot about hair in the populations that don’t make it to the salon regularly.
A Palestinian businessman came into the salon once at the end of my shift and I stayed to cut his hair. He had tight curls and a thick accent (I think he understood me quite well, but I had some difficulty understanding certain words from him) and just wanted his hair cut in some common American style. For men, especially curly hair, I can’t say there is one style that is suited for everyone, and while in the US a businessman with curly hair would probably cut his hair quite short, but I hate getting rid of the curl if it isn’t socially mandated.
We talked a lot about Palestine and where he currently was living, Qatar, and all the sorts of ethnic food we both like and the places we have both traveled to. He talked about how in the Middle East a man would never get his hair cut by a woman. He talked about his wife back home and what a wonderful mother she was and about his children… Which brought me to why he was in Pittsburgh. One of his sons was very ill, an illness I did not fully understand, but had multiple organs failing. They had flown 16 hours with a nurse and doctor to get to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. His wife was home with the rest of the children and pregnant with another.
At the end of his haircut he asked me if I could cut his son’s hair. He gave me the hospital phone number and I said I could see what I could do. Long story short, a few days later, shortly before he was due to fly back to a hospital in the Middle East, I went to the Children’s Hospital and the man game down to the lobby to check me into the floor his son was on. When I got in I was a little shocked to see the five year old with a bandage wrapped completely around his abdomen. He could not talk. The father said he had been quite a talker before the illness. But he was a beautiful child… there’s just something incredible about a kid with enormous brown eyes and thick, black lashes. Gorgeous skin and rich brown hair that brushed his shoulders in the back and obscured his eyes in the front. He was watching Cars dubbed over in Arabic and rocking back and forth during the entire haircut. I reached over the bars of his bed and his father held his head still so I could cut his hair.
Kid’s cuts can be difficult, especially if the kid is strong and busy bodied like this boy. The cut was not perfect but it didn’t need to be. The fact is, five inches off and a shape cut in and the difference was remarkable. He was a beautiful boy before but after the haircut he was beginning to look healthy again. To see him play without needing to swat hair out of his face and to look at those big brown eyes without a curtain of hair in the way… It was a very profound moment for me.