For the last seven years, I have always gotten my hair cut on a particular date on the Jewish Calendar : Lag B’Omer. For the first thirty two days between the second evening of Passover and Lag B’Omer, it is customary not to get your hair cut. I therefore always scheduled a haircut on this date. This year was different.
Working for the Weekend
For one, I spent nearly five years working independently, without a firm time to start or stop working on any given day. It made it very easy to just get up and get a haircut whenever I wanted. It didn’t hurt that while I was in Seattle, I had a friend who was more than happy to exchange a haircut for a home cooked meal. Said meal was a lot easier for me to part with than money for a haircut, for reasons which I will explain.
Now I am a man who wakes up every morning between five and six and has a pretty packed schedule until at least six in the evening, and sometimes later. It’s not easy to find time to get a haircut if one is constantly busy with the living of life. In 2002 I had just gotten back from Israel and had not yet found a job. In 2003 I was still in Monsey so I actually let my facial hair grow as well – it was not a pretty picture. Some people said that I looked like I went from appearing to be in my mid 20s in appearance to my late teens. 2004-2008 saw me having a flexible schedule due to working for myself. That brings us to this year.
My mother was always the one to cut our hair. From when I first started getting my hair cut, that’s how it always was, and that’s how I thought it was supposed to be. I actually did not realize for quite a long time that there was such a thing as going out and paying to get your hair cut. I distinctly remember what I believe was the first haircut involving me for which there was a monetary transaction. My family was going to visit Israel on the occasion of my cousin’s wedding.
I don’t know what it was that compelled me, but I really wanted to have hair that stood up. I knew that I wasn’t going to have a mohawk as a child of my parents but something different was needed. We went to one place to get my hair cut and they said that they wouldn’t cut my hair if it hadn’t just been shampooed and washed minutes beforehand. We went to another place where they actually did the shampooing and washing as part of the haircut. That seemed particularly more sensible.
I got a little container of hair gel that went along with my awesome new hairstyle. What I didn’t realize at the time was that during the wedding, I would have to wear a yarmulke. (I wonder what I would have thought if I had known then that I would one day wear them every day for most of the day?) The yarmulke and the hair standing up style – these are two things that do not go well together. It wasn’t the look for which I aimed. I was getting irritated because the yarmulke was pushing down on my hair so I would occasionally take it off to fix it, which prompted a good yell from my uncle.
Wanted: Dead or Alive
When I was a kid, I thought that Bon Jovi was one of the best bands ever. I asked a friend of mine to copy “Slippery When Wet” onto tape for me because I didn’t have the money to buy it. Come to think of it, I didn’t really buy much when I was a kid except for the occasional candy bar and comic book. Actually, let me not refer to him as much as a friend but rather as a classmate. He was really rude to me most of the time and thought he would be clever and dub the tape at high volume but had no idea that it just didn’t work like that with cheap tape decks.
Anyhow, as a huge fan of Bon Jovi, I wanted to have the Bon Jovi hair. I remember the excitement seeing my hair looking just a little bit longer. I had a whole talk that I was going to have with my mother when she next cut my hair, to explain why she would cut only certain parts of my hair but not others. I was going to tell her that I wanted to have long hair like Bon Jovi. In theory, it was going to be great and I was going to have Bon Jovi hair. In reality, I delivered the speech flawlessly but she cut my hair the way she normally did anyhow. She promised me that the next time she cut my hair, and of course by that time I had already lost the desire to have Bon Jovi hair. I guess it was a quickly fleeting desire, after all.
I should really appreciate this hair of mine while I have it. I keep saying that one of these days I’m going to shave all of my hair from top to bottom just to get a new start, but I never do it. Hair may be here today but it very well may be gone by tomorrow.