Things I Know 39 of 365: Leave it to Dana

You’re only as good as your last haircut.

– Fran Lebowitz

Dana usually cuts my hair.

She’s a smoker. She’s from Jersey. She was married once. She realized she didn’t love him as much as she needed to and it ended early. Now, she’s got a serious long-term boyfriend. She swears they’ll never get married, but they’ll never break up either.

She told me all of this whilst cutting my hair.

That’s no small task.

It’s a mess up there.

Childhood scars and cowlicks. Not pretty.

Dana, though, navigates it each time with perfect aplomb while telling stories.

I soak it up.

She makes it look so easy.

From shampoo to dusting the strays off my collar, not a break in conversation, save for the odd “Look down.”

Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as she makes it look.

The first time I tried to cut my hair myself was a little over a year ago.

I was officiating the wedding of some friends that afternoon and decided I needed a little trim.

Yes, the fact I chose that particular moment to try my hand at hair cuttery probably speak volumes as to whether or not loved ones should trust me with their nuptials, but we’ll move on.

It did not go well.

An hour later, I was sitting in Dana’s chair recounting a boldfaced lie about how my roommate had sworn she could cut hair, but had freaked out after the first pass with the clippers. Dana believed not a word. For he briefest of seconds, I’d considered fessing up, but realized the slap in the face it would be to tell her I was so pompous as to think I could perform her job without any training.

Dana patched me up as best she could and sent me on my way. She warned me it would take time for the mistakes “my roommate” had made to be corrected, but she’d plotted the course. For my part, I made certain all wedding pictures featured my left side.

It was silly to think all I needed were the tools and I’d be able to use them with the same finesse as someone trained and experienced in a profession in which I had no experience.

The idea I could try my hand at a profession in which someone was certified was a foolish one.

That it never occurred to me I might need to learn from those who had come before me or value the expertise of those currently practicing was almost unthinkable.

I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that in education.


3 thoughts on “Things I Know 39 of 365: Leave it to Dana

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Things I Know 39 of 365: Leave it to Dana at Autodizactic --

  2. I started off chuckling here (especially since my hair stylist just chastised me because, as she said, “You've been hacking.” I'd tried cutting my own bangs, something she'll do for free just to avoid such a catastrophe) and by the end I wanted to cry. However, now that I'm past the initial reaction, I'm grateful for this analogy. It's one I'll pull out in arguments in the future.

  3. I learned a similar lesson when cutting my own hair as a teen. I was shaving my head in the backyard with the clippers on the #3 (not ridiculously short) setting. My dad came home from work and said, “You missed a spot. Here, let me get it”. Of course, I had to be the headstrong, father-distrusting teen and say, “I can do it myself!” I had forgotten that I'd removed the guard from the clippers. I mowed a stripe into my head (sort of an inverted mohawk) and my dad fell out laughing. I ended up having to shave my head way shorter than I'd ever done before and looking a bit stranger than usual. My lesson: accept help when you need it. Give dad the clippers.

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