It all began when I was four years old and decided that cutting my own hair with my mother’s pinking shears would be not only a grand idea, but would also make me look like my very prettiest Barbie – (a realistic expectation since I also cut her hair with the same scissors). My Barbies often wound up being more like “experiments” than actual toys, and endured multiple terrible haircuts and torturous “meltings” with the magnifying glass my father insisted a four year old (with zero observable tendencies towards responsibility) was “ready for” – honestly, we’re lucky I didn’t burn the house down.
I like to think that my readiness for responsibility has increased in the last 30 some odd years, but it can’t be denied that two weeks ago I definitely cut own bangs with a pair of eyebrow scissors. The result was not optimal. I’m pretty sure it’s driving my boss, Jan “Perfect Hair Life” Rankin absolutely insane because this week she bought me a hoodie with a shark head to wear around the office. She’s right. It does represent an improvement.
Now, I know that all of us ladies know that we shouldn’t cut our own hair. We’ve all had this conversation/scolding numerous times with our hairstylists/friends/mothers/strange-women-we-meet-on-the-street-who-will-criticize-you-about-anything. Honestly, it’s been drilled into me so hard since the age of four, I thought I was the only person left on the planet with the fatal combination of implacable self-confidence regarding do-it-yourself projects and just enough Miller Lite beer to make playing home salon seem like a good idea.
It should also be noted that I’ve never stopped cutting my own hair for any real length of time. When I lived in Honduras, I cut off my braid with a fish scaling knife. I’ve been known to cut my own pony tails off because my hair was getting in the way and I was busy – although a lot of the “busy-ness” was me being glued to or caught in something by said pony tail. This resulted in several accidental mullets.
I also cut my own bangs (when I had them) in college and often got referred to as, “That art girl who looks like she was just in a car crash.” That caused me to grow out said bangs, and not go back until…
I got forehead wrinkles.
Melissa Bratten, my friend and pre-eyebrow-snippers-and-poverty hair stylist, talked me into bangs by pointing out that my forehead looked like a series of repeating Marianas Trenches and saying that a fringe was “nature’s Botox.”
“I thought ‘nature’s Botox’ was just straight up, old fashioned, mayo-in-the-sun, botulism?” I quizzed.
“That, too.” Mel replied, twisting my hair into some kind of mysterious (probably Freemason related) triangle and chopping.
And so, my short side bangs were born. I liked them okay, and they did conceal my copious frown lines (it looks like someone is about to plant corn). However, bangs require maintenance, especially if they are being serviced by a professional. For some reason, when Mel was handling my whole fluff situation, they needed trimming once every couple of weeks. When I cut them myself, they don’t grow back for at least 8 months. This is not a good thing. I think they get mad at me and go into hiding.
The main problem with doing it wrong – other than the fact that you wind up looking like an especially austere Vulcan – is that it is absolutely impossible to stop trying to fix it yourself. The first cut I made wasn’t the deepest and it looked okay if I took my friend Karly’s advice and “just combed it all messy.” However, I kept seeing little notches that needed to be evened out. “Just a little snip,” I thought, “and all will be well.”
So I snipped and kept on snipping over the next few days — to the extent that I just left my little Shark vacuum in the bathroom to suck up the minute puffs of hair.
Finally, I gave up and posted a picture of myself on Facebook, lamenting my sad state of affairs. The reactions were mixed, spanning everything from: “OMG I feel your pain. I do that, too!” to “I think it’s great that you don’t care how you look.” My friend Erin had actually cut her bangs the same night I did. Hers are worse. I’m a terrible person, but somehow the solidarity made me feel
Because I am obviously never going to learn not to cut my own hair, I decided to learn how to do it right. I turned to the internet for a tutorial.
I clicked the play button on the screen and a very pretty girl came on, cheerfully letting us all know that today she was going to teach us some “fail safe” techniques for chopping our own bangs.
“Provided,” she said, “that you use the right shears and don’t try this drunk.”
I watched the entire video (12 minutes of chipper Hell), and ordered an appropriate pair of scissors – which will stay sharp until I’m forced to resort to using them to create an emergency Godzilla-pop-up-card. I’m not going to be able to try any of the other techniques for a while, though. If I cut my bangs any more, I’m going to look like PeeWee Herman had an unfortunate encounter with a wood chipper.
Until then, I’m the girl in the shark hoodie.