In 1970 David Crosby sang, ‘Almost cut my hair’. Of course he didn’t – he let it fall out instead. Thereby allowing a symbol of rebellion set the scene for a symptom of ageing. Crosby’s refrain was political, he was endorsing his opposition to the establishment. So was I a sell-out 50 years on when I took the pinking shears, more about this choice later, to my crowning glory? No, as it wasn’t a rejection of counterculture that led to my lock lopping so much as an act of desperation and boredom.
Desperation because under lockdown rules in New Zealand you are unable to go to the hairdressers. In Australia, a land where coiffure is clearly valued more highly – witness Dame Edna and Norman Gunston – hairdressing is an essential service; the equal of other services such as policing and fulfilling your role as an ER medic. I was bored as I’d spent four entire weeks living with myself – no mean feat and sadly something no man has ever chosen to do.
This combination of desperation and boredom set the scene for cutting my own hair. It was the day and time of my scheduled appointment when armed with my kiwi can-do attitude and thoughts of, ‘how hard can it be?’, I set myself down in front of the mirror. I’d washed my hair and had a towel wrapped around my shoulders – it was just like the real thing. To heighten the experience I had a friend with me on Skype asking questions about the weather, how my day had been so far, how much I wanted off today and had I thought about a change in look? It was so realistic that I began to think about getting a mullet, but I bottled out and settled on a fringe trim. However my scissors, blunted through being used as screwdrivers to tighten pot handles, were useless. The pot handles, unlike my trousers, required tightening after all the lockdown cooking I was doing. Hence the pinking shears, which make poor screwdrivers. I also thought the sawtooth pattern would create a new look for me. I was right, it was a new look, but for humankind not just me.
Fortunately, and I may be the only person saying this, the New Zealand lockdown has been extended for another week. This will give time for my hair to grow out. Unfortunately I’ll now miss a scheduled appointment with my dermatologist, and won’t have a nasty mole removed. However I’ve still got that can-do kiwi attitude, I mean, how hard can it be?