To say that the quarantine has been hair-raising would be the unkindest cut of all. I know this because I hadn’t had a haircut in a month and a half and was starting to look like Medusa, the mythical monster with snakes coming out of her head, so I risked shear hell and gave myself a trim.
On the plus side, I found out from my barber, Maria Santos, that my natural hair color is blond.
“Dirty blond,” Maria said when I called her for a consultation in which she advised against using a hedge trimmer on my unruly locks, which were starting to sprout more gray matter than I have on the inside of my head.
Maria is to dye for. That’s what she does when I go for a haircut. At my age (old enough to know better), I need a little touch-up to prevent me from looking like the geezer I really am.
The good news is that 66 is the new 46. The bad news is that I haven’t looked 46 since I was 36.
At that age, I sported an Afro. I looked like legendary musician Billy Preston, whose massive mane probably prevented him from fitting through doorways.
I also resembled legendary comedian Harpo Marx, who had dirty blond curls and didn’t speak, a characteristic that family, friends and even complete strangers wish I would adopt.
“If you are going to cut your own hair,” Maria said, “get a pair of professional hair-cutting scissors.”
The problem, she added, is that if I ordered them online, they might not be delivered for weeks, at which point I’d need a landscaper.
When I asked about an electric hair clipper, which I also would have to order, Maria said, “If you start buzzing and make your hair too short, it could be a disaster.”
“Then I’d look like Curly of the Three Stooges,” I said. “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”
“You could always wear a do-rag,” Maria suggested.
“All I have is a don’t-rag,” I replied.
I decided to use a pair of regular household scissors, which I didn’t tell Maria about because she had already warned me that in the wrong hands (mine), they also could cause trouble.
“Your hair is coarse,” she explained.
“Maybe I could sell the clippings to Brillo,” I said.
But I did tell her that I had bought a popular men’s hair color product that, in my case, should be renamed Just for Morons.
“What shade did you get?” Maria asked.
“Medium brown,” I answered.
“That’s too dark,” she said, adding that I should have gotten something lighter.
“I’ve always been lightheaded,” I told Maria.
“That’s because you’re a dirty blond,” she said.
“Do dirty blonds have more fun?” I wondered.
“Yes, but only if they don’t mess up the color,” said Maria, who added that leaving it in for five minutes, as recommended on the box, was excessive. “Men are impatient anyway,” she said. “And you still want a little gray to show through so you can look distinguished.”
I thanked Maria for her expertise and told her I’d make an appointment when it’s safe to come out again. Then I went upstairs to the bathroom and, scissors in hand, took a little off the sides and around the ears. Fortunately, I didn’t end up looking like Vincent van Gogh.
I applied the hair color to my head, mustache and eyebrows, waited three minutes and washed it out in the shower.
“Not bad,” said my wife, Sue.
“I should open my own salon, Mr. Jerry’s House of Style,” I said.
“Don’t even think about cutting my hair,” Sue said.
“I can’t wait until the quarantine is over,” I said. “It sure has been a hairy situation.”
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media and is the author of four books. His latest is “Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures.” Email: JerryZ111@optonline.net. Blog: www.jerryzezima.blogspot.com.