Chris Bateman

Sunday, May 3 


Today let’s talk about grooming.

You don’t have to do it. Nobody’s coming to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Your business meetings are all online or over the phone. There are no people to meet or places to go. 

Sure, if you’re quarantining with a spouse or family, it’s probably best to maintain at least some basic hygiene. But I’m alone with a dog and a cat. Do I really need to shower and shave to meet the UPS guy with my latest load of Dot’s Pretels?  Of course not. 

So I could go all Howard Hughes and let my nails and beard grow unfettered. 

Growing hair is another matter:

Since I’m 74, my hairline is receding and there’s a bald spot in back. I’ve never seen that spot, but according to those who have, it is somewhere between the size of a silver dollar and a pie plate. 

But what once grew there is made up for by hair now growing out my ears and nose. Plus, my now unruly eyebrows are not thinning at all. 

Since my social calendar is empty, I don’t have to worry about any of this. I could just hole up here on Yankee Hill for weeks or months, then go on a massive self-cleansing binge the day before we are all freed. 

But that’s not my plan: I do have some pride left. I shower every day, shave every other day, and apply deodorant regularly (I hope Lil and Jazz  appreciate this). Unlike Howard, I do trim my nails. No, I do not slap on cologne or aftershave – then again I never have. 

But I’m not cutting the hair that grows on my scalp. And that’s beginning to be a problem. It’s now longer than it has been in years. It’s growing over my ears and down my neck. 

That said, it’s nowhere near as long as it was when I was a late-1960s college student in the Bay Area. But then it was dark brown and way thicker than it is now. Plus, I looked like thousands of other hippies and wannabe hippies. 

If my now-white hair grows two more months, I will not look like a wannabe hippie. I’ll look like an eccentric geezer (instead of a normal geezer). I’ll get looks and comments, like “What’s with that guy?? Yeah, the guy with the hair.” 

Also, I’m now comfortable being well trimmed. 

So I went online to learn how to cut my own hair. “Unless you want a buzz cut, forget about it,” was the one-sentence consensus.  

Various clippers were also recommended for those who dared. But most of the sites I visited said the best brands are largely unavailable because there has been a Corona-driven run on them. 

So clippers apparently are the new toilet paper. 

Still, I missed my April haircut, will miss May’s and could well be taking a bye on June. By then it’s going to be hot. 

So I went online and ordered a well rated Oster clipper with an array of attachable combs for varying hair lengths. My thinking at the time: If it looks like we’ll all be free by June, then I’ll cancel the order – which may not have arrived by that time anyway. 

Well, my clipper got here in two days. These things are not the new toilet paper. 

So now what? 

I went back online and read about buzz cuts: It might take a few tries to “get it right,” was the advice. “But once you figure it out, you’ll save tons of money by not going to a barber or stylist.” 

Something to think about?  Maybe. 

After all, I have crew-cut experience dating back to childhood. 

To save money, my mother for years cut my hair and my brother’s. And it’s not like she asked if we wanted her to take a little off here or a little off there.  She would instead take a lot off everywhere. 

And these coifs were not done evenly. Mom used scissors, not a clipper. So our haircuts looked like relief maps of various American mountain ranges. If she was having a good day, maybe the rolling-hill Catskills. If a bad day, the precipitous Rockies. 

Fortunately, my brother and I were not style-conscious, and put up with these crew cuts for years. I didn’t grow my hair out until my senior year in high school. A few classmates were impressed. “Wow!” one said. “You kinda look like a college kid.” 

So I never looked back. Until now. 

So is it time to return to the buzz cut?  I don’t know, but I’m thinking about it. And the clipper is right here on the kitchen counter.  Of course once I fire the thing up, it could be a total disaster. 

Maybe Oster should have made me wait through a “cooling-off period” before sending me the darn thing. Maybe I should practice on Lil. Maybe I should wait a month. Or two. 

One thing is certain: If I’m actually crazy enough to go through with a self-cut, you will read about it in a future diary entry. But I likely will not include photos. 


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