Haircut

Almonte is a small town in the country about 45 kms outside Ottawa the nation’s capital.  When I came here in 1976 it had a population of about 4,500.  Its population as recorded in the 2016 Canadian Census was 5,039. Although there have been many changes in Almonte over the past half century it frankly feels that nothing much has happpened.  The new residential areas have merely overtaken the fields – such as where Howard Sadler grew his strawberries – that we never saw in any event.

Part of the charm of living in Almonte along the Mississippi River is the opportunity for people of every station in life to mingle with one another.  For example our morning breakfast club at the Superior Restaurant on Mill Street included an undertaker, surveyor, used furniture dealer, lawyer, retiree and hair stylist.  I recall the hair stylist liked to quip, “The only difference between a good haircut and a bad one is two days!

There is truth to that flippancy. But there is likewise no denying that the particle of truth which suvives those first two days after the haircut is equally noteworthy. For most men I freely imagine the experience of a haircut is metaphysical. It is an effectual way momentarily to ascend to that transcendental state of the superhuman. The haircut affords precision and clarity to our otherwise muddled existence. It renders angles and curves we never knew we had. The eyebrows and sideburns are refined. The tranquillizing effect of the shampoo and conditioner is enhanced by the soothing scent of the products. There follows a feeling of simplicity and overall cleanliness.

It was in this ethereal state of mind and body that I withdrew from the salon and continued upon my day, heightened by the unearthly act of a haircut. The episode  was especially fortuitous because I had opted for the enterprise without an appointment. When in the throes of lengthening one’s hair, the decision to have it cut requires calculation. It pleased me enormously to conjoin the plan with the purpose without delay.

The haircut by design affords the further amplitude of time before getting another. This by the way I discussed with the stylist upon my departure. We agreed that an appropriate revisitation would be one month hence. Historically – when I had shorter hair – a vacuum of three weeks between haircuts was preferable. But the extremities of hair are less noticeable when long.