The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is EMPATHY.
Merriam-Webster has a long-winded definition for this word, while LEXICO puts it simply as “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” The idea is that, even if you haven’t had exactly the same experience, you can picture yourself in their place and get what someone else is feeling.
Reading fellow blogger Biff’s article about his new COVID-style hairdo inspires me to write about my efforts as family barber.
I must tell you that I’ve gained a good deal of empathy for beginning stylists. I now get a sense of how they must feel as a new customer takes his/her place in the chair and they both wonder how this is going to turn out. Even if the barber or stylist has had oodles of practice at styling school, all heads — and hair types — are not created equal.
A barber is an artist.
There have been times when I waited for dear hubby’s barber to finish his hair cut and I’ve watched the flash of those barber scissors. Skillfully snip-snipping.
And voilà, a perfectly neat haircut. What a talent!
But, as the whole world knows, barber shops and beauty salons are closed these days just like many other businesses. Which is why my husband handed me an old pair of barber shears last month and told me he needed a hair cut. He was not willing to wait another eight weeks or so to see a barber.
I examined the rather rusty scissors – he says he’s had them for thirty years – and wondered if they’d cut anything. The loosely joined blades barely met in the middle. Definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Back in our salad days I did cut his hair, but always used a clipper. However, he’s been going to a barber for almost thirty years and I’ve gotten as rusty as these scissors. A clipper would be handy, but who thought about this? I wonder if hair clippers have sold out by now like hand soaps?
I sighed and began the task at hand and thankfully the tip of the scissors did actually cut. As I snipped away, I drew major consolation from the thought that he won’t be out in public very much these days. And he assured me that if I make a mess, in a couple of weeks no one will see it any more.
Wielding those scissors, I started to feel like Leonardo da Vinci with his chisel, wanting to bring forth the statue of David. The artist in me kicked in and, snip by snip, I sculpted the standard senior gentleman’s haircut. Nowhere near professional, but not so bad.
Yesterday his hair had grown long enough that he wanted a trim, so we had a repeat performance. He has to appear in public today but, as Biff wrote in his article, a lot of folks are looking a little shaggy these days. And who knows how many other wives and partners have been handed scissors and told to “do something with this”?
Yes, I managed. But, believe me, I’ll be there cheering when the barbers open their doors for business again.