The Day I Realised That I Needed to Learn a New Skill!
My life changed, and the question of who would cut my husband’s hair became foremost in everyone’s mind…What had started as a lockdown necessity, morphed into a monthly ritual!
The first lockdown really does feel like a lifetime away, but a little like the dull pain of childbirth, one memory remains: the most pressing issue of the day and one, only I was able to solve — who would cut my husband’s hair?
In those heady first days, when the sun was shining and we juggled work and home-schooling in the mornings and walked in the afternoons, life seemed blissful. We were more in tune with ourselves. Home-cooking seven nights a week became the norm as restaurants were yet to adapt to the new world of home-delivery; and going to the supermarket was the most dangerous and exciting activity on offer!
We did indeed feel lucky tucked up in sleepy Suffolk. Did anyone actually know a single person who had contracted Covid? Was this all an over-reaction and would life return to normal very shortly.
My husband has always been quite fussy about his hair and like myself, has remained incredibly loyal his trusty barber, David, who had cut his hair for twenty-five years. David knew how he liked his hair — short back and sides — and the visit to the barber’s every five or six weeks was more of a social occasion than anything else.
But then my life changed, and the question of who would cut my husband’s hair became foremost in everyone’s mind…
Cutting a man’s hair was not new to me. As a teenager, my father, who had significantly less hair than my husband, had initially turned to my mother to cut his hair, but for whatever reason, this arrangement ceased. He needed someone new. And I do not remember how, but I ended up cutting his hair and everyone, especially my mother, seemed happy!
There is a story which sticks in my mind. My father was to meet the Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Norfolk Show one particular year, and all was a frenzy as my father was to speak to the Duke… Overnight my hair-cutting skills were no longer required, and an appointment was made at the local barber’s.
That was the last time my father ever visited a barber. The resulting haircut was not greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm, and my haircutting services were quickly reinstated!
And so to return to lockdown, and the small, yet pressing issue of my husband’s hair.
Ever the practical man, the best set of clippers money could buy were purchased.
A date and time were set.
All that was required was for me to cut…
Cut… a full head of thick hair! This was a very different proposition to the one faced as a teenager, all those years ago!
Where to start…?
Like so many other partners at the time, I turned to YouTube for instruction and Dan Gregory, the resident barber at the Regal Gentleman became my saviour.
I would go as far as to say that Dan Gregory should be recognised as a Covid-hero, for it is clear that I am not the only person he has helped in the past two years! His videos on the Regal Gentleman YouTube channel (with 250K subscribers) are a real-time step by step guide to cutting a man’s hair, and the now extensive range available really does cover the widest possible range of male styles.
It was only when I started to research and write this article, that I realised I had turned to a star for help. Dan was named GQ magazine’s Best Barber in London, three years in a row, and is currently Global Barber Ambassador for Braun as well as being barber to the stars.
Nevertheless, I think Dan Gregory deserves an OBE, or a medal at least!
Who can fail to remember the story of Nicola Sturgeon’s hairdresser, Julie McGuire, giving Nicola a pair of tapering scissors, and training up Nicola’s husband (David Murrell) via Zoom, to cut the first Scottish Minister’s hair, allowing Nicola to maintain the ‘power cut’ hairstyle necessary for all those endless daily press conferences? Oh, life was different then!
Here in the Netherlands, we have emerged from our third lockdown: a lockdown imposed with just one day’s notice and thus, no time to book a last-minute hair appointment. Restrictions lifted on Jan 25th, totalling a period of five-and-a-half weeks. The hairdressing skills of a partner were once again a valuable commodity!
I have a new and enhanced respect for all the highly skilled heroes up and down the country who provide such a key service. I have always valued the ability of seasoned professionals to totally change the way the outside world perceives each and every one of us, and how, with the snip of the scissors, our self-confidence is boosted; we have a spring in our step.
So today, I say thank you to all the hairdressers and colourists for all your endeavours and look forward to enjoying the benefits of your uninterrupted services for many years to come.