It’s All About the Hair

Not kidding. When I was young I got my haircuts when the horses’ manes and tails were getting clipped.

June 21, 2017 | | Headwaters Nest

It’s 7:30 a.m. I can smell hair products and the slightly burnt whiff of the hair dryer. It’s going to be a good hair day.

Grade 7 brings about new routines – nicely scented hair products, combs and styling mud. Wash, then dry, style, spray to hold. Don’t touch.

A few weeks ago it was haircut time. We went to Launch on Mill Street in old Orangeville, where Cassie has been cutting Adrian’s hair for years. All the beautiful women at the salon greeted him with a smile, remembering when he was two and needed pillows to boost him high enough for his first cuts.

He is almost as tall as me now, and doesn’t need a boost. This time we had saved a couple of pictures of his favourite YouTubers on our phones to show Cassie what he wanted. A little longer on the top, so he could get some height and movement, please. I love hair and its versatility, and how it is an absolute expression of self.

Taking her time, Cassie went in with scissors, clippers, scissors again, stepping back to assess and refine. Adrian looked down the whole time, blowing the thousand sharp spikes of muted blonde hair from the black cape, and rubbing the back of his neck when he had the chance. Eventually, when Cassie was done, he glanced quickly in the mirror before we left. At home he had more time to work on it, and two weeks later it’s growing in perfectly.

When I was little, haircuts didn’t involve trips to salons or specific styles until about Grade 7. Before that? Horse clippers.

Not kidding. When I was young I got my haircuts when the horses’ manes and tails were getting clipped. I was my mom’s sidekick as she built a business raising and boarding horses. The horses were spit and polished before the weekends, to be ready to travel to shows.

The grooming included their haircuts. I helped comb out their manes and tails – every girl’s dream, except for the nasty burrs that required near-precision surgery to extract. Next, as barn kittens tumbled and frisked dangerously near hooves, out would come my mom’s clippers. I was allowed to oil the blades carefully and plug in the long extension cord. Some horses stood patiently as their manes and whiskers were trimmed, others tossed their heads defiantly and needed calming, sometimes requiring the application of what’s called a twitch to their lip to halt their head shaking.

How tidy and handsome they looked! Especially after the next step of hoof polishing. Sigh. Gorgeous. My Little Pony, in real life.

Then, if my hair had grown too long and was getting in my eyes, it would be my turn. I would sit on top of the stool while my mom combed my hair straight with whatever horse comb or brush was nearby. Angling the clippers parallel to the ground, she would go in for the cut.

ZzzZANG-zzzZANG-zzz-ZANG. Three swift, straight passes to shear the bangs across my high forehead. Sharp shards of hair, just like Adrian’s now, fell onto my jeans and runners.

I could smell the oil, the horse hair. I was so excited for a fresh cut – until I saw myself in the tack room mirror. My cowlick, centrally located, forced the hair to pop up joyfully, creating a crooked line and revealing too much skin. I rushed back to my mom in hope of a repair. ZzzZANG. I checked the mirror again. It was worse.

I would sit on top of the stool while my mom combed my hair straight with whatever horse comb or brush was nearby. Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

I would sit on top of the stool while my mom combed my hair straight with whatever horse comb or brush was nearby. Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

But year after year, the cut was repeated. I have the evidence – several photos showing my mom’s barn aisle handiwork. I think my brother was luckier. He escaped and had real haircuts in chairs in malls or barbershops. Back in the day, he always carried a small comb and could drum up a “wicked feather.”

Still, I take solace in knowing I was not the only one who suffered such indignities. My husband recently showed me his own Grade 7 photo. “Who cut your hair?!” I pealed with laughter at the extreme straight lines, stepping across and down his head like the coif of a Lego man. “My mom did it,” he replied, “with her sewing shears.”

More Info

Get Sticky!

Year after year Orangeville Rotary Ribfest delivers ooey-gooey goodness to watering mouths from Orangeville and beyond. Along with the ribs, there’s a beer tent, midway, classic car show and live entertainment on the big stage. Proceeds go to projects in Orangeville and Dufferin which in the past have included the Rotary splashpad at Fendley Park, the Rotary Way bike route, the intergenerational GrandPals program and the Orangeville Food Bank. It all takes place July 14 to 16 at the Alder Recreation Centre.

Get Bendy!

Student summer GoYoga memberships are available for unlimited classes to the end of August at an unbeatable price of $160. GoYoga is located on First Street in Orangeville in a welcoming space for the yogi in you. A great way to stay healthy, combat anxiety and feel good all summer! goyogaorangeville.com

Walk Across Canada

Get ready to map your activities in distance across a map during Orangeville’s 150-Day Cross-Canada Journey. From June 1 to October 28, the goal is to see how far Orangeville residents can walk, bike, hike or swim in a virtual cross-Canada marathon. Visit a recreation centre in Orangeville to get your tracking sheet or download it from the town’s website, orangeville.ca

Bruce Trail Birthday

While Canada is celebrating the Big 150, there’s another birthday to celebrate – the Bruce Trail turns 50 this year! You can participate by downloading the Bruce Trail app developed for mobile devices and featuring handy maps, route planning, points of interest and a tracker that will record the hikes you’ve taken. ($19.99 from iTunes or Google Play.) A great family goal would be to plan and track your hikes to see how far you get – then add the miles to your Cross-Canada Journey!

More National Pride

Parks Canada is offering a free national park pass in 2017. Called the Discovery Pass, it ensures free entry to places managed by Parks Canada. Among the national parks in Ontario are Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay Islands, Point Pelee, Pukaskwa and Thousand Islands. This is your chance to get out and explore our great wilderness. Note, the Discovery Pass is not accepted at provincial parks. pc.gc.ca

Camps and Fall Fairs

Still need to book a camp for your little one this summer? The list is better than ever at inthehills.ca/kids-camps. Hop on over and you will be sure to find something that is just the right fit!  And don’t forget you can already find a list of all the local fall fairs in What’s On. Get planning now so you don’t miss one horse show, midway or your favourite locally made treat!

About the Author More by Bethany Lee

Bethany Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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