The Backyard Barber

Growing up, my dad has always been the one to give me haircuts. It's a tradition we both cherish and will continue to carry on.

From a young age, my dad was always the one who gave me haircuts. I have fond memories of sitting in the chair, watching my dad carefully trim my hair, and feeling like I was in good hands. However, as a child, I also have memories of bawling my eyes out because I ended up with a haircut I didn’t like, whether it was a buzz cut or a bowl cut. In elementary and middle school, I frequently wore a buzz cut because it was the easiest and quickest cut my father could provide.

My dad is not a barber or a hairdresser. He frequently gave his father, my grandfather, at-home haircuts using a handy dandy hair trim kit. When it came to me, I didn’t have much of a choice. But despite my occasional tears, getting a haircut from my dad was always a bonding experience for us.

Every haircut session went the same way: We usually cut my hair outside in the backyard or in the bathtub so that it’s easier to clean up the hair afterwards. I would sit on a small black foldable stool as he carefully trimmed my hair. We didn’t have a black tarp to cover the area, so I usually just wore my underwear so that hair wouldn’t get all over my clothes (yes, it can be very cold). As my dad worked his magic, I sat still. We usually didn’t talk much, maybe just exchange some words about school and life in general. Once done, my dad would get my old shirt and wipe (or should I say whip) any hair off my body. I would then go straight into the shower and wash up.

As I got older, I continued to have my dad cut my hair. It was more than just saving money. Rather, it was a way for me to share memorable moments with my dad. Every time he cut my hair, he would boast how it was even better than at the salon and how handsome the cut made me look (not that I didn’t look flawless already). He would watch how other hairdressers cut hair and then emulate it on me. If something did go wrong, the default buzz cut was always an option. Each cut was made with intention, and the result was always full of love.

Now, as an adult, I still have my dad cut my hair occasionally. It’s a tradition that we both cherish, and it’s a testament to the close relationship we have as father and child. Sitting on the tiny black foldable chair reminded me of all the trials and errors we went through together. All the dramatic wailing and laughter when it turned out bad. All the joy and satisfaction when it turned out good. He will always be the one I go to for some lighthearted moments and giggles.

I look forward to the day when our roles are switched, and it’s my dad who sits on the tiny black foldable stool. It will be me who takes on the role of cutting his hair – MWUHAHA. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to offer some tips he hasn’t learned yet.

All in all, I’m grateful for the memories and the bond that my dad and I share because of haircuts. It’s a tradition that I hope to continue with my own children one day.

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