It was about six weeks into this quarantine when my 8-year-old son’s shaggy blonde hair began morphing into seriously unkempt territory. He was complaining about the hair getting in his eyes and I was having a hard time styling it. That clean-cut look we once achieved with a little bit of pomade had given way to a mess of hair that refused to stay put in any one direction. I knew it was time for a haircut, but I was nervous to do it on my own.

I’ve successfully trimmed his twin sister’s bangs in the past but cutting and shaping an entire head of boy hair was a project I was not up for. I knew if I watched a YouTube video on how to do it, he would like come out looking like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. So instead, I turned to Google. A quick search led me to YouProbablyNeedaHaircut.com, a new website launched by entrepreneur Greg Isenberg that pairs professional stylists with people who need haircuts. I liked the idea of a real stylist guiding me as I cut my little guy’s hair and at $18 an appointment, I was sold.

haircut coronavirus
Ronnie Koenig

After booking a timeslot, I managed to purchase a hair trimmer at Walgreens. I already had a drugstore haircutting scissors so I was good to go. On the day of the appointment, I received a text message from JaBarie Anderson, the stylist we were paired with. JaBarie introduced himself and reminded me “we came to have fun!” He also sent along a picture of the tools I would need for our session. Even though my trimmer was meant for beards and cleaning up hair, he told me not to worry. “Okay we got this,” he texted me back right away, easing my fears about trying to perform the work of a professional in my living room.

At our assigned time, my son sat ready in my desk swivel chair, his freshly washed hair ready for a major cut and a towel wrapped around his shoulders. JaBarie was joining us on video chat from Brooklyn and he chatted and joked around with us before getting down to business.

The first step was to tie up the length of my son’s hair on top of his head and buzz the rest of it with the hair trimmer. JaBarie helped me select the correct hair guard and didn’t even laugh at me when I had no clue which side of the trimmer to hold to my son’s head. “You’re going to go straight up, not on a curve,” he advised me.

If ever there was a “make it work” moment, this was it! With much trepidation, I turned on the clipper and went to work. “That looks great,” JaBarie said, watching me as I worked. “Make sure you go straight up!”

“I want to see what it looks like,” said my son.

“Sit still!” I said.

After the sides were buzzed, JaBarie showed me how to cut the sides and then the top using my scissors. Not only did he clearly and confidently explain everything I needed to do each step of the way, he even held up diagrams of the head showing the correct direction to cut! As I began cutting the top of my son’s hair, I thought two things—one, that I could never have done this alone, and two that professional stylists are truly artists.

By the time we had blended the longer length of the top and front into the back, I was amazed that this was looking like an actual, real haircut! Taking the guard off the trimmer, I cleaned up the back of my son’s neck and along the sideburns, the last step of the process.

“This is so satisfying!” I exclaimed as I neatened up my handiwork.

Even though my appointment was only supposed to be for 20 minutes, JaBarie stayed on Zoom with us for nearly an hour, making sure that my little guy looked first rate. My son was super pleased with his new, cleaned up look which amazingly, didn’t look all that different from the cuts he normally gets at the barber. I was happy that he looked great, and I also had this crazy feeling that I’d been missing for the past month—I had accomplished something I didn’t think I could do!

So even though I can’t wait until the world reopens and we can visit our barbers and stylists in person again, it was pretty cool to make such a wonderful virtual connection and a terrific way to support those creative professionals who can’t go to work right now.

Before you break out the salad bowl and kitchen scissors, consider using this awesome website. Next customer up—my husband!

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