Do you have any haircut tales to share? (File photo)

Wolf: ‘Did you get a haircut?’

Sometimes, the question isn’t a compliment

“Did you get a haircut?”

A seemingly innocuous question. But sometimes not meant as a conversation starter – or even a compliment.

The other day, I decided to do battle with a unique development that has manifested itself as I advance in age – my hair grows sideways rather than up or down.

Back in the hairband era (for me, the late 1980s), my hair grew quickly, north and south.

I could have a mullet in a couple of weeks; a towering Duran Duran-style ‘do in about a month.

Today, though I’m basically just happy to have my hair, the growth pattern has changed.

It would take me about two years to get enough ‘party in the back’ to fashion a solid mullet. Probably about as long to produce the towering marvel of engineering and hairspray that perched atop my melon back in the day.

But it will grow sideways (out from just above the ears) like a Chia pet on steroids. Strangest thing.

Well, almost as strange as the fact that hairs actually sprout out of the ends of my ears now. How the heck does that happen?

So mostly now, when I go to get a haircut, the instructions are fairly simple.

“Nice and short on the sides, just tidy it a little up top and at the back.”

When your regular hairdresser does it, no problem.

If they happen to be away, sometimes it can get a little hairy (pun slightly intended).

Now, I’m just as happy sitting there quietly as I am engaging in a conversation with whomever is cutting my hair. When you have a ‘regular’ stylist/barber, you find the sweet spot. There’s the comfortable back and forth, or the comfortable silence.

This time, I had a wonderfully friendly and skilled person cutting my hair. And there was a lot of conversation. A lot. So much so that as the stories continued, so did the thinning of the herd, so to speak.

It was my own fault. A couple of times I said “yeah, that looks about right” but she’d begin another story.

And there was only one way to finish the story – by continuing to lop off what was left.

And there wasn’t much left when all was said and done. Fortunately, it still grows back. But let’s circle back up top.

First, you get the wide eyes from any children in your house. Or the smirks from the older ones. The ‘hey, Kojak’ calls from the oldest family members.

And, when you return to the office, you get “did you get a haircut?”

Of course, they see you most every day, so they know darn well you had a lawn mower drive over your head. But they’re polite, sort of.

Generally, if they think it looks good, they’ll say “hey, nice haircut” or something along those lines. If you’ve been carved up, you’ll get “did you get a haircut?”

So yes, yes I did.

Have a tale of a haircut gone wrong you’d like to share? Send it to

Philip Wolf is managing editor of the Vancouver Island Free Daily. Follow him on Twitter @philipwolf13

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