Dear Jack: Your Back-to-School, 2nd Grade Haircut (1 Inch on Top, #2 Guard on the Side, Down to #1 in the Back)

7 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday you began 2nd grade with a half day of school. I hadn’t had a chance to get your hair cut beforehand, so you still had your grown-out summer mop hairstyle going on.

So I took you to the Great Clips, just a mile from our house, first thing on Saturday morning.

I could tell you were proud to get cleaned up. Though Mommy and I told you that your hair was long enough to change up your hairstyle into a bangs look, you expressed that’s the part of your hair that annoyed you the most: the hair getting in your eyes.

That’s what you had been telling me the past two weeks each morning, as I am the one who fixes your hair before school… and church… and anytime we leave the house.

I even offered to get you a buzz cut, but you weren’t that annoyed by the hair getting in your eyes.

So I guess that is your standard haircut now:

1 inch long on top; with a #2 guard on the sides, down to a #1 guard in the back.

This makes the 3rd time in a row we’ve gone to Great Clips and they simply cut your hair based on the notes in the computer from the time before- and you were perfectly happy with the results.

That’s the hairstyle  you like. And you know this. It’s part of your identity.

And then when your hair gets long enough that it’s in your eyes again, about a month or so later, that means it’s time for a new haircut.

It’s interesting to me that as a 2nd grade boy, you know what you do and do not like in a hairstyle for yourself:

Buzz cut? Nope, too short.

Bangs? No way, too annoying.

Long enough to sort of spike on top and very short on the sides and back?




Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Haircut at Great Clips!

1 year, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

Since you turned one year-old back in April, your hair has been growing in strong. It didn’t take long before you had grown a baby mullet. Mommy and I saw no point in letting it get worse, just for the sake of, “Oh no, our baby girl is too young to get her first haircut…”

So this past Saturday morning, our entire family was there at 8:00 AM when the doors opened at Great Clips. All four of us got haircuts. Your brother and I got the same exact haircut. Mommy got a trim.

But as for our Little Goldie, you got the most noticeable haircut; almost like a longer version of a pixie haircut.

It was funny though, when I told the girl at the front desk what all of our names were for the list, they thought I said Hollywood for your name! That’s hilarious!

Mommy and I are so happy about your 1st haircut. You look so pretty.

I like the hairstyle because I know it’s designed to look good as it grows out, to help you transition into your hair growing longer. The proportions are right for that.

Now here is what’s truly amazing about your very first haircut: You never cried or got upset!

Anna, the girl who cut your hair, was completely confident in not only what she was doing, but also how to make you feel comfortable the whole time.

We didn’t even have to tell her how to cut it. She just knew, after we told her this was your first haircut.

As you sat on Mommy’s lap, Anna showed you the comb and let you feel it, so that you would know it was nothing that would hurt you.


Actually, you seemed to just like the all the action. By the time it was finished, you didn’t actually realize what had happened.

That was way too easy! I had expectations of you crying and screaming, and everyone in the place looking over at us. But, nope.

You had fun. And Mommy and I are not sad or sentimental about it all.

We are so happy our beautiful little girl got her first haircut.



Dear Jack: Your First Real Haircut in a While

5 years, 3 months.


Dear Jack,

When it comes to getting you haircuts, typically what happens is I do it myself: I just put you in the bathtub and give you a buzz cut with a #1 guard all over your head.

It looks good on you and it’s free. And you don’t care what kind of haircut you get; no matter what, all you know is, you never like getting a haircut and you are pretty good at delaying it.

I too, had been buzzing my hair off with a #1 guard since your 5th birthday in November. During the coldest months, I’m typically wearing hats most of the time to keep warm, so I’ve been without hair.

But as I’ve been growing at the time, and just got my first real haircut since early Fall, Mommy and I randomly decided this weekend to take you to Great Clips for a real haircut- it’s probably been over a year since you’ve had a non-buzz cut haircut.

We jokingly said you were going to get a Mohawk.

As we were in the parking lot about to go in, you commented to me, quite matter-of-factly, “Daddy, I hope no one at school laughs at me when they see my Mohawk.”

I immediately laughed, and explained, “You’re not getting a Mohawk. That was a joke. You’re getting a haircut just like mine. About an inch on top, a #1 guard on the sides and back, with a low fade into a #3 toward the top.”

You were relieved to hear that, but still weren’t looking forward to the fact you were just moments aware of getting your haircut.

But undeniably, you did so great in there! You enthusiastically answered all the beautician’s questions as she cut your hair.

We took a “matching haircut” picture this week to commemorate the occasion.

Maybe you and I will stick with real haircuts for a while now.



What Happens While Mommy’s Getting Her Haircut…

April 15, 2014 at 11:11 pm , by 

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

One of my jobs as “the dad” has always been to distract you from getting into trouble, or getting bored, while in public.

Over the weekend, Mommy had a haircut appointment at a salon, thanks to a Groupon.

I was able to distract you for about 8 minutes with the one magazine that wasn’t intended for actual desperate housewives… a hunting magazine, in which we only looked at the animals that had not been shot yet.

Hey, that’s just me being creative.

So I suggested we take a walk outside to see the other places in the shopping center.

We started out by watching the people exit the drive-through at Starbucks. But after only three cars, you were ready to run.

The shop right next to where Mommy was getting her haircut was a nails salon. The front door happened to be open, since it was nice outside.

You peaked in and saw the workers wearing masks over their noses and mouths to protect them from the fumes.

Your instant (and loud) response: “Hey, it’s the dentist!”

Then you ran down the sidewalk to check out the other stores. However, none of the others were open.

So we headed back by the nails salon. By that point, the owner was standing in the doorway, smiling.

I explained to him that you thought he was a dentist.

He went along with it. He then asked you if you have been brushing your teeth.

You assured him you have been. He offered to show you around the “dentist’s office” but you politely declined.

Once his wife caught a glimpse of you, she came over to ask you if you wanted to stay there at the “dentist’s” with them.

After you laughed and told her no, she surprised us both by making a face like a monkey (?) and flopped her arms around in the air, then started cheerfully grunting (?) to us, “Ooga-booga, booga-ooga!”

It was about that time that Mommy was all finished with her haircut and walked out of the salon. So we walked away with Mommy, backwards, smiling and nodding at the “dentist’s” wife; as she made you laugh all the way back to the car.

Yep, I guess we got what we were looking for:

Entertainment while Mommy got her haircut.

Uh… you’re welcome!




I Am Now My Son’s Favorite Barber

May 21, 2013 at 11:32 pm , by 

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

When I saw this picture I took of you this morning, I thought, “Here’s proof my son actually looks like me!”

The plan for Sunday afternoon was that Mommy would do the grocery shopping while I took you to get a haircut.

But once we checked in at the economy-priced place we usually go to, we were #13 on the queue, with a 45 minute wait; not to mention, you were crying because you knew why we were there.

So I made you a deal:

“Okay, Jack… listen. Would you rather Daddy give you a haircut when we get home instead of those people inside that store?”

You instantly felt relieved; I could see it:

“Yeah… Daddy, you give me haircut?”

Once we got home, you didn’t put up a fight at all. You stood on the back patio stairs as I buzzed your hair with a half-inch guard all over.


“You cut it all off, Daddy?”

I explained, “No son, you’ll still have hair, but this haircut will keep you cool in the warm weather.”

Mommy instantly fell in love with your new look. I thought she might simply be partial.

However, I learned that would not be the case.

All your teachers and friends at school said the same thing: You look really handsome with your new haircut.

That was my official confirmation.

As your dad, I have to take that as a double compliment.

One, you’re my son and someone is complimenting how sharp you look.

Second, it proves I have respectable skills with a set of hair clippers.

Not to mention, Mommy and I will now be saving about 13 bucks a month by not having to pay for your haircuts.

I was thinking: Maybe the more comfortable that you and I become with my barbering abilities, perhaps I could start learning how to fade your hair to where it’s a little longer on top.

But hey, if the buzz cut works for you and Mommy, and it saves us $13 a month, I don’t want to complicate things.

By default, I am now your favorite barber.








The Official Modern American Dad Haircut Of 2012

May 3, 2012 at 10:58 pm , by 

17 months.

Number 1 clipper guard on the sides and back, blended into about one inch long on the top. That’s pretty much the official “dad haircut” these days.

There’s just something about springtime that innately causes a man to go get a haircut.

After an airplane flew over my son’s daycare two weeks ago pulling a giant banner advertising $6.99 haircuts at Great Clips, I figured I should take it as a divine intervention. So I went and did the deed.

I normally don’t go as short as a #1 guard, but as part of my lifelong project to find the perfect men’s haircut, I decided to go pretty short this time.

Over that weekend, I thought about how when I returned to work that everyone would give me a hard time about me looking like I joined the Marines or at least that I was trying to impersonate Adam Levine from Maroon 5.

See, that’s the thing about men and our own haircuts:

We don’t exactly know what we’re supposed to do; often fearing our next haircut will make us look like a member of Color Me Badd if we don’t know exactly what to tell the barber or lady holding the clippers.

Personally for me, it’s not the kind of thing I feel comfortable asking other men about nor do I want to spend a lot of time thinking about.

I just want something that it is easy, cheap, extremely low maintenance, masculine, and looks good on a guy who may or may not be aware of the fact that his forehead is getting slightly bigger every year.

And interestingly, there’s not a whole lot of realistic advice when you Google “men’s hairstyles.” Most of the websites that pull up are either booby-trapped with spam or are designed for metrosexuals and/or inspiring emo rockers.

So today I’m making it official. This is the American Dad haircut: Number 1 clipper guard on the sides and back blended into about one inch long on top.

It’s just long enough on top to put in a little Publix brand pomade to give that perfect balance of “almost messy” and “too long to spike.” Yet it’s short enough on the back and sides to bring to mind a military image.

Turns out, a lot of people at work complimented me on my new haircut. Here’s the funny thing:

I work almost entirely with other men; most of whom are dads in their late 20′s to late 30′s, who have a similar version of the haircut.

The positive reinforcement came mainly in the form of “Looking’ sharp, Nick” or “Nice haircut… what is that, a #1 guard?”

The way I see it, I would rather receive approval on a haircut from other dads and grown men, as opposed to women. Because it’s uncommon in our society for a heterosexual man to admit that another heterosexual man is handsome. It’s a rare feat.

So if I can get Big Kenny, with his Type A personality and thick New Hampshire accent to go through the trouble to say, “Look at you, Mr. Hot Rod,” I’m going to have to believe that I finally found the perfect default haircut.

Even if by writing this, I’m breaking Man Law because men aren’t supposed to talk this much about their hair, I think it’s about time someone finally revealed the Official Modern American Dad Haircut of 2012.

Actually, I think I basically stole the hairstyle from my son.

Being a Handsome Man Vs. Being a Hot Guy

And why it ultimately doesn’t matter anyway thanks to a little something called “charm”.

Recently I asked my facebook friends via my status update, this question:

Females, I need your input for something I’m writing: What is the difference between a guy who is “handsome” and a guy who is “hot, sexy, etc.”?

To summarize the similarities of the responses, with a man who is “hot” there is an attraction (mostly physical), whereas  with a man who is “handsome” is someone who simply is a good-looking guy, though there is not necessarily any kind of attraction there.  Of course the ironic thing about this can best be summed up by what my friend Holly Arnesen said:

“if i refer to a guy as handsome, it usually means that physically speaking he’s nicely put together, but doesn’t necessarily mean i’m attracted. hot and sexy usually has to do with more than what a guy looks like. like some women think intelligence is sexy so, they’ll go for a smart guy over one that they think is nicer to look at.  i once heard someone say, ‘men fall in love with women they are attracted to, and women are attracted to the men they fall in love with.’ i’m not a guy, but i’m pretty sure this tends to be way things go.”

On the right, Bronson Pinchot, who played "Balki" on Perfect Strangers.

What enticed me to walk up to my future wife on October 5, 2006 and talk to her the very first time I saw her from across a large crowded room was her appearance.  Though it wasn’t until four months later to the day, on our first date (I knew it was a date but she didn’t until it was over), that she actually thought of me in any kind of romantic way.  My physical looks were irrelevant to the equation up until the point I made it clear I was interested in her, given that I’d shared with her my personality and character prior to day that we crossed the line from being friends to dating.

Until we started dating, I was just another average-looking dude.  A forgettable face.  Perhaps the most memorable physical trait would have been my dark hair.  Based on the celebrities that people have told me I look like in the last couple of years (“Cory Matthews” from Boy Meets World, “Balki” from Perfect Strangers, “Ross” from Friends, as well as David Arquette and Paul Rudd), I evidently have the looks of a Jewish-American comedian, which all of those Nick Shell look-alikes are.  Men that are remembered not for their looks, but for their personalities and talent.  Are those men handsome?  Sure, why not.  It’s irrelevant either way.

Ben Savage, who played "Corey Matthews" on Boy Meets World.

Speaking of David Schwimmer, I don’t believe anyone could have played the part of Ross better.  But to be part of one of the most popular romantic American TV couples ever, he was a very ordinary looking guy.  Fans of Friends always think of Ross and Rachel fondly, though never once have I ever heard anyone comment good or bad on David Schwimmer’s looks.  But regarding Jennifer Aniston, it’s not that way at all. Her looks were so relevant she actually started a hairstyle craze in 1995 called “The Rachel”.

When my wife and I reminisce on when we first started dating, she always says, “You always had interesting stuff to say so I knew we’d never run out of things to talk about.”  It’s possible that’s what won her over.  My quirkiness.  Some people would call it my ability to “think some crazy crap up”.  Others more reverently refer to it as “thinking deeply”.   My lifelong habit of daydreaming during math and science class definitely paid off.  I charmed her.

So if a guy is simply average-looking, how can he improve his situation?  The “Makeover Week” on the TV show The Biggest Loser would tell us he would need to slim down, get his hair cut shorter, shave off his beard, and wear nicer clothes.  But I know my wife always prefers me to wear jeans, t-shirt, and a ball cap, and she never notices or cares whether I have a beard or not.  There’s really no official way for a schlub or average Joe to gain “handsomeness” or “sexiness” since that’s up to the girl they’re trying to attract.

The more colorful and eye-catching cockatiel bird is on the right. The female is on the left.

And I think that’s why it’s a guy thing to not care as much about our appearance as females do.  Because unlike male birds (which are always more attractive and attention-grabbing than the females they attract), male humans know they can attract a woman who is out of their league looks-wise as long as they are funny enough, smart enough, rich enough, strong enough, sensitive enough, or whatever else it takes to charm their love interest.  From Doug Heffernan to Barney Rubble, charm certainly has its advantages.