I‘m extremely meticulous about my bangs and never, ever miss a professional trim. It drives me absolutely crazy when they get long enough to enter my field of vision, so much so that I won’t be social (in normal times, that is) if they’re in need of a whack.
As a grown woman who cannot even curl her hair, let alone cut it, quarantine has proven to be a less than desirable scenario for bang maintenance (as well as for many more important reasons, of course). Without access to my stylist, I’ve been left with two choices: let the bangs grow wild, or wager on my boyfriend’s ability to follow virtual direction from my stylist, Julia Clayton, who works at Los Angeles-based Planet Salon, without gauging out an eyeball in the process.
I chose the latter, and my boyfriend was kind enough to oblige. He had no idea what he was getting himself into. Bang trims, as my stylist would later announce halfway through his attempt at executing one, are an advanced skill. But by the time she said this, it was too late to turn back.
When we FaceTimed Julia at the appointed time, she surveyed our tools and anxiety clouded her face. “You don’t have a comb?” she asked. “No,” I replied. “But we do have this tiny brush!”
“You really need a comb,” she said. “It helps keep the hair flat to the head while you cut.”
As I’m still waiting on my 3D printer to show up, our only option was to proceed, tiny brush in hand. Now my boyfriend looked nervous, too. Here’s how it went down.
His first task was to divide the bangs into sections, layer by layer. She tried to show him what she meant by this, but as she doesn’t have bangs, it was impossible for him to have any clue what his task was. Since I’d seen ten thousand bang trims in my day, I took over for this portion of the program. Basically, what you do is grab a top layer of hair, sweeping from one side of your forehead to the other, and then pin that layer of hair back so that you can work only on the one beneath it. We ended up doing this twice, so that the hair was cut in three different stages.
Next, she gave him pointers on how to angle his elbow and keep the scissors stable by placing a finger or two beneath the base of the scissors while cutting. It took him a bit to get up the nerve, but eventually, he took a tiny snip. Eye level with his armpit, I noticed he was sweating profusely, despite the fact that my apartment is like an icebox when it drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. “This is really nerve wracking,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to stab you in the eye.” For the record, this is not what you want to hear from someone trimming your bangs. “Yeah,” said Julia. “Bang trims were the scariest thing for me to learn.”
After, I kid you not, thirty minutes of back and forth with Julia (and a pretty hefty portion that I spent with one side much more even than the other), he’d finished the bottommost layer. For the sake of comparison, an entire bang trim at the salon takes about 10 minutes, max. My boyfriend’s sweat began to drip.
After we managed to remove some length from all three layers over what seemed like several hours, now Julia wanted Michael to “cut into” the bangs so as to thin the bottoms so that they wouldn’t fall so heavily on my forehead. I don’t think he did this right, but she told him he did. I hope he doesn’t read this.
Finally, we were done!
Just kidding. At this point, my boyfriend became obsessed with getting the bangs perfectly even, which (again, I hope he doesn’t read this) they were far from being. So he went rogue, trimming here, snipping there, as Julia tried and failed to stop him from making this amateur mistake. Soon, I was lopsided again. “I don’t understand,” my boyfriend said through gritted teeth. “I’m cutting them level.”
Both he and Julia were exasperated at this point, and they did a bit more fine tuning, but then suddenly, it was done. Michael and Julia had reached a consensus, and now I was to weigh in with the final sign off. So, I smiled and said, “You did great, babe!”
The bangs were totally not straight or even. There remained a major dip in the middle, made more evident when I dumped a bucket of red dye on my previously blonde hair the next night. Still, it was worth it, not only because I can now see, but also because—despite the fact that my boyfriend looked like he was going to have a coronary and my stylist might have PTSD—it was one of the most entertaining experiences of lockdown life so far. So, I 10/10 recommend letting whoever’s in your home have at you with a pair of shears—maybe quarantine me isn’t so meticulous after all.
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