I’m usually good at planning around big events. For example, I know not to schedule my once-every-five-year colonoscopy the week of the big neighborhood barbeque. I am careful not to sign up for blood tests if the fasting conflicts with the Thursday night meatloaf special at Cracker Barrel. And I’m smart enough to avoid being numbed-up for a filling on the same day I’m delivering a speech at Kiwanis.
But recently, as I made final preparations to attend my high school reunion in New York, I realized I had failed to properly coordinate my barbershop appointment with my trip back east to see my old friends. I looked at the calendar and my dilemma was obvious. I knew I needed to get a haircut about two weeks before the event. Any sooner, and I’d look disheveled in all the photos. Any later, and it would be clear to my buddies that I got the trim just for the party. More importantly, I never look good right after a haircut. The magic number of days after a visit to the barbershop for me is 10. At that point, my hair is not too short, not too long. Just right. Your number may vary.
I called Buddy, my barber. I figured he’d handled problems like this before. “As I look at my calendar, Dick, I think we can work this out so you’ll look good, but you’ll need to get in three haircuts before you leave town for your vacation. And you’ll need to have two appointments in the same week.”
“Hey, I’m a hairstylist, not a vacation planner. How about a little color for that gray?”
“If you touch up my hair right before I leave, everyone will notice. And if you don’t touch up my hair, it will look like I aged 50 years—which I did, of course. I just don’t want to make it that obvious.”
I hated to admit to my wife that I was so vain, but I wondered if she had ever thought about stuff like this, herself. She’s having a big get-together with her college friends sometime next year. “Mary Ellen, are you planning your hair salon visits so they time out right for your 40th reunion?”
“Of course. I started scheduling appointments way in advance to make sure I could see Jenna about six days before the dinner. Now she plans to get married the very week of my make-over. She returns from her honeymoon the day before I leave. Who goes to a reunion with a 24-hour-old haircut?”
Did any of my male friends think about stuff like this? I called Bob to see if he could relate to this situation.
“Why are you asking me about this, Dick?”
“Because, Bob, you have held many high-power executive positions, oftentimes addressing huge audiences—so you had to look your best on those days. Why wouldn’t I ask you?”
“Because I am completely bald, that’s why.”
I’ve decided not to worry about this anymore. Only a narcissistic person would think he had to get a haircut exactly 10 days before leaving for a trip. Not only that, but I’ll be busy that week getting botox injections.