“Time for a haircut,” says John, running his hand across the back of his head and through the graying wisps growing over his ears.

The haircuts that Nancye Tuttle has been giving her husband, John, every five or six weeks for the past few years have brought them together in an unexpected way. Photo courtesy of Nancye Tuttle

“Yes, it is – you’re getting pretty scraggly,” I reply, looking sideways at my husband from my comfy armchair nearby, as I type on my laptop and sip morning coffee.

For the past few years, that’s been our routine conversation every five or six weeks – ever since our neighbor Sheila brought over her electric barber clippers and showed me how to use them without being afraid.

She’d been cutting her husband’s hair and that of their four boys forever, she said. It was easy and had saved them bundles of money to boot.

Sounds good to us, we agreed, thinking of the cash we’d stash.

“You start at the neck and just run the clippers up to the top of his head in one easy sweep,” she said, moving the whirring contraption easily up his graying head and around his ears.


Within minutes, John was clean cut, his head closely shaved and looking like the late actor Telly Savalas, who made being bald sexy before it was the norm.

Pretty soon, I got the knack of giving John haircuts without worrying that I’d cut him or skip a spot. We got clippers, a cape and even a pair of barber scissors so I could cut any strays that my clippers had missed.

We liked our routine, one that usually happened on weekends and always in the dining room. John spread out a large towel under the chair, and I snapped on the cape and got to work, clipping and cutting and shaving his head.

“Looks good,” I’d say, after I finished.

“It does,” he agreed, as I picked up the towel and carried it outside to shake the gray hair into the breeze.

Lately, John bought new clippers, a nifty set with a built-in vacuum and receptacle that eliminates the need for the cape or the towel to catch the hair.


“Wow, you sure needed that haircut,” I told him after the last one, eyeing the container filled with gray hair.

“Yup, sure did,” he agreed, moving his hand over his clean-shaven head.

We’ve probably saved a few hundred bucks by now, maybe a little less. But that isn’t the point.

John’s haircuts and the sparse conversation that surrounds them are an important ritual we’ve both come to savor, a bright spot that adds contentment and connection to our long married life.

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