The New York Times Helps You Remember How Much Your First Haircut Sucked

Few people can really tell you they remember the first time time a stranger snipped some locks off their head. I can't because my memory only goes as far back as my 8-year-old self, but that's a whole other story for my therapist. Oddly enough, there are barbers like Al Criscillo who took it upon himself to chronicle decades of these first moments of pure terror, joy and squeamishness all rolled into one. I can certainly attest to two of those feelings. Although I may not remember my first, I'll tell you about a different kind of cut I had the pleasure of receiving as a kid. Anybody who's Chinese and lives in New York City will know all about the insanely cheap barber shops in Chinatown because our parents used to bring us here, voluntarily or not.

My parents once took me to a little shop located in a basement, which is pretty much the play-by-play of most childhood nightmares. Being that I was still 9 or 10 years old, I used to fidget a lot, which I don't need to tell you is the dumbest thing you can do when someone is taking a pair of scissors to your dome piece. What happened next? The barber cut the edge of my right ear, of course. That's right, my ass got cut by a barber. It was painful. It was terrifying. It was a harsh lesson learned. And I've been pulling a starfish while in the chair ever since. I'm pretty sure Mr. Criscillo never did anything like this to his customers. At the very least, he's burned the evidence.