It all started with a man bun.
Well, to be fair, it started pre man bun.
Half-Kid Jack¹ had graduated college (yay!), gotten a job (yay!), moved to Seattle with First-Born Mac (yay!), came back to Maine and got married (also with – and to – Mac (whew)).
And I remember – rather distinctly (but also aided by a few hundred photographs from the day) – that Jack’s hair was relatively short, and bun-free, at that wedding.
But then – somewhere along the way – the hair crept past the jawline… then the collar… and all of a sudden…
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I am totally okay if you love the man bun.
I am totally okay that other people love the man bun.
I may have advised Jack to sleep with one eye open when staying over at our house.
I had many pairs of scissors… stashed in many places… and also… I’m very stealthy.
He just smiled through my threats (nervously).
But the hair continued to grow and, when Jack allowed it out of the man bun, I both loved and hated it.
It was gorgeous hair. Honestly. Gorgeous.
Totally unfair that it spent all its time in a bun, in my humble opinion. Also, very… very unfair that it didn’t live on my head (I’m just sayin’). We all began – when Jack let his hair down – to refer to it as his ‘Fabio’ look.
He took it pretty well.
And then, about a year ago, Jack started talking about donating his hair to one of the numerous organizations that create wigs for folks experiencing hair loss stemming from a variety of causes, including cancer, burns, and certain autoimmune conditions.
And all of a sudden… I saw the man bun in a totally different light.
I loved the man bun.
I also loved the man who grew the man bun even more, if that is possible (because – even through he is ‘only’ a half-kid – I already loved him a whole lot).
This all brings me to yesterday.
I woke up obscenely early – early enough for the moon to accompany me as I drove down the coast to Mac and Jack’s apartment. There, they climbed sluggishly into Gronk², we grabbed some coffees from Dunks³, and headed farther south into New Hampshire.
There, our dear friend Kim was waiting with scissors that were not the threat that they would have been, had they been in my hands – in the middle of the night – just a year ago.
Jack said he was a little nervous, but he looked pretty calm when he settled into Kim’s chair…
That’s Mac behind him, filming the day for her Vlog channel (which is very fun (and funny!) to watch her do, by the way. The outtakes she gets – not just yesterday, but all the time – must be spectacularly comical and I hope she saves them!)
And then there was a lot – like a heap, a legion, a load, a mass, a mountain – of cutting.
No seriously, like, a lot of cutting.
Like, this much:
And more once the styling was done!
It was so much fun!
And when Kim was done with her artistry, and the man bun was in a number of elastic-ed sections (as well as in little bits swept up from the floor), we headed toward the door of the salon to express our thanks-es and say our goodbyes.
And, right there, something even cooler happened.
Two women, seeing Jack carrying his former man bun, approached him.
They were all smiles and gratitude.
It turns out that one woman’s niece lives with Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes her hair to fall out at various times. It is a cycle that has her niece dependent on wigs made of donated hair, she explained. And then she thanked Jack, very much, for donating his.
She seemed honestly and absolutely thrilled to be able to do so.
After a quick pose for a picture that would end up on the salon’s instagram page (turns out the salon celebrates these donations too), we headed out and into the bright, crisp air of a late February day.
Off to lunch we went, less one man bun, but lighter and happier for each having experienced the process and knowing what it means for someone(s) else.
Jack, of course was literally lighter (perhaps a few pounds worth (we told him he had to weigh himself when he got home)). As we were waiting for our food to arrive, I picked up my phone and asked Mac and Jack to pose for a photo with his newly coiffed, and much shorter, hair.
Their mood says it all.
What a good day.
Thanks for readin’ (And thanks ‘Miss Kim’!)
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1. We call Jack – Mac’s husband – Half-Kid Jack. We have not promoted him to full kid, because we think he might stop trying so hard if we do. Dingles are nothing if not fans of aspiration.
2. Gronk is my truck (big and tough and yet a lot of fun).
3. ‘Dunks’ is a very Bawstun/Maine/New Hampsh-ah nickname for Dunkin’ Donuts. Recently, some cracker jack marketing experts rebranded Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’. This makes no sense to certain New Englanders (mostly the ones who say ‘New England-ahs’) because, if you wanted to shorten it, we already call it Dunks (really, they might have checked with us first. It was just flat out lazy not to).