Shear terror – true confessions of an Army wife


Shear terror
Shear terror – I only use safety trimmers these days.

Shear terror – an ironic play on words. I submitted this piece to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop pre-conference writing contest. Alas, it was not, a-hem, cut out to be a winner. I did however, want to share it, as many other contestants have shared their “losing” submissions. Sure, I was a little disappointed to have been trimmed. Maybe I missed winning by a hair! Who knows? But, after last week’s very somber post, I thought I’d lighten the mood and post one of the funniest stories I have about being a military wife. 

ZZZvumm. The sound still haunts me.

I was a young, newly-wed Army wife. We had just recently moved to our new duty assignment. Money was tight, and we looked for ways to save our pennies.

My husband found one way to, a-hem, trim the budget by eliminating some of his trips to the post barbershop. Being in uniform meant his hair had to be in regulation.

If we – meaning, me – could trim up his hair between regular cuts, we’d save money. For the cost of two haircuts, he made an investment in a set of hair clippers.

Noticing my apprehension, he reassured me that anyone could do this. “Just follow the barber’s lines, and trim up a bit around the ears and the neck line.”

“Hmmm,” I muttered. “It does seem simple enough.”

I looked over the instruction booklet and got comfortable with the clippers as he settled into a chair.

I did get a little nervous trimming around his ears, but was satisfied I didn’t shave them off. Finishing his neckline, I unplugged the clippers.

“Wait,” he said. “Can you even out this spot here?” pointing to the top quadrant of his head.

“Sure!” I mean, what could go wrong? With newfound confidence, I fired those clippers back up and started to even his hair.


“Thanks,” he said, and looked at his cut in the mirror.

I wiped off the clippers and put them away. Sweeping up the floor, I deliberated whether or not I should tell him that I had trimmed a bald spot into the side of his head. And that it was the size of a quarter.

But, remembering that he wore a cap with his uniform, I just kept my mouth shut. His hair grows fast, I justified. He’d never know.

As calmly as he could, he asked me what the hell I did to his hair. Click To Tweet

The next morning, I was surprised to get a call from my husband. He never called during the duty day.

“Good morning!” I exclaimed.

As calmly as he could, he asked me what the hell I did to his hair.

“What? How did you find out?”

“Everyone laughed at me at formation, that’s how!”

“I thought you wore a hat!” I whimpered.

“Not inside the building. We remove our hats, remember?”

Honestly, I didn’t remember. I was new to this whole military life. Bursting into tears, I apologized profusely. If I had any idea he wouldn’t be in a hat all day, I would have told him what I had done. Nothing could fix that – though rubbing some of his boot polish in the bald spot did cross my mind.

We laugh now, but it is nothing but shear terror for me when I see clippers.

And undoubtedly, he feels the same.

© Lynne Cobb – 2018

Do you have any hair-razing stories to share? If so, leave a comment!

If you like this blog post, feel free to show some love to this writer and share it using the social buttons. Sign-up for emails with posts delivered directly to your inbox!


6 Replies to “Shear terror – true confessions of an Army wife”

  1. Great story, Lynne. I can really visualize that happening. I’m sure you two laugh at it now, but at the time it was probably traumatic. I remember those haircuts. They sure were fast! Have you offered to cut his hair lately? Thanks for posting.

  2. Aw, Lynne, this made me grin. My past history with hair cutting has put the kibosh on my taking up the shears. My mother thought I was asleep and was astonished to hear singing coming from my bedroom. She rushed in to find me singing “Cinderella and her two step-scissors!” Unfortunately she was too late. I’d already chopped off 6 inches from one side …

Leave a Reply to Kelly L McKenzie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge