All About His Hair

The before photo.

I cut Martin’s hair again last night.

For the first time ever, he let me use the number one blade from the hair-cutting kit, the blade that cuts the hair the shortest. During his first week at basic training, they will shave his head completely along with all the other male recruits.

I’ve asked him if I can go ahead and shave him now, a few weeks ahead of time so he can still grow some back and all, to appease my curiosity as to what he would look like completely bald.

He declined on the shaving.

But agreed to the close crop.

One of our first photos together (with my exchange partner Manuel) while I was an exchange student.

When I met Martin in 1999, he was sporting the floppy bowl cut that was so popular during that decade.

He liked it long.

Even then, he explained he needed to wear it that way for as long as possible because he was pretty sure he’d lose it all in the front by his mid-20s because that’s what happened to his dad’s hair and he really takes after his dad.

Martin’s dad, sometime in the early 1980s

So Martin kept that hairstyle until late 2000, when he joined the Bundeswehr. Compared to the US military, the Bundeswehr has relaxed standards regarding hair length for its soldiers. (In fact, the Bundeswehr once got in trouble for it.)

Martin just had to keep his hair short and neat, essentially. In the beginning of his military career, he went to a local barber shop near his kaserne.But then, sometime in early 2001, I offered to cut his hair to the Air Force standards for men. (See page 17 on this link.

That first hair cut wasn’t very awesome. In fact, Martin called the next day and said that while standing in formation, the guy behind him asked where the hell he got that haircut, and if the barber had his eyes shut. Needless to say, I got better at it. And I’ve been cutting his hair ever since, though not always to the military standards. 

Of course, there have been variations to Martin’s style. Yet, for the most part, he’s kept it short with a little bit of length on the top and front. We can count on one hand the number of times he’s gone to a barber or salon, like when he wore blond tips or when I deployed or was gone for a good chunk of time.All these years, he’s preferred I cut his hair. 

Of course, the obvious reason for that would be because I’m his wife and I’m sure the view is nice as he sits on a low stool so I can reach his head. But really, it’s because it doesn’t cost him anything and he doesn’t have to explain the 20 cowlicks scattered over his scalp. I know without question he prefers blades three and four, and some tapering around his ears and neck.And I know how to make the hairline he inherited from his father look a little less obvious. At this point, I really could cut his hair with my eyes close, and it would look pretty good, if I do say so myself. I thought about all this last night as I cut Martin’s hair: this history of his hair, and how this extra-close crop was a first for the both of us.

Even though I cut his hair about a week ago, I was surprised how much still fell away on the blade. His hairline in the front may be fading away, but the rest of his hair is still so thick and dark. In fact, when I stepped away to admire my handiwork, I sighed with disappointment.Even with the smallest blade, even with the shortest of length, Martin still doesn’t look bald. He went and shaved his stubble to see if that would make a difference for me, but it didn’t.He still just looks like Martin.Martin … with extra short hair.I’m gonna just have to wait and hope I get my hands on a picture.*  


There is a Facebook group called AF WingMoms that go and take photos of the basic training flights as they go through basic training. I may see a bald Martin after all!

The after photo. And almost a smirk.

Martin in the summer of 2000.

Martin after a haircut in my apartment in Kaiserslautern in 2002.

November 2002. The infamous blond tips.

His standard style at a Nats game in 2012.