Barbers are given quite a bit of trust.
It's scary enough to put your aesthetic into someone else's hands. Anybody with even a shred of vanity shutters when it's time to hand over the keys to their look.
But barbers have another heavy burden to carry: really sharp things.
Scissors, clippers, and razors all have one thing in common: they can cut through hair--and skin--with horrifying speed and efficiency.
So an experienced barber knows to be careful. They walk the line between creating a casual, relaxing environment while maintaining the composure required to do good work.
Sometimes, however, accidents happen.
stan849 asked, "Barbers of Reddit, what was your 'oh sh**' moment?"
A Watched Pot Messes Up a Haircut
"I was in school still at the time and was cutting this guy's hair, he brought his girlfriend along and she was watching like a HAWK over me."
"I'm halfway through the cut and almost done with the fade when the person next to me has their trolley too close to me so I go to move it but I didn't pay attention that my other hand had the clipper still running with no guard on."
"I made a nasty line through the fade that didn't look intentional at all and was sweating my a** off on how I was gonna fix this."
"The girlfriend of course points it out and the client is actually super chill about it and has me basically just run a super high 0.5 on the sides and back."
"3 years later and to this day I haven't had an incident that bad"
"Once had a dude pass out after a haircut."
"Based on what he told me, he had some sort of sensory issues, and the combination of heat, the neck strip, clipper buzzing and noise of the shop overwhelmed him."
"If you've ever dealt with a person fainting, you know what an 'oh sh**' moment it is; one minute dude is standing up and looking a little worried, next he is crumpling to the floor."
"I'm a little guy, but I was able to sort of 'catch' him and ease him down without anyone getting hurt. It was pretty scary, my first thought was that I somehow killed him."
Not in the Job Description
"Beauty school. This tweaker dude and his hippie girlfriend come in for $7 haircuts. Immediately, something seemed off about the girlfriend; she seemed a little not 'all there' and was cross-eyed and had dreads poking out of her hippie hat."
"The appointments were a bit staggered, so I finished the guy's 1-all-over buzz cut, and my classmate calls me over to 'help' with hers."
"When she took off the girl's hat, her hair was completely matted and filthy, and beneath the matted hair were stinking, suppurating sores COVERING her scalp. When we combed at the hair, her scalp would begin to give and split away wetly."
"We called over an instructor who tried to explain that we couldn't service someone who was literally oozing. She didn't seem to understand and they left without paying."
"I'll never forget that smell."
At Least it Didn't Combust
"Not me, but my mom who is a hairdresser."
"Did you know that some hair dye chemicals don't play well together? Turns out the lady had used some sort of home hair dye chemical that basically has tiny bits of metal in it."
"She didn't mention. My mom goes to dye her hair and puts the professional dye on it... and the hair more or less starts melting as the dye reacts."
"Her hair was totally ruined, there was no saving it. Only thing to do was to just get the new dye off as fast as possible. She was pretty understanding about the whole situation though."
"My coworker at a salon was cutting a girls hair and found lice - the girls mom had left her for the trim and she had to wait for her mom in the lobby."
"We spent the next hour or so frantically cleaning around all of the other clients and stylists to sanitize the whole place top to bottom."
"When the mom came back and asked her why she didn't have her hair cut, she replied 'they found out.'"
"WHO BRINGS THEIR LICE RIDDEN CHILD TO THE SALON?!"
Set the Tone
"The barber my dad took us kids to growing up kept a plastic ear in a big glass jar of water. Told all the little kids (jokingly) that it was the ear of a little boy who wouldn't be still when getting a hair cut and he accidentally cut this kid's ear off.
"Said he was keeping it in 'formaldehyde' to remind us all to be very still. It largely had the desired effect on the younger kids."
A Whole New Level of Customer Loyalty
"The typical not a barber here but i use to go to a local barber college to get my hair cut because it was cheap. One girl had never cut a white guy's hair and her teacher asked if i was ok with it."
"I said sure she has to learn some how and its just hair it can be shaved and should grow back. Told her how i wanted the hair cut, pretty simple a little short and off the ears."
"Jokingly said do not take my ears off."
Long story short i left with a bald head and a band-aid on the top of my left ear, after bleeding like a stuck pig due to blood thinners!! where she nicked me with the scissors. Even her teacher couldn't save the hair cut."
"I did my best to try and help the girl calm down as she was ugly crying!!"
"Went back a month later and asked if the girl was there, thankfully she was and i simply smiled and said round two...she did it perfect second time around."
"Brother of a barber who used to be a hair model? back when I used to have a good head of hair."
"His instructor told a story during one of the shows about a mobster falling asleep during a shave. While shaving him, he accidentally cut off a mole."
"He said he kept on putting towels on him and then snuck across the street and hid in a bar watching through the window until the mobster left."
"Since he was only renting the chair in the shop he grabbed all his stuff and found another place to work after he was sure the mobster was gone."
Layers, Like an Onion
"During barber school I was the most eager to learn to straight razor shave of all the customers, so the instructor gave me all the hardest shaves..."
"...including an 80 year old dude whose skin was so loose and unhealthy that each time I pulled the blade over his flesh, it brought up just as much dead skin as it did hair."
"I wasn't cutting him or anything, he just had that much dead skin just chillin' on his face every other week."
"My dad let me line myself up once"
"Decided to cut the whole thing off and go bald"
"The plus side to being black is that 99% of the time being bald looks fine"
"I guess I was part of the 1% that looks like a f***ing Whopper Malt Ball."
Getting Too Fancy With It
"When I was training, maybe a few months in so I had a bit of confidence, enough for me to not realise I still didn't know what I was doing, i was cutting this guys hair and I got to his fringe."
"He wanted it really short and I was standing in front of him cutting along his forehead whilst chatting away."
"I took my scissors away to comb his hair but like, flicked them(??) around my fingers and they swung round and hit the guy right in the f***ing iris."
"I froze. He froze. Eventually i asked 'did I just hit you in the eye by the way?' He said 'I think so.' Trying to act like it wasn't sore for some reason. It eventually blew up in the shop once his shock wore off and someone else got him out the door."
"Found out a month later his wife was a nurse and she used some kind of eye drop and his eye was only scratched. Thank god because I thought I blinded him. I gave him a free haircut next time. Just the one though."
"Hairdresser of 12 years. I once was combing a young girl's hair that had just got her cartilage pierced a few days prior."
"Sure enough I snag it with the comb and rip the barbell straight through her ear. I went physically weak at the knees and cried a bit. It bled a ton. But she was (and is) the kindest client I've ever had."
"She refused to not pay me, and never told any of her family, whom are my clients as well, what happened. Still cringe at this moment to this day."
Roaches Don't Discern
"I worked at a prestigious salon in an affluent neighborhood of Atlanta. While I was shampooing a clients hair, a roach fell from the open rafter ceiling right into the the shampoo bowl. I had to finish washing her hair without freaking out as to not cause a scene."
"I was not graceful about it by any means, but I managed to keep the client from finding out about it. When we were done, I tried to contain the demon roach by covering it with a towel and ran to the back to get the salon assistant/maintenance man to take care of the problem. Good times."
Before the Glue Dries
"A hairdresser I know related the story of doing a 'blue rinse set' woman hair. While she was pulling the hair back she saw this obscenely large pinky white area opening up before her eyes."
"The woman's recent facelift glue line had given away. The client was completely oblivious. Much consternation from the staff followed, though handled well enough to keep the customer."
"Not something I would ever want to face."
"I've been cutting a baby's hair and accidentally cut a little wound in its ear because it was moving too much."
"As soon as I realized I had a pretty weird staring contest with the baby and imagined in my head that it will start screaming any moment."
"But it didn't, we were just staring at each other for like a half minute that felt like eternity and after that I continued with the haircut."
Tougher Cleanup Than the Usual Sweeping...
"My mom is a mostly retired hairdresser, but there are a handful of customers she still keeps because they have been coming to her for nearly 50 years. These ladies are getting pretty old and often have health problems."
"One lady had her colostomy bag busy open in the middle of getting her hair styled, so literally 'oh sh**.'"
Under His Wing
"I was a hairstylist for 17 years. In the mid 90's, 2 brothers walk in. One about 17 or so, the other about 10. 17 yr old leaves. My friend gets the 10 yr old."
"Asks him what he wants. A Mohawk he says. Mohawk? Are you sure?? Yes, yes says the kid. And he gets a mohawk."
"17 yr old brother comes back and is visibly confused seeing his brother with a mohawk. WHY did you get a mohawk? He asks. Little brother says, i ASKED for a mohawk and got this!"
"The older brother says, NOOOO, you were supposed to ask for a BOWLCUT !! So the younger one forgot to say the right name, and got a completely different haircut. Ofc this was when bowlcuts were popular."
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