Mistaken Identity Leads to Wrong Haircut

Last week, someone stole my haircut, and left me theirs.

No, seriously. A case of mistaken identity led to me getting a buzz cut like I haven't seen since I was seven and my mom gave me a summer crewcut.

I went to my local men's hair care place. I won't name it, but will say they often show televised SPORTS while a stylist CLIPS your hair. They also store your name on the computer, along with the kind of haircut you usually get. Sort of like haircut records.

There were several other men waiting for their turn, so I signed in and sat down. Ten minutes later, a stylist — I'll call her Betty — walks out and calls "Erik?"

A guy next to me says, "Yes, that's me." He stands up and walks back with Betty.

Betty, I found out later, asked the guy, "Is your last name Deckers?"

"Yes," he said.

I should have been suspicious from the very beginning. It turned out this man wasn't named Erik at all. He was a fake.

His name was actually Eric, which is completely different. Note the disreputable 'C' in his name. I should have been tipped off, because he had shifty eyes that made him look like he was casing the joint. Men who spell Eric with a 'C' have a suspicious look about them. But I always assume the best of people, and I thought nothing of his sinister behavior.

After several minutes, the other Erik/Eric left, looking pleased with himself, like he had received a special gift that wasn't meant for him.

Betty came back out. "Erik?" I stood up.

As we walked back, she asked, "You get the four all over, right?"

I didn't know what this was. I assumed it was some haircut record code that signified my particular dashing style. Turns out it means using the 1/4 inch guard all over your head.

"I guess?" I half-asked, not sure what to say.

Betty pulled out the clippers and went to work.

When I tell this story, people have asked, "didn't the clippers tip you off to the problem?"

Sadly, no. My hair is thick and lustrous, and often requires an initial clipping just to lighten the bulk, so their scissors can cut more easily.

After a few minutes, Betty said, "I'm nearly done. Tell me what you think."

"Done?!" I thought. "What about the scissors?" I reached up and felt my hair.

"That's a lot shorter than I usually get," I said, trying to hide the worry in my voice.

"What do you usually get?" asked Betty.

"What I came in with, only shorter!"

"Aren't you Eric Demara?" (Not his real last name).

"No, I'm Erik Deckers."

Betty showed me his haircut record: "Eric Demara. 4 All Over."

"Oh God." The blood drained from my face.

Betty could not apologize enough. She explained what had happened, how she had asked the other guy if his last name was Deckers, and blah blah blah, and all I could think was "none of this is making my hair grow back."

But I said nothing. I was in shock.

Then Betty said, "This haircut is on me."

I thought, "No, it's on me, for the next six to eight weeks." I still said nothing.

She asked, "Do you want me to trim your sideburns?"

"No, thank you." I just wanted to get out of there.

"Do you want me to trim your eyebrows?"

"No, because I want to keep them," my brain shouted. But I just said "no, thank you."

When I got home, I emailed the owner, who I've known for a few years, and told him what happened. After a couple back and forth emails, in which he apologized several times too, I asked him not to do anything to Betty. It wasn't her fault.

She did everything she was supposed to, I said. She asked the fake Eric if his last name was Deckers, and he said it was. What should she have done, accuse him of lying? Tell me I was too handsome to get the "4 All Over" and to try something else?

No, in the end, the fault belongs to Eric Demara for not knowing his own last name. If he had just listened, I'd have my regular haircut, and I would be happy.

My biggest regret, other than having the haircut of a retired Army colonel, is that Eric Demara is probably looking in his bathroom mirror right now, thinking, "You know, I look pretty awesome. I'm glad I didn't get my usual stupid haircut."

The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), and No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing are both available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook. My latest book, The Owned Media Doctrine is now available on Amazon.com

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