The most important skill in a marriage is to know when to say nothing. Especially when the other person is making a hames of something. Denis watches me in silence, as I try to cut my own hair. Eventually though, he can’t help it. He clears his throat.

“Do you want me to give it a go?” he asks.

“YOU?” I think he’s joking.

“I cut the dog’s hair.”

He’s not joking.

“But that’s with a clippers, Denis. And I might have the colouring of an old Border Collie, but I’m not a dog.”

“Gimme them scissors.” He runs his thumb along them.

“They’re gone blunt, Ann. You’ve been using them for paper.”

That cut deep. I’m normally a demon for making sure good scissors are kept good. But we’ve all let our standards drop in this fecking pandemic.

A few minutes later, he calls me into the kitchen. He has the tall chair at the counter, a mirror balanced against the bread bin with tea, biscuits and the Lidl catalogue next to it.

“I’m sorry Ann,” he says. “I haven’t had a chance to refresh the selection of magazines. Now if you’d like to step over and Nathalie will wash you.”

The eejit. I have to laugh. He has me ducked into the sink like we all washed our hair before showers. The sink could do with a bleaching but I’ll let ‘Nathalie’ worry about that.

Next, he’s out with the tablet looking up YouTube.

“Now so,” he says. “How to cut a uniform layer hair cut.”

A woman is doing a demo on a mannequin. Denis is deep in concentration watching it. He’s talking to himself like he does when he’s fixing an engine.

“Right so, Denis, you heard the woman, find the guideline and pin the hair back into quadrants.”

He goes off and comes back with clothes pegs to pin my hair.

“These’ll do mighty for quadrants.”

I give up. Denis grabs a hold of a bit, combs it and makes the first cut. I see the hair fall to the ground. It’s a lot of hair.

“DENIS, you’ll scalp me!”

“I’m giving you a pixie cut like the wan in the video, Ann.”

“She has a mannequin Denis! I can’t be going around Kilsudgeon with pixie cuts. They’ll think I’m away with the fairies.”

“Well I’ve done one bit now, so I’ll have to do the rest like it or you’ll look lopsided.”

The hair piles up on the ground. What is he after doing to me? But when I look in the mirror at the end, I can’t believe it.

It’s not. Bad. At all.

I can show my face around The Town after all.

I’m barely home from the shop the following day when the squad car is in the yard after me.

Garda Lorraine Twomey gets out.

“Ann, we’ve had a complaint about your hair.”

I didn’t think they were that strict about pixie cuts here.

“The hairdressers are closed, Ann. Who cut your hair?”


“Denis?!” She is not convinced. She takes her hat off and scratches her own hair, which is in a bit of a state.

Denis is at the door.

“Come on in and see for yourself, Lorraine.”

Lorraine comes in and is looking around the floor for bits of my hair. Thanks to Denis’s sweeping, there’s still plenty left. And he shows her the YouTube.

“Are you going to have it analysed for DNA?” he asks.

“Don’t be getting smart now, Denis. And don’t be telling anyone else. We don’t want a queue up here. And Denis …”

“What, garda?”

“When this is over you might slot me in.”