For years Faith and I visited barber shops throughout the area, her full well knowing my desire my love of short hair. Over the years, she became accustomed to the short cuts and only a few times, ever made a stink or complained about her look. Though she tolerated the shorter styles, I know she would prefer a longer cut. A few years back, Faith and I ventured out one Saturday morning and ended up at the Bus Stop, an old fashioned barber shop in the center of town. The barber, Gary, had owned the shop for over 40 years and was getting up in age, yet continued to cut hair. Most of his clients were older gentlemen, who enjoyed the life long friendships at the shop. However, Gary’s skills had declined a bit over the years, and most of his customers left with an uneven, scalped look. It was around Christmas when Faith and I walked visited the shop and true to form, Faith took her turn in the chair that morning…
Her short pixie cut has grown slightly and after a few passes from Gary’s loud and clunky Oster’s, Faith was reduced to a bald fade, semi high-n-tight style, and although super short, was a bit uneven and choppy. Gary, raced the big clippers up her nape and around her ears, leaving nothing! One thing that stood out was that after the “butchering,” for whatever reason, we both left the shop with hair clippings all over our collars and all over the neckline. Gary just removed the capes- no air, talc or brush whatsoever. Hey, he was way up there in years, I suppose his eyesight and attention to details were slipping.
A few years later ,one Saturday morning Faith was dressed in a short professional suit, heels, as she was meeting a client later for a few minutes at a local coffee shop. Although the attire was mandatory from her company for client meetings, Faith had gained a few extra pounds over the last few months and mentioned how her suits and work attire were getting tight, and made her feel really uncomfortable. We planned on riding together, and after I dropped her off at the coffee shop, I was going to run a few errands, and pick her up an hour or so later. As we drove to her appointment, her client rang her cell and told her she had been delayed at the airport, and would need to move their meeting time back to Monday. “That sux, but at least now I don’t have to ride in this hot ass truck for another hour or so” she said. I had planned on getting a quick haircut while you were in your meeting, so since we’re out, we both could use a trim, we have some time, lets ride over across town and see if we can get in.” I said. With her general look of disgust, which was always her posture when the hair issue came up, Faith said “just get me out of this hot truck.” As I turned the corner in town, we approached Main street, and as we drove through, we ended up at the corner of Main and 2nd, the intersection where the Bus Stop Barber Shop was located. “So much for the 30 minute drive, we’ll just stop here at the Bus Stop, at least you’ll be out of the truck. “Gary had one customer just leaving the chair, and just as I remembered, he was scalped. Besides being half blind, Gary was a bit hard of hearing as well, which prompted Faith to say she didn’t want him cutting her hair. “Look, we’re here now, and all I’ve heard all morning is you complaining about the heat outside and how the air conditioner in the truck not working made it worse, at least your head will be somewhat cooler.” Sometimes your whole hair fetish shit goes to far” Faith said as she sat rather uncomfortably in the the waiting area.
As the customer paid and walked out, Gary said the words I loved to hear, especially if it was directed at my wife! “Next”
I told Faith to go ahead, and she reluctantly walked toward the chair. Inside the shop, the temperature was not much cooler the 95 degree heat outside, and again Faith looked uncomfortable to say the least. She slowly sat in the chair and Gary pulled the cape from behind and loosely fastened it. Then, the tissue was applied and it almost seemed to stick to her neck, again from the heat and humidity both inside and outside of the shop.
As she peered over at me, the Barber pumped up the chair and reached for his huge clippers. “What are we doing today” Gary asked as Faith looked at me for direction.”Real tight up top, triple 000 on the back and sides” I said. This was a game I played with her from time to time, where I answered for her when the barber asked for instructions. “Chin down lady” as he pressed down on her crown and ran the clippers up her nape and over the ear. No conversation, no words, just the sound of the loud clippers and the faint sound of the black and white TV in the corner. This was indeed an old shop! After 10 minutes or so, Faith was reduced to a skint – clippered, business man’s cut. Then, he doused the top with water, and proceeded to use the old style Aqua-net hairspray to coat the top of her hair. And with a quick shot from a dryer, her hair on top was stiff and sticking straight up. Firing up the clippers once more, Gary began sculpting a squared off, ultra short flattop, which was Gary’s signature cut. The top of her head was no longer than 1/4 inch, with the ole “landing strip” looking like a newly paved street! After another shot of hair spray, Faith was spun around and given the mirror for a look. “Clean neckline, white walls, and flat on the top” Gary said, as he pressed her head down to give her a perfect angled look at the “strip.” “Next,” as I walked over passing Faith as she took her seat back right across from me. “Just a light trim for me Gary, I don’t want it to look like I just had a haircut,”I said, as he pumped up the chair. “Sure” Gary said. After a few minutes, I paid, and we both walked out of the shop.
As we drove away, I told her that her new cut was stunning, but still a bit choppy, which was fully expected at the Bus Stop.
Faith was wearing a white, long sleeve button down shirt, and due to Gary’s reduced skill set, there were small hair clippings all over her neck and on the back of her shirt. The rest of the day went like this: Faith rescheduled her meeting and that evening, I knew she needed a drink to calm her nerves. We ended up at a rooftop eatery and sat at the bar for a few drinks. A crowd of twenty – something ladies were gathered around doing shots, and after we were finishing our second round of drinks, one of the girls made a comment to a friend about Faith’s new cut. “Holy shit -that women is scalped, I’ll bet her husband hates that shit” as they laughed under their breath. As I walked back from the restroom, I noticed just how much hair was on her collar, and still on her neckline. “Just back from the barbershop I guess” one of the girls said to Faith, “Let me brush off the hair on your shirt, I know that must itch” she said as she brushed some of the fine hair clippings from Faith’s shirt.
After a short time, I looked behind me from the bar rooftop and noticed a barber shop right below the building. Carol’s Barber Shop was on the window, with the barber pole still turning on the outside wall. “Maybe you should see if Carol can clean you up a bit, I think she’s still open” I said fully expecting a tongue lashing. “Who’s Carol” Faith said, as I pointed down to the shop below. “You’re never fucking satisfied, are you, what do you want me to tell her, buzz my damn head?” “No, just head down and I’ll shoot you a text – remember, following the game I often played with her… “You’re Fucking ridiculous” she said, as she walked over toward the exit. The short walk time allowed me to search google for the perfect cut, one that would compliment what she already had. Careful when you search google and use words like military, clippercut, marine, high-n-tight etc, you’ll really piss off your spouse. I shot over a quick text, with a photo, and a brief description, as my eyes followed Faith as she walked toward the shop door. Looking down at her phone, the stare spoke volumes..
She emerged from the shop after a short time and I could see her walking back across headed back up to the bar. I was ready with a fresh cocktail, as she walked up and took a seat beside me. “She really listened well” I said, “Damn, that’s short!” “What exactly did you tell her?” I said as she slid her phone my way in disgust. “I just read your fucking text, asshole.” Triple 000 on the neck and sides, with the top a OA guard.
Faith and I sat at the bar for a few more hours, all the while the crowd of girls, all with long locks, starred occasionally at Faith as she continually tried to brush the fresh cut clippings from her neck. We left the bar and as we got into the car, I reached for a golf ball in the back seat and asked Faith to hold still. Placing the golf ball on her head, I snapped a few photos and told her that I could chip the ball off her head, and that the top looked like the grass on the driving range! We left in the truck, and the ride home was much cooler, especially for Faith. With the windows down, I told her that at least her hair wouldn’t be blowing away when we hit the highway!