This my personal hair experience story. This is as far as I can remember is how my fetish for barberettes and short hair started and progressed.
My earliest memories of haircuts are at my mums friends house, the only thing I can really remember is that this friends son had a Playstation and I hated being dragged away from it to get a haircut after my sister had her hair trimmed. After they moved away my dad started taking me to the local barbershop.
The barbershop was down an old fashioned street in my small town with the only thing identifying it was a small barbershop pool on the wall outside. If you happened to walk past the window you might notice plastic stick on sign on the inside of the glass if the window itself wasn’t a smudgy mess.
Inside was an assortment of smells that you wouldn’t tolerate anywhere else but for some odd reason make sense in any old barbershop. The hair tonic, talcum powder, hair gel, clipping oil and sterilizer all combining to create the unique scent that I at the time dreaded and hated. Three shabby red barbers chairs sat in front of whitewash counters with generously sized mirrors fixed to the similarly whitewashed walls. Only one of the chairs was ever used though, maybe there was once more workers or maybe the single barber changed it around now and then but all the times I was taken in there I was sat in the middle chair. The barber himself was a nice enough guy, slightly overweight with thinning brown hair, maybe in his early 50s. The most distinctive thing I remember about him was the smell. Even with all the powerful smells in his shop I still remember the stench of stale sweat and mints that he always seemed to eating.
My hair was always kept in the regular school boy cut. The back and sides were given a long buzz and the top trimmed down and had the thinning shears ran through them. The instruction my dad gave to the barber was never as detailed though.
“Just clean it up” was the instruction from my dad. Every time for around 5 or 6 years. And I sat there like the good little boy and was given a cut that always looked slightly different each time. Sometimes it was just a single #5 up the back and sides, sometimes it was blended from a #5 to a #3 by the time it got down to my nape. The hair doused in water and what seemed to me haphazardly trimmed. He never used a tissue or anything to stop the hair going down my neck, the cape was never enough. I was always left feeling itchy until got into the bath or shower that night.
One day though I came home from school, my hair touching my collar as I walked into the kitchen to see my dad sitting reading the local news paper. Knowing we would be going straight back out to get haircuts since he had said so earlier in the week. An advertisement was on the front of the paper with an article for a recently opened barbershop in the town centre.
“Want to try this place instead of the one we usually go to?” I was asked. Since I was of an age that if I was asked my opinion on anything I would always choose the option that would inflict a change just so I knew what that felt like. So off we went to the newly opened shop and I was happy as could be, I had no idea what awaited me at this new shop but I knew I would be good to have the change from what I had become begrudgingly used to.
As we entered I took in my new haircut surroundings. The shop was smaller but somehow looked cleaner, crisper and less cluttered. The chairs were sat closely in a row of three. Simple black salon chairs in front of long wooden shelves at waist level that served as counters. Wahl clippers along with several assorted guide combs sat alongside 3 or 4 sets of scissors as well as trimming clippers sitting in their recharging dock. The only visible barber was at the cashier giving change to the customer that just paid. As the door chimed he looked up and greeted both me and my dad. He invited my Dad to the chair nearest him and me to the one in the middle.
We both sat and my Dad was caped up and started on in an instant while I was left waiting for my barber to appear. I looked around and saw the mirrors actually had the name of the shop inlaid at the top. Since I wasn’t looking up I wasn’t aware that my barber had entered from the back. I felt a soft hand with long fingernails run their way up my neck and as I looked back down into the mirror I saw my barberette inspecting my mane. She was around 5ft7in with long light brown hair with blonde highlights that she let hang loose to around halfway down her back. Her skin was a light bronze which was set off by the tight white blouse she was wearing. From what I learned further down the line she was in her early thirties but she looked mid twenties and had the perfect girl-next-door face. This was definitely a bit of puppy love.
“Just a trim?” she asked casually, her voice a little deeper than you would anticipate but it complimented her.
All I could manage in reply was a simple nod. She took the black nylon cape from the arm of the chair and billowed it out. As it feel down around me I saw it was massive, almost covering my legs and feet completely. She snapped it closed and then reached past me to the other free chair arm lifted a black rubber cutting collar and placed it around my shoulders.
The cut that followed was similar to the one I’d received so many times before at my old barbershop in terms of technique and result but instead this time I actually enjoyed it. Clippers with a long guide comb up the back and sides felt like a dream now. After each pass she ran her hand over it. Wither she was checking the cut or just brushing away clippings I don’t know nor care, I loved her tender and gentle touch. After that the spray bottle came out. She sprayed my hair until it was soaked through and ran her comb over it so it was flat. As used her free hand as much as her comb to section and trim the top with scissors and each time she ran her hand through my hair was heaven.
Before I knew it the cut was over, my Dad paid for us both and we left. That was the first day I decided to take the initiative to get my own haircuts rather than wait to be told.
Over the next 18 months my haircuts became much more frequent. There were three barbers in total that worked in the shop with no discernible work pattern. A male barber who was the owner and two barberettes who worked for him. The other barberette that I had seen when I first went in was petite woman with cute face and blonde hair that was cut into a long bob with a fringe. I never liked getting the guy, he gave as good as a cut as his female colleagues but I never got that special feeling in my gut. During those 18 months was also when I learned I loved the feel of the clippers, although I always felt like I wanted more from them. That I was kind of cheating by only having them on my back and sides and with a long guard. I started considering getting a proper buzzcut. I had somehow managed to convince myself that even just a longer buzzcut wouldn’t be that big a change. Likely this was just my mind providing me with any excuse to have the clippers used more on me.
My family had always noticed when I got haircut, even when they were more frequent. One time I made a mistake in miscounting the weeks since my last cut and I could tell my barberette wasn’t taking a great deal off. In the following days none of my family or friends noticed I had a trim either, so it was at that point I decided to get a buzzcut the next opportunity I could. No reason in drawing it out any longer. After all, a long buzzcut wasn’t going to be a big change for me…
The next Friday I wondered down to the town centre after school, I could see from a distance exactly what was going on in the shop. Today it was the male owner and the petite blonde (who we will call Jen for convenience) and both had clients in the chair and there was a customer waiting. I noticed that the male barber was just finishing up his cut and Jen was around halfway through so if I walked in now I was sure to get Jen.
I calmly walked into the shop and both the barbers looked around and greeted me, knowing my face since I was a regular. I held open the door for the leaving customer and took the seat in the waiting area. I took my phone out and tried to start playing “Snake” but failed horribly as I was realised I was getting more nervous waiting for my haircut. I started to think about what I was going to say when asked what cut I wanted. I remembered Jen always asked me what cut I wanted even if she knew instead of just saying “The usual?” like the other barberette. I decided to go with just saying what cut I had decided on earlier a couple of days before, a #5 top and #3 back and sides and see how it went from there.
I looked up just in time to see Jen gesture to me take a seat in her chair as she took her current customer to the register. I sat down in the chair and waited. Since I had first been at this shop they had bought prober large black barbers chairs which were very comfy but made you feel like you were sitting on display as they were raised up slightly compared to the others.
Jen appeared behind me, cape in hand and billowed it out. The capes had also changed since I first went to the shop. Now they were cotton with a red and white stripped pattern. Taking her time she snapped it close and took a couple of seconds to check all her instruments were in the right place before placing the cutting collar on my shoulders.
Jen smoothed down the cape and walked past me, picking up the clippers from the rack on the wall and snapping on the #5 gaurd on. A loud *pop* and clippers hummed to life. Jen turned around and run her free hand back through my hair and rested it on my shoulder as she brought the clippers to my forehead. The vibrations felt amazing for a brief moment they were still before they were pushed back through my hairline. My eyes followed the clippers back in the mirror, I never noticed what was left behind for a brief second because I was too busy gazing in astonishment at all the hair that fell off the back of my head as Jen flicked the clippers away.
“Oh crap” I thought to myself “It is so much shorter, how the hell did I get this so wrong?” My expression must have stayed the same, stunned into staying still, that or Jen just hadn’t noticed anything yet. After three passes of what must have taken off a good 2/3rds of my hair I had realised that there was no point in brooding on my mistake and started to just to enjoy it. A little grin appeared across my face which Jen did notice.
“You ok?” she asked, with a little grin herself. I think she knew I was enjoying the cut and the change. Although I doubt she knew just how much I was enjoying.
I simply nodded in reply, relishing the feeling of the clippers over my head which I had never experienced before. It was quite so Jen took her time I think, doing double and triple passes over the same area to be sure. Maybe she knew I was enjoying it or it was just that my hair was so thick it required multiple passes. Soon enough she switched to a #3 guard and was working the clippers up the side of my head, I even noticed how short that was compared to what I normally got. There was a very noticeable pile of hair in my lap and around me now.
Jen finished off the cut, brushed the clippings off and gave my newly sheared head a little rub and a smile. I loved the feeling of her doing that and made a personal vow to myself not to get a cut that was any longer than this for a long time.
To this day I have been getting progressively shorter haircuts and, next summer, hopefully pluck up the courage to get a full headshave.