For years I have been thinking about cutting my hair short but everyone kept telling me how great I looked with long hair.
But, no one could tell why when I asked them.
They would shrug their shoulders and reply, “You just do!”
I remember the days, as a child, I would go with my dad when he went to the barbershop for a hair cut. I would watch the barbers skillfully use scissors and comb to cut hair, how they guided the clippers up the heads of their customers.
The gentle movements of the razor, as they shaved a customer.
I would even climb into one of the empty barber chairs and turn from side to side watching, with my little elbows on the armrest.
I remember the day Mr. Tom, dad’s barber, tossed the big white cape across me when he came in and saw me sitting in his chair.
He pulled it around my neck and pinned it in place, then asked, “What’ll it be today?”
We laughed as he undid the cape and removed it.
But, I wanted to tell him, “No, I want a haircut.”
Then, dad would be picking me up and carrying me to a waiting chair.
“Your mom would kill me,” he would say.
I think he knew I wanted my hair short but he never came out and asked.
Neither did mom.
I remember the day my brother, Bud, went for his first ever-short hair cut.
It was almost summer, but very warm day. He was going to play baseball that summer and wanted his hair cut short. Mom really didn’t want him to cut his hair short.
But, he was twelve and dad was now taking control.
“Time for dad to take over,” they would tell mom. She was glad I came around.
I was eight that year.
Bud wanted something real short. Something he wouldn’t have to worry about for at least a month.
Something that would take a month or more to grow back even to an inch.
When we arrived at the barbershop it was full, which was usual for a Saturday morning.
Dad was not getting a haircut, just Bud.
He wanted to make sure Mr. Tom understood Bud was getting his haircut like he wanted and not like mom wanted.
When his turn came, he almost jumped into the chair. Mr. Tom had to stop him because he had grown some.
“Have a seat,” he told Bud.
He did not put the little booster seat in the chair like he usually did.
After Bud settled down Mr. Tom patted him on the top of his head.
“Don’t need this any more,” he told Bud, holding the booster seat up.
With the cape in place Mr. Tom looked at dad.
“How does Sandie want his hair cut?”
They both started laughing.
“Ask Bud,” dad replied.
“Short… really short,” he said.
“Your mom said it was all right to cut your hair short?” he asked
“Sandie has nothing to say any more,” dad replied. “It’s up to him.”
“Short it will be,” Mr. Tom answered. “There is only one way I know how to go real short!”
With that he reached under the shelf and took hold of the big black clippers. He opened a drawer and searched for something. Finding it he placed it on the clippers.
“This will do the job fast,” Mr. Tom told Bud.
Before Bud could say anything Mr. Tom had the clippers moving over his head sending a pile of hair to the floor behind the chair.
Bud’s face lit up with a smile, as Mr. Tom started another pass over his head.
I looked at dad but he was just reading a magazine.
Within a few minutes all of Bud’s hair was gone to nothing more than half an inch all over his head. Mr. Tom asked dad if it was short enough.
“Ask the boy,” he replied.
Bud looked at his self in the mirror, on the wall behind us.
“The sides and back could be shorter,” he asked.
Mr. Tom patted him on the shoulder, “I know what you want.”
Off came whatever it was he put on the clippers and into his pocket.
Mr. Tom placed his left hand on top of Bud’s head and tilted it, then began pushing the clippers up the side of his head.
When he pulled it away it looked like Bud was bald… no hair.
Mr. Tom worked his way around his head until he got to the other side.
Dad looked up from the magazine, “What about the top?
“It’s a little too long.”
Bud was rubbing his hands over the sides of his head, “I like how this feel and it looks cool.”
“You like it?” Mr. Tom asked as he held the clippers, still humming, in front of Bud’s face.
“Yes,” Bud replied.
Mr. Tom looked at dad, “What do you think?”
Dad looked at him and began chuckling, “It’s up to Bud.”
Mr. Tom looked at Bud, who had a smile from ear to ear.
Then, he slowly moved the clippers to his head.
Bud sat there, his eyes closely watching Mr. Tom move the clippers closer to his head until they touched his hairline. He closed his eyes as Mr. Tom moved the clippers into what hair was left on his head. Slowly he moved them back over his head, leaving it like the sides.
When he was making his third pass dad looked up from his magazine, “Hell, Bud… If you’re going to go that short you might as well go all the way.
“Then, you really won’t need a haircut for a month.”
Bud’s eyes got big as Mr. Tom was making another pass over his head with the clippers.
“What do you mean?”, he asked with a voice with a frog in it.
“Don’t worry,” Mr. Tom said as he finished the last pass and being rubbing his head. “All you have to do is keep your head still and let me guide it.”
I could see the look on Bud’s face change, from yes to worry.
Mr. Tom put the clippers back under the shelf and moved to his right.
There was a winding sound, then it stopped.
When he turned around his left hand was covered with something white and Bud saw it.
“Dad,” Bub called out loudly.
Dad looked up from the magazine.
“Do you mean…?” he asked.
Dad smiled. “If you want to. Not another haircut for a month.”
Bud smiled and nodded his head up and down, as if he was saying “yes”.
Mr. Tom began spreading the white stuff all over his head.
It was then I realized the white stuff was shaving cream. He always spread it at the bottom of the hair.
Then, he would take a razor, a straight razor, and shave a little line along the bottom of the hair. I even saw him do this to the neck of a few women, when he had used the little clippers on their neck.
But, I have never seen him put the shaving cream all over someone’s head.
Was mom going to be mad when she sees Bud. Specially, when she finds out dad just sat there and watched?
Before I could say something to dad, I saw Mr. Tom moving the straight razor over the leather strap, on the right arm of the chair.
He always did this before he shaved that little line. I watched him do this many times.
Each time I got a strange feeling in my body.
My eyes watched, moving up and down with his hand.
Then, I would watch him shave the little line.
He let go of the leather strap and raised the straight razor to Bud’s head.
Without saying a word he began shaving from the center of his forehead. Taking little short strokes then wiping the blade in his left hand. After a few strokes there was nothing but white skin.
He was shaving Bud’s head.
My heart stopped. My breathing got deep.
My eyes moved with every move Mr. Tom made with his right hand. My throat became dry.
Soon Mr. Tom was wiping Bud’s head, rubbing something over it.
Then, dusting sweet powder over his head. as he pulled the cape from across the chair.
Bud stood up rubbing his head.
Dad looked at him, “Won’t need a haircut for more than a month now.”
Bud put his arms around dad’s waist, “Thanks.”
Of course, mom hit the ceiling when we got home. She began crying and yelling at dad for letting it happen.
Bud, he just looked like a little puppy dog, who did something he should not have done.
But, after a few days mom just looked at him and turned her head, shaking it back and forth.
When Bud went back a little more than a month later, he came home with a very short crew cut. Mom liked it better than his shaved head.
He kept the crew cut until he was sixteen, that’s when he met Mary and they started going out.
She began to take up where mom had let go.
They got married when they finished college.
I have two nephews and three nieces. Right now the boys have Crew cuts, as does Bud.
Mary and the girl’s hair is cut in a bob, just below the ears.
But, once Mary got a short bowl cut an inch above her ears, I think it was shaved below the weight line but not sure. I only saw a photo of her with it.
The girls have long hair now, their choice.
It has been twenty years since that Spring day and I still remember it as if it just happened.
I still remember how I felt as I watched Mr. Tom shave Bud’s head. The dry throat, my eyes following every move he made with the razor.
The strange feeling in my stomach and mind.
It’s funny how things like that remain in your mind for years.
Since then, I have had my hair to various lengths, mostly around, or past, my shoulders, but nothing short or really short.
A number of times I tried to get the words “cut it short” out when I was asked by the hairstylist how I wanted my hair done.
But, I ended up only asking for a trim.
After each time I would cry to myself for not saying those three simple words, all ways saying, “Next time I’ll do it.”
I sometimes sat down and counted the amount of money I spent on having my hair trimmed and styled. I could have saved that and gotten my hair cut for years to come.
But, still I couldn’t get those three simple words out.
Then, one day I was searching the web, at work, for some information.
It is strange how when you are searching for a simple word you get all kind of links, even the ones you are not looking for.
But there was this link to a web site, a hair salon called “Extremes”.
That’s all, just “EXTREMES”, nothing else… not even salon, shop, nothing else.
If it wasn’t for the information about the link I don’t think I would have known what it was about.
But, in a few lines was mentioned haircuts, hair styles… things related to a beauty salon or shop.
I looked around and no one was in the office but me, so I clicked on the link.
When the front page opened up there was the inside of a beauty salon, no one in it though.
Along the side were different pages on the web site, including one named the “Short hair gallery.”
Again, I looked around the office and I was still the only one there. Click…
I opened the section and up came eight rolls of photos of women with various hair lengths.
The instructions said to click the picture for photos of the cut. I looked them over and saw one I liked…
In a flash, photos of a woman with hair to her shoulders began appearing.
As more of the photos showed you saw the stylist putting the cape on, combing her hair out, then cutting it.
When I got the last two lines of photos the finished cut was shown.
It was a short bob right at the bottom of her ears.
Right behind her ears the weight line angled up a little and the neck was clipped to the skin.
When I saw these photos, of the stylist using the little clippers on her neck, my memories went back to the few time I saw Mr. Tom use the little clippers on a few women.
My mind recalled what he did next… the application of shaving cream then the shaving with the straight razor.
I remember one woman saying, “this was the best part of her haircut”.
I returned to the gallery page and looked over the other photos.
Then, I saw it…
A photo of a woman with long hair like mine, a few inches past the shoulders.
I thought this was strange because this section was of women who ended up with a short haircut. I looked at her photo for a few minutes then clicked it.
As it opened up I did not scroll down looking at the photos as they appeared. I waited until the whole page opened then I began a slow scroll down looking at each photo.
Like the first one it showed the stylist putting the cape around her neck, combing her hair out, sectioning her hair.
Then, when I got to around the ninth roll of photos I saw open scissors appear, then closing cutting a section of hair an inch from her head.
The section of hair must have been about two feet long.
After it was cut it fell to the floor, the next three rolls of photos showed the same thing.
The rolls after that showed the stylist pushing clippers up the sides and back of her head.
My mind went back, again, to Mr. Tom’s giving crew cuts to boys each summer. I remembered the number of times I sat in one of the empty chairs.
I remember Mr. Tom putting the cape around my neck and asking, “How do you want your hair cut, today?”
Only to have dad pick me up out the chair after Mr. Tom removed the cape. I remember how many times I wanted to tell dad, mom, Mr. Tom, I wanted my hair cut short like my brother.
When I came to the last roll of photos, the cape was removed. I saw a woman with a very short haircut. One where the sides and back were clipped so short it looked like she had been shaved.
The top was cut to half an inch and was flat, it got shorter to the back.
She did not look butch, but lovely. Her dark brown eyes showed, her smile said she liked how her hair was cut.
I clicked the photo to see a larger image and I sat staring at it for ten minutes.
Then, my finger moved the mouse arrow to “File”.
“Click”, the sections dropped open.
I moved down to “Print”.
Click, the printer started printing a color photo of her haircut.
When the printer stopped I quickly grabbed the photo and put it in my personal folder, with other papers. I wrote down the URL and closed the link.
And, went back to work.
When I got home I spread the photo out and put it under the glass that covered my dresser, so I could see it every time I stood there doing something.
Then, March came… without its strong winds.
One day, when I was off, I found myself looking in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory for a hair salon I could take the photo to and get my hair cut like it. I found three I liked because of their names.
But, each said no one there could really do a cut like that, when I went there.
Then, one day at work I asked one of the men where he got his hair cut.
“A barbershop. Why?” he asked.
I told him a man had moved into the apartment next to me and asked if I knew of a barbershop close by, but I didn’t.
“Mr. Tom’s, on Marrol Avenue,” he said. “But, don’t go asking for Mr. Tom, he passed away ten years ago.
“His daughter, Tami, took the shop over. She is real good, tell your friend.”
I thanked him for the information and went back to my desk.
“Mr. Tom’s Barber Shop,” I thought to myself, “and, on Marrol Avenue.
“I wonder if that’s the same Mr. Tom I dearly remember.”
I didn’t remember him having any children, other than those who came to get their hair cut, nor did I remember dad ever mentioning he had any.
So, when I got off from work I drove to Marrol Avenue and drove slowly, looking for Mr. Tom’s Barber Shop. After ten minutes of driving, just where I remembered, there it was: Mr. Tom’s Barber Shop, 1847 Marrol Avenue.
It was the same shop just as I last saw it, only with a fresh coat of paint.
The same big glass window people would look in as they passed by, the same turning “candy stripe” barber pole.
But then, in small lettering below the name was the note,
“Now owned by Tami Lower, trained by my dad, Tom, the best barber in this town.
“Now, I’m the best barberette in town.
“I cut men, women, and children’s hair, just like dad did.”
I started to stop and walk past but I noticed the “CLOSED” sign hanging in the door.
On it’s window were the days and times the shop was open, “Tuesday thru Thursday – 8am to 5pm… Friday and Saturday – 8am to 6pm… No
Appointments – Just come in and wait your turn.”
Very cocky, I thought.
It took me three weeks to finally make the decision, but I did it.
I asked around…
Telling my friends, co-workers, and family who still lived around here I was thinking about cutting my hair short, but not telling them how short.
As usual more said I should just leave my hair alone, just trimming it when the ends got reggae.
But, a few really thought I should cut my hair, but not too short.
Maybe a nice bob a little above the shoulders.
Each morning and night I would look at the photo I printed out that day. I looked at myself in the mirror, picturing myself in the barber chair and my hair being cut slowly into that cut.
Hair falling all over, all round on the floor.
I saw the hairline being lathered, then a straight razor shaving a small line along the hairline. I could feel the little hairs as I moved my fingers over the sides and back, as shivers would run up and down my body causing me to shake.
Each time I sat in the bathtub shaving my underarms, my legs and pubic area, I would think of the sharp shinny straight razor shaving that thin little line.
Then, came today, Saturday.
I stood there looking at the photo, my mind playing back the rolls of images of the haircut.
I wanted my hair cut short, real short.
I wanted my hair cut short like that.
I knew if I waited until Tuesday I would first face all my co-workers, most of whom wanted me to leave my hair alone as it was, and I would rush home and look at the photo and cry, “Why didn’t you do it last Saturday!”
I stood up and looked myself over.
“If you’re going to do it, then you’d better look like a woman,” I told myself. “No jeans and a blouse. You’d better dress up like you do to go to work.”
I took my dark brown skirt out the closet, then the light brown blouse that went with it, laid them on the bed.
I took a shower, checking my underarms, legs, and pubic area, to make sure they were nice and shaved, that not a hair was felt nor showing.
I washed my hair.
“For the last time,” I told myself over and over while showering.
After putting on my make-up I got dressed, then put on my four-inch stiletto high heels.
I picked up my dark brown purse and put everything in it.
If I was going to cut my hair this short I’d better let the world see me, so I would be doing some shopping afterward. I checked to make sure I had my credit cards.
Then, I was off.
It took me half an hour to get to Marrol Avenue and Mr. Tom’s Barber Shop. I found a parking spot a little past the shop and parked.
I got out the car, took a deep breath.
“No stopping until my hair is cut like this,” I said out loud as I held up the photo and looked at it.
I would not take no, or any thing close to it, for an answer.
Either I walked out Mr. Tom’s Barber Shop with my haircut like it, or the name of a barber who would.
With my mind made up I walked towards the shop.
I glanced into the large window and saw one customer, a boy around fifteen, in the chair and two other customers waiting.
I walked to the door and pushed it open.
I looked at the customers waiting.
One was a woman around my age, and a young girl, around eleven.
They looked up at me. I turned to the barber’s chair and the barberette looked at me.
“Hi,” she said.
“Have a seat, only two ahead of you,” she continued as she pointed towards the lady and the girl.
“Great. I really need a haircut,” I told her as I took a seat next to the girl. She smiled at me as I sat.
“I see by the sign you are the daughter of the former owner, Mr. Tom,” I asked her.
“Sure am,” she replied as she continued cutting the boy’s hair. “I’m the youngest of his two daughters.
“My sister moved to Miami when she got married. I came to work with dad when I finished barber school, then took ownership of the shop when he passed away.
“You know my dad?”
“Yes, years ago,” I told her. “Used to come here with my dad, Robert Banks.”
“Banks… Banks,” she said out loud. “I remember a Bud Banks… he’s around my sister’s age. You related to him?”
“That’s my big brother, alright,” I replied. “I’m Sarah.”
“Yes, I remember you.
“But, the last time I saw you was when you were around ten,” she said as she took hold of the clippers from under the shelf. “Now I remember your dad… Sam, wasn’t it?”
I nodded yes, as my eyes grabbed hold of the clippers in her right hand.
“You said short?” she asked the woman sitting next to the girl.
“Yes,” she replied. “He wants to play baseball this summer and Robert said to get his hair cut short.”
With that said, Tami clicked them to life.
With the same skill her dad had she was moving the clippers up the side of his head sending piles of hair to the floor.
But, the clippers were clipping his hair real close, almost shaving him to the skin.
When she was finished the sides and back, she put an attachment on the clippers and ran it over his head, cutting the top a little longer. With the clippers turned off she turned to the lather machine and piled some shaving cream in her left hand.
My heart jumped into my throat, my eyes followed her fingers as they spread the lather along the hairline around his head.
She wiped her hands and picked up the straight razor off the shelf.
She stropped it over the leather strap, my eyes moving with every upward and downward movement.
Raising her hand, with the straight razor in it, she slowly took short quick strokes shaving that little thin line along the edge of the hairline. Within a
few minutes she was removing the cape and lowering the chair.
When it came to a stop the boy stepped out the chair and walked to the lady sitting next to me.
The girl looked up at her and she shook her head.
The girl jumped up and walked to the chair and climbed into it.
Tami tossed the cape across her and pulled it up and around her neck, and pinned it in place in the back.
“What’ll be,” she asked the girl, who looked at her mother.
“She wants it short,” the woman said.
“Mommmmm,” the girl replied. “You said I could get… if I passed everything with a “C”.
“And, I made all “Bs” this year.”
The mother looked up at her daughter sitting in the barber chair, then at Tami.
“She wants a crew cut,” the woman said. “But, not too short, like his.”
Tami shook her head.
“I think I know what she wants.” She reached for the clippers then put on an attachment.
“Three-eighths of an inch,” Tami said, showing the mom the clippers. “I could go to half an inch, if three-eighths is too short!”
“Three-eighths, sounds just right,” the girl quickly answered.
Her mother took a deep breath and shook her head “yes”, then said, “If that’s what she wants… then she will have to put up with it.
“Three-eighths is all right with me, then.”
Tami clicked the clippers on it began to hum its sweet song.
“Let’s tilt your head downward,” Tami said as she placed her left hand on to the girl’s head, gently pushing it downward letting two feet of dark blond
hair fall forward in front of her shoulders.
She raised her right hand with the singing clippers to the girl’s neck,
“WAIT….. wait”, the girl called out, her mother relieved she had changed her mind.
“Changed your mind,” Tami asked.
“YES,” the girl said.
“But, not abut the hair cut. What is the shortest attachment you can use?”
“Quarter of an inch,” Tami told her. “If I used that one the back and sides would have to be ….. be buzzed.
“Your hair would be cut just like your brother.”
“COOL,” the replied. “Use it.”
Tami looked at her mother, “What the hell it is her hair and life.”
Tami changed the attachment and slowly pushed it upward.
I heard a deep breath being taken and turned towards her mother, sitting next to me.
Her body rose as she closed her eyes, “I can’t watch.”
A two-foot-long section of hair slid down her daughter’s right shoulder into the cape.
Then, another… another, until Tami was standing on the right side of the chair.
With the clippers in her left hand she began pushing the clippers over the top of the girl’s head, pushing a growing pile of two-foot-long sections of hair until the clippers stopped at the front of her head. The pile of hair fell past the girl’s face, to which a smile came across as she saw the pile of hair falling past her eyes into her cape-covered lap.
There was a soft sound of the weight of the hair hitting the growing pile of hair there already.
I glanced towards her mother, who now was grabbing the seat of the chair with her fingers, as she took another deep breath almost passing out.
“I can’t believe I am letting you get a short crew cut, girl,” she said as she shook her head.
The girl just laughed as Tami walked around the chair to the left side. There she began moving the clippers over the girl’s head with her right hand, pushing a pile of hair into her lap with a soft sound as it fell on top of all the hair already there.
Soon all the girl’s hair was clipped to quarter of an inch all over.
As Tami turned to the shelf, the girl moved her hands from under the cape and wildly brushed them over her half-inch haircut.
“COOL..”, she let out with a laugh. “You should come feel this mom.”
Her arms reached out waving her mother to come feel her head.
Tami turned around with the clippers still in her right hand, as the girl’s mother slowly got up and walked to the chair.
In the large mirror behind the chair I saw her mother close her eyes as she raised her right hand. The girl grabbed it at the wrist and moved her head forward until they met.
She moved her mother’s hand over her head and her mother let out, “Oooooo… My God that feels so soft.”
“Click”, Tami clicked the clippers back to life.
“Want to clip the sides and back down a little then the crew cut will look better.
“Then, a little cleaning up and finished.”
Her mother slowly walked back to the chair and sat, as Tami began pushing the clippers up the right side of the girl’s head.
This time the clippers cut her hair to almost nothing, but her mother didn’t realize this as she sat and watched.
With the skill of a great barberette she worked the clippers around the girl’s head, clipping it shorter than the top.
When she was finished she took the hair duster and dusted around her head, over the top of her head, and across her face. She turned and placed the duster on the shelf, then her left hand reached to the pile of white towels and removed one.
My heart jumped into my throat again as she turned, opening the towel up.
I knew what she was going to do.
She undid the clip holding the cape in place and let it fall into the hair-covered lap. Pulling the towel outward she then started tucking it into the collar of the girl’s blouse.
Her eyes got wide as she tried to think of what was going on.
I looked at her mother who had the same look on her face.
Then, her brother jumped up….
“You’re going to get your neck shaved just like I did…
“You’re going to get your neck shaved…
“You’re going to get your neck shaved….” her brother said over and over until his mother grabbed him and pulled him to the chair next to her.
“Is that necessary?” the mother asked Tami.
Tami, who was now spreading shaving cream along the girl’s hairline, looked up.,
“Yes. It will make the cut look right. Much better than if I used edging clippers, like they use in hairstyling salons.”
Mother blew a breath and shook her head.
Then, she sat back and watched just like I was, as her son was.
Tami stropped the straight razor over the leather strap. I watched each movement. I glanced at her mother who was doing the same thing, only with her head moving up and down.
We both watched as Tami began taking short strokes with the razor, working her way around the girl’s head until she was to the other side and finished.
She wiped the excess lather.
Then, dusted the sweet powder around the girl’s head.
She reached across the chair, grabbed the other side of the cape and pulled it back toward her, as all the hair she had clipped from the girl’s head fell on to the step of the barber chair and the floor.
She slowly turned the chair around so the girl could see herself in the larger mirror.
Her mother got up and walked behind the chair and began brushing her fingers up the back of her daughter’s head.
Again all she could say was, “It feels soft.”
I watched in the mirror as the girl’s eyes widened as she saw how short her hair was for the first time. She brushed her hand over her head, over the top, over the sides, and up and down the back of her head.
“Well?” Tami asked as she looked at the girl in the mirror. “What you wanted?”
She moved her head from side to side, her mother gently moving her fingers up and down the back and sides of her head.
“I could go shorter if you want,” Tami had to say.
“NO… No,” her mother said. “This is short enough for her. Besides I don’t think she’ll keep it. Just a phase.”
But, the girl looked at her mother, “I don’t know mom.
“I kind of like my hair this short. And, it feels so… so, I don’t know, just nice”.
“And, I like it when Miss Tami… You know…. Shaved me,” she finished saying as she moved two fingers along her hairline.
Tami turned the chair around, when it stopped the girl stepped from the chair.
The mother paid and they left.
Tami shook the cape, with a popping sound, looked at me. “Next!”
I stood and walked to the chair.
Just as I was about to get into it, my eyes widened. I forgot the photo in my purse.
“Just a minute,” I told her and walked to the waiting chair and removed the photo from my purse. As I walked back to the chair I unfolded it.
I sat in the chair, with photo in hand, as Tami tossed the cape across me. Standing behind me she reached down over my shoulder and pulled the cape up and around my neck, pulling it tight and pinning it in place.
Just as she was about to ask I pulled the photo from under the cape.
“This is how I want my hair cut,” I told her as I held it so she could see it. “I don’t know how short the back and sides are. I’ll leave that up to you.”
Tami took the photo from me and looked at it.
“If you don’t want to do it…” I began to tell her but was cut short.
“Sure, I can cut your hair like this,” she said.
“But, I think you would look better with the top cut a little shorter than the half inch in the photo.
“Piece of cake.
“Did one like this last week for Ray Miller and his son.”
She walked to the shelf, “Want me to cut your hair shorter first or just go for it?”
“I don’t know a damn thing about cutting hair and she is asking me how to cut my hair,” my mind said.
“However you want,” I told her. “As long as I end up with my hair cut like the woman in the photo, I don’t care how you do it.”
Then, I heard a “click” and I knew how she was going to do it.
I felt her left hand on top of my head as she tilted it forward. I took a deep breath and thought back to the little girl just in the chair.
How my eyes watched as a pile of hair, two feet long, came sliding down off her shoulder into her lap.
Now, I would see the pile of hair slide down off my shoulder and into my lap, where my eyes could see it.
But, this time I would be feeling the clippers slowly move up my neck and the back of my head.
Just as I was thinking that I felt the clippers move up my neck and the sound of the singing clippers changed. Slowly Tami pushed the clippers up to the top of my head.
Then, my eyes caught the pile of hair sliding down off my shoulder and tumbling somewhat until it came to a rest in my lap. I took another deep breath, this time it was for joy.
The joy of finally doing what I have wanted to do, since I was eleven years old.
Since, the first day Mr. Tom put the cape around my neck and asked me, “How do you want your hair cut today?”
I wanted to yell out, just as I wanted to back then, but I just enjoyed the moment that was happening now.
I felt the clippers moving up my neck, my head, and another pile of hair came sliding into my lap. Her left hand pulled the back of my right ear forward some, as she pushed the clippers up into my hair behind it.
This pile slid into my lap where the pile of hair was growing.
Now she was pushing the clippers up the other side of the back of my neck and head, sending another pile of hair, unwanted hair at that, into my lap.
It too, like the piles before it and those to follow, slid down off my shoulders into my lap of growing unwanted hair.
Standing on the left side of the chair, she moved the clippers with her right hand over the top of my head, sending a large pile of hair past my wide-open eyes and into my lap. She pushed the clippers again over my head with another pile sliding past my eyes and into my lap.
When I looked up at myself in the mirror behind the waiting chairs, Tami walked slowly around the back of the chair and her left hand brushed up the back of my head.
I looked at myself again and saw how short she had clipped my hair.
It was real short.
Short like she had clipped the little girl’s back and sides.
I hoped ….
I knew the back was just as short because she had not stopped to change the attachment on the clippers.
As she stepped to the right side she put the clippers in her left hand, her right hand pushed the three feet of long light brown hair hanging from my head forward, so it hung down the front of my body.
As she moved the clippers over the top of my head a pile of hair grew then fell, tumbling past my eyes into my lap. Another pass was made with the pile of hair tumbling past my eyes.
Another… another… and another…
Until she was finished, then she turned the clippers off and hung it on the hook under the shelf.
I was looking at myself in the mirror when I saw her undo the clip.
Then, she pulled the cape up and outward then it fell into my lap. I started to question her, but…
She reached over, taking the cape and pulling it across.
“Let’s get rid of this weight in your lap,” she said as she shook the hair from the cape onto the floor a little from the chair. I watched as the long, two and three feet long pile of hair fell, sliding, then hitting the floor.
It was a lot of hair I didn’t think I had that much hair on my head.
Then, she tossed the cape across me, pulling the right side up, then reaching over my left shoulder she grabbed the other end and pulled it up and around my neck. With it fastened in place she turned back to the shelf.
Her right hand took hold of another clipper hanging next to the one she just used. It was larger and black.
As she turned to the chair I saw a comb in her left hand.
Standing behind the chair she reached over my head with the comb and combed it back over my head.
She did this two more times, the third time she held it in place as it rested a little off my head, with just a little amount of hair sticking above it.
Then, she brought the clippers to life, slowly moved it over the comb.
Slowly she combed a little back, held the comb, then moved the clippers over the comb.
Each time she moved the comb backwards it was held a little closer to my head until it finally touched it.
Then, she took the clippers and slowly moved it over the back of my head.
I looked in the mirror when she stopped and saw she had cut the hair on the top of my head flat across.
I tilted my head downward a little, just enough to see the back.
I saw a spot clipped so close to my head that I could see my scalp. Just then my eyes caught it…
Tami was standing on the right side of the chair with the same big black clippers in her right hand. It was then I noticed it did not have an attachment on it.
She placed her left hand on top of my head and tilted it to the left.
I watched as she slowly moved the big black clippers up the side of my head, in front of my ear.
What was left behind was like I saw on the back of my head, hair so short I could see my scalp.
Slowly she worked the clippers up the side of my head, working around to the back.
My head was tilted downward as she slowly moved the big black clippers up my neck and the back of my head.
With each slow upward movement of the clippers I began to feel coolness on it.
By this time my heart was beating a strong beat.
My throat had gone from wet, to dry, then back to wet.
The nervousness I first had was gone.
I was still getting shivers up and down my body as she slowly moved the clippers up and down and over my head.
I no longer saw flashbacks to that day Bud got his head shaved, nor to the little girl before me getting her crew cut.
I looked up just as Tami was pushing the clippers over my left ear.
Soon, two more passes of the clippers, it would be done.
My haircut, my short haircut, the one I saw on that web link and the one I printed out, would be mine.
The one I showed Tami, the one she said she had done last week on a father and son, it would be mine.
When she made the last slow upward movement of the clippers, and the last hairs to be clipped fell, she turned the big black clippers off and hung it next to the clippers that started my very short haircut.
She turned back with the hair duster in her hand and began dust the top of my head, the sides and the back of my head.
Then, she picked up a small clipper…
Standing behind the chair she looked over the top of my head.
Then, click, the little clippers came to life.
Freehanded she began touching up the top, cutting small, very small, hairs with it until she was sure it was right.
Then, she tilted my head to the left and started moving the small clippers slowly up my head. I watched as my scalp began to show more.
Slowly she worked around my head until she was finished.
Reaching back and placing the little clippers on the shelf, she undid the cape.
I felt myself take a deep breath, because I knew, I hoped, she was going to shave the edge of the hairline.
I remembered what the little girl said, that it was the best part of her crew cut.
I remembered how I watched her father do the same thing to many boys and men, and the few women he, too, used the small clippers on their neck.
“Like the photo,” she told me.
I smiled as I brushed my finger over the hair cut.
“I can go shorter,”, she said smiling, “if you want?”
I brushed my finger over the back and sides and smiled, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly as I closed my eyes.
It felt good and my sounds told Tami I liked the feeling.
I felt her fingers brushing up the back of my buzzed neck and head. I felt my body shiver.
I knew she felt it, too.
Then, for some reason I just shook my head “yes”.
Tami reached for the small clippers and turned it on.
I watched as she slowly buzzed the top of my head.
Then, she took hold of a towel, spread it outward and tucked it into the collar of my blouse
There was water running, my eyes caught sight of steam coming up from the sink.
Tami was looking at the photo, but then she reached for another towel and tossed it into the sink and running hot water.
After a minute she removed it and wrung it out some, then began wiping my head with it. She took great care to wipe the sides and back of my head.
Tossing the towel under the shelf she walked to the lather machine and began flowing a pile of hot, white lather into her left hand.
When the pile was enough she looked at the photo.
Then she picked it up and walked to the right side of the chair.
I looked at her. “Something wrong?”
She looked at the photo, then at me.
“I can’t see if the back and sides of this cut, in the photo, is clippered with a .00000 attachment, or shaved.”
She held the photo for me to look at. “What do you think?”
I looked and could not really tell myself. Being a barber I thought she could tell the difference.
Then, what do I know…?
What the hell is a .00000 attachment?
“What the hell,” I told her. “Whatever you think it is… Do it.”
She looked at me, then the photo.
“What the hell,” she replied. “The hair will grow out.”
With that she tossed the photo to the side and began spreading the lather over the side of my head.
Slowly she lathered the side of my head, then the neck to the top of my head, finally the left side.
I looked in the mirror at myself.
The sides of my head, as well as the back, was all lathered up, she had made up her mind…
The sides and back were shaved in the photo and I wanted my hair cut just like it.
So, I was going to get the sides and back of my head shaved, even if the cut in the photo wasn’t.
I watched as she stropped the straight razor over the leather strap.
I was going to feel it, just as my brother did, my dad, all the boys and men, and the few women, Mr. Tom did it to, even the little girl before me.
Tami let the strap loose, she raised the straight razor to my head and began shaving in short downward strokes.
I almost passed out, but felt the sharp blade of the straight razor kiss my scalp again.
The dryness came back to my throat, my heart was beating a little faster.
I held myself tight so the shivers would not shake my body as they ran up and down it.
The more she shaved, the more I felt coolness on the side of my head, then the back of my head.
Soon, too soon, my mind told me Tami was finished shaving the sides and back of my head.
She was now wiping the excess lather away with another warm towel, then a dry one. She rubbed something in her hands then began spreading it over the sides and back of my head where she shaved me.
Then, a few wipes over the top of my head.
With a soft hairbrush she brushed the top of my head from the front to the back, then from the side to the top.
Finally, she dusted the sides and back of my head with the sweet powder, then over the top of my head and across my face.
She slowly, but gently, pulled the towel from my collar and she turned the chair so I was facing the large mirror.
I felt my heart stop as she turned the chair, then it sank.
I did not know the woman I was looking at, but I really liked the haircut she had. It was like the one I wanted.
Then, I told myself, “That’s you, damn it.
You finally got your hair cut, cut really short like you wanted it.”
I smiled at myself.
The shivers were gone.
My heart was beating right, my breathing… well I was breathing. Our eyes met in the mirror…
“Well,” Tami asked as she smiled at me. “You asked for it. You showed me the photo of it.
“You got it. Just like you wanted, I hope!”
I sat there shaking my head yes, then I said, “Yes… yes… yes, I like the haircut. It is just like I wanted. Thank you.”
She turned the chair around. When it stopped, I stepped out of it and walked to the waiting chair. I reached in my purse to pay her.
“No,” she said. “The haircut is on me.
“I have always wanted to give a woman a nice extremely short haircut and you just happen to be the one.
“But, the haircut I was thinking about wasn’t like this one.
“I just hope if you decide to keep your hair cut this short, you will let me be your barber… ette
“Then again, even if you don’t keep it this short, I still hope you will come back for whatever kind of haircut you want.”
I smiled and thanked her.
“Yes, I’ll be back,” I told her. “I think I found a barberette who cuts my hair like I want.
“And, I don’t want to lose her… so, I’ll be back.”
As I walked out the door, Tami said, “Next Saturday if you want to keep your haircut fresh!”
I looked at her and shook my head, OK.
“Ten would be the best time,” she replied as I opened the door.
“Ten it will be,” I answered. “Ten next Saturday morning, for the same haircut.”
We waved and I left. I felt the warmth of the sun hit my head, it felt good.
Now, for some shopping and to show off my new haircut.
I got into my car, rolled the windows down and drove off to the West Bank Shopping Mall, to do some shopping and let everyone wonder.
The End By JimB ©opyright December 2009