Buzzed at the barber shop
By JimB ©opyright May 2016
I had recently moved from Lake Charles, Louisiana to live with my Godmother, Aunt Bernie, in New York City, New York. It was only for a year while dad and mom went to Germany, where dad was going to open a new overseas office for Bing Projects, where he works.
To be more precise, my parents moved me. When you’re thirteen you have to do what your parents wants, even went you do not want to.
I would have rather gone to Germany with them.
Aunt Bernie would be my Guardian while I was with her. She was not married.
She was divorced and had no children of her own.
When I arrived at the airport Aunt Bernie was waiting. She is a “somewhat” an average woman with short greyish hair.
Mom spoke with her after I departed home, telling her of how I have been acting lately.
That, her and dad gave her permission to take whatever steps, she feels is necessary to try and change things.
The problem, I was just doing what a thirteen old teenager does when she has nothing to do but fishing, trapping, and other mostly male sports and things. I mean, dad showed me how to fish, hunt, trap.
Even how to run a flat boat, and shrimp boat, and fix it if something happened.
Mom even knew how to gut a catfish, skin an alligator, even how to fix the car.
It is part of life, part of growing up in an area where you, male or female, have few things to do.
So, what was the problem!
Did they think I was I more “boyish”, than “girlish” or “ladylike”?
Aunt Bernie did not live in the City. Rather in an area which some would call the “country”.
As she drove to her house, which was really a small cottage, telling me what she had planned for my first night. It was afternoon by the time we got there.
She had gotten tickets to the rodeo, which had come to town. We would be having dinner there and I would meet some of the teens my age.
When we arrived she told me to get some rest.
In what felt like no time at all, I was woken up and told to take a shower and wash my hair and get dressed.
“I have laded out a nice blouse and skirt for you to wear.
“I hope the four inch stiletto will fit you.”
“But, aren’t we going to a …..”, I started to ask her.
“Just put them on”, she told me.
After dressing I was told to meet her by the car, parked in front of the cottage.
“Where are we going?” I asked her.
“To the barber shop”, she told me. “You are in need of a haircut. Your hair is too “girlish””.
I touched my brown hair. It was just over my collar, just the way i liked.
What did she mean “too girlish””! I asked myself.
I mean I am a “girl”, what am I suppose to look like”!
I dreaded to see what she had in store for me.
What had mom told her when they talked?
We pulled up outside the barbershop.
The name of the shop was called “Paul’s Barbershop”.
I hesitated but Aunt Bernie was motioning me to get inside.
The barber shop was very old-fashioned.
It had wood paneled walls with pictures of short haired male haircuts, an old waiting bench, and three black leather barber chairs. The chairs were facing away from the mirrors.
They were all occupied by older men, receiving a short back and sides hair cut. There were no women barbers. All the barbers were men, well into their sixties, like Aunt Bernie.
I realized I was totally out of place. It didn’t take long for the chair nearest the window to be vacated.
When it was, Aunt Bernie motioned me to it.
“Hello Bernie”, the barber said. “How are we today?”
“All right, Paul” my Aunt Bernie answered. “I would like you to meet my goddaughter, Terri.
“She needs a proper haircut, as I told you when I called”.
“I can’t argue with you there”, Paul replied, inspecting my locks.
“Well then, we’ll see what we can do.”
I reluctantly sat in the chair, which was surprisingly comfortable.
Paul snapped a white cape around me before tying a tissue to my neck.
Meanwhile, Aunt Bernie was reminding Paul what she wanted.
“She needs to go short. She will be doing a lot of outdoors work around the field.
“I want her hair to be short enough so it will not get in her eyes, or caught on brushes and tree branches.”
“Hummmm?” Paul said. “A modified Pixie would look good on her. Nice, short and smart.
“Still lady like.
“I gave Helene one the other day and she looked good with it”.
“Yes, I saw her and the cut did look good on her”, Aunt Bernie answered.
I had no idea what they were talking about.
But, it wasn’t sounding good.
Paul turned the chair away from the mirror so I was facing the bench. A couple of boys had come in and were now sitting there.
Suddenly, Paul took a large clipper, attached a black attachment to it and turned it on.
“Oh, hell no”, I thought.
“How short will this be?”
Paul placed the clipper near my left temple and moved it up.
Brown hair, six inches long, started to fall onto the cape and floor.
Aunt Bernie was nodding approvingly.
Soon, more hair started to drop freely.
I felt the clipper’s attachment brushed past my ear.
Eventually the curtain of hair, which had covered my left ear, had been clipped off leaving only about half and inch of hair behind.
I felt very cold.
Paul moved onto my back.
“Put your head down”, he said before ruthlessly attacking the back of my neck.
More brown hair was joining the pile on the floor. I was holding back tears now.
Mr. Paul and Aunt Bernie were deep in a conversation.
My mind only heard the humming sound of the clippers, not what they were talking about.
Eventually the back of my head felt as exposed as my left ear.
Paul told me to raise my head up again.
I closed my eyes as the clippers touched the hair near my right ear, hacking it off.
My sense of sadness was now replaced with one of glumness. It wasn’t long until the only place where my previous long hair was found, was on the top of my head.
“Could do a flattop”, Paul told Aunt Bernie, “Or, perhaps a high and tight?”
“Both sound likeable”, Aunt Bernie snapped. “But, like I told you earlier …..
“Her mom told me she was hoping I could get the “boyishness” out of her”.
Paul grabbing my chin turning my head this way and then that way!
“Well, I could …..”, he said to Aunt Bernie as he brushed his left hand over my head.
“Hummmm”, Aunt Bernie said as she walked to the chair. “You didn’t mention that cut when we talked.
“But, it sound like it could work …..
“Didn’t you give Connie one a few weeks ago”?
“Yes”, Paul answered her as he brushed his left hand over my head again. “If I remember her mom mentioned she had somewhat the same problem with her”!
“I did not know that”, Aunt Bernie replied. “But, hers’ was kind of longish”!
“Yes”, Paul said.
He walked to the shelf and did something, I could not see.
He turned holding the clippers in his right hand, so she could see it.
Aunt Bernie was smiling.
“That is kind of drastic”, she asked him. “Do you think it could help?
“Have you seen Connie since her visit with me!”
Aunt Bernie walked to the chair and took hold of my chin, turning to the left then the right.
“Don’t you think it would be a little too much doing it?”, she asked him.
“Like I asked you”, Paul answered as he stepped to the right side of the chair. “Have you seen Connie lately?
“She has changed a lot”, Aunt Bernie replied as she turned and walked back to where she was sitting.
“How long …..
“I mean how often …..
“Her dad and mom will be in Germany for a year …..
“I wouldn’t want to do something they did not …..”.
“Didn’t you tell me”, Paul interrupted her, “they gave you “their” permission to take whatever steps “you” feel to try and change things!”
“Hummmm ….. You are correct”, she told him. “But, I don’t think they …..
“How often would she need to visit you …..”?
“At least once a week”, he told her. “Unless you want something shorter”!
“You’re not saying like the Allen girls?” she inquired.
Paul shook his head, “Only as a last resource”!
“Once a week seems …..”, she commented. “That would be possible.
“And, if it does not start working …..
“Then, I will see if the “Allen girls” will work better …..”.
“So, you’re saying”, Paul asked as I heard a “click” and humming sound.
Aunt Bernie looked at me then Mr. Paul.
“YES”, she told him. “Do it …..
“But, do it slowly”.
Paul’s left hand brushed what hair length I had back off my face.
Then, he started running the clippers through the hair over the top of my head.
Small lumps of hair, the remnants of my once impressive short mane, fell onto the cape in front of me as he pulled the clippers after moving it only an inch back
He made several passes through my hair each one stripping away at what was piece of my trendy fringe.
Soon only one hunk of hair remained.
Paul ran the clippers very slowly over my head.
I could hear the “buzzing” as is went over my head.
“Do you want me to give her the full cut”, Mr. Paul asked Aunt Bernie.
“You know …..
“Sure”, Aunt Bernie told him. “Might as well do it correctly.”
Soon it was gone, merely a reminder. I could feel this coolness of the air condition on my head.
Mr. Paul swung the chair around so I could see myself.
I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Merely a few minutes earlier my face was surround by hair with a fringe, which only needed brushing out of my eyes.
Now only a stubble of my hair remained.
I didn’t realized how I looked with short hair.
But, this was way shorter than I ever thought about. I have never seen any girls, women, with their hair cut this short.
Only a few young boys!
But, no women! No girls.
He undid the cape and let it fall cover my arms.
He tucked a large white towel in the collar of my blouse and spread it over my shoulders.
I head a winding sound.
It stopped and I felt warm soft stuff, shaving lather, being spread a long the edge of my hair, from the right side, down and up my neck, then over my left ear.
As he took hold of the leather strap hanging from the right arm of the barber chair, my eyes grew wide open.
I looked at Aunt Bernie.
She just sat there watching me, and Mr. Paul.
I felt his left thumb touch my skin where he had started spreading the shaving lather.
Then, I felt the sharp edge of the straight razor touch my skin.
With just a quick movement and it was pulled away from below the hairline, leaving a small section of hair shaved.
Shaved off at my skin.
I watched as he raised the straight razor and placed it at an angle and did the same thing.
He continued this until he had worked his way over the shaving lather he applied over my hairline.
Finished he took hold of the towel and wiped the excess lather from my head.
I felt a soft brush brushing across my head and around my head. It felt good and left behind a sweet smell.
He lowered the chair and I stepped out of it.
Aunt Bernie walked to the chair and handed Mr. Paul twenty dollars.
“Now”, she began, “I hope this will get you thinking about your “boyish ways”.
She turned my head from side to side.
“I close at seven tonight”, he commented to Aunt Bernie, “if you change your mind about the “Allen girls”!
“NO, this will do for now”, she told him and motioned me to the door.
“She will be coming back Saturday”, Aunt Bernie told him as she opened the door. “I know that is sooner than “once a week”.
“But, I think getting a neating up with some boys and men might help”.
As we stepped out the shop I started to ask her “why”!
But, before I could ask …..
“If you start changing and start acting more like a “young lady”, she began telling me, “I might consider letting your hair grow some. Just to see, if this hair cut did some good”.
“Aunt Bernie”, I said to her, “who are the “Allen girls” …..
“And, what happened when they visited Mr. Paul”?
“Never mind who the “Allen girls” are“, she replied motion me towards the car, “or what happened when they visited Mr. Paul.
“Unless you start changing your ways over the next two weeks and be more “lady like” …..
“Well, just continued. You will see what happened to them tonight at the rodeo”.
When we reached the car she unlocked my door, as she brushed her hand over my head.
“Hummmm”, she said as she did this. “I might just come with you Saturday and get a one, my self”!