Finally! There he was, the man I had always dreamed of, my perfect lover. I was glad that tight trousers on men had come back into style, since this was one of my favorite looks. The large, dark eyes looked intelligent, while the aquiline nose was worthy of any statue. He had that inverted-triangle shape that women are instinctively drawn towards, neither too brawny nor too scrawny. There was just one flaw in his appearance: his dark brown hair covered his ears, splayed out on his collar at the back, and hid half of his face.
I had not been attracted to a young man like this for a very long time. There was a time when young men offered me their arms lest I trip and fall on a loose cobblestone, or doffed their hats to me. Some even took off their jackets to cover puddles or shield my head from refuse being tossed out of upper story windows, but that hadn’t been necessary for years. I still appreciated it when men walked on the street side of the sidewalk to protect me from carriages, and, later, automobiles.
Surprisingly, it was the American men who treated me the best, with their Texas cowboy sense of chivalry, at least, the ones who noticed me did. I was not well-born enough for English lads to treat in this way in the old days, and now I was routinely ignored by everybody.
I followed the young man down the street, past the tavern, across from the bookstore, around the grounds of the Museum, under the archway that wasn’t there when I was younger, and in front of one of the colleges. He stopped, checked the time on his gadget that wasn’t a pocket watch, then ran his hands through his hair.
As I watched, he resumed walking, finally stopping in front of a barbershop. Oh yes. Please cut off that mop, the shorter the better, so that I can see your face. To my delight, he went into the shop. I hid in the doorway and pressed my face against the window for a better look. He sat in one of the chairs and began talking to one of the barbers, a distinguished older man with short grey hair and a handsome face. The young man nodded thoughtfully as the barber handled his hair.
The barber began combing out the hair to section. From the sections that were being put in, I guessed that quite a lot would be coming off. Good. I noticed that the barber did not wet his hair, but instead inserted a comb right above his ear and attacked the hair sticking out with the bare blade of a clipper. Please, please, give him a nice short ivy league.
The barber continued in the same manner around his head, quickly removing length from the back and sides. He left the top hair clipped up on top of the young man’s head. The barber then attached a guard to the clippers and began going over the back, gently pushing the young man’s chin onto his chest.
I couldn’t see that well, but I guessed that the attachment was no larger than a six. Once he had gone over the entire back and sides he changed the guard and started to taper down. This was exactly what I had hoped for.
When he had edged around the ears and shaved the young man’s nape with the trimmers, the barber took down the long top hair and began combing it out. Please, don’t let this be the end. As far as I was concerned there were few styles sillier than the undercut-manbun.
To my relief the barber picked up a pair of scissors and began hacking off length. In less than a minute the top hair was reduced to about an inch at most. I watched as the barber grabbed finger-fuls of hair and snipped methodically. This was indeed going to be a faded ivy league cut.
I remained in my position, transfixed, even as the barber used a hairdryer to blow away the cut hairs and the young man paid for his big chop. As he came out of the shop I had a clear view of his face. Wow, he was one of the most beautiful young men I had seen in a long time. His large eyes darted over the street and his lips parted into a smile. His nose was neither too big nor too small, but suited his face perfectly. He was clean-shaven too, which is a must for me.
Just as I was about to approach him, he fished in his pockets and pulled out a small square device that did not look like a pocket watch. He stepped out into the street, eyes locked on his device. At that moment a car came speeding by. I tried to scream, but no sound came out.
When the car had passed, the young man continued on his path across the street, then looked up at me. “Oh, hello. I didn’t see you standing there. Have I seen you before? No, I heard about you. You’re the Regency ghost. Wait a minute, does this mean that I’m dead, now, too?”
“Yes, I’m afraid it does. On the other hand, you have the best haircut of any of the male ghosts in all of Oxford!”