Little was said
By JimB (c)opyright June 2003 JimB
For some strange reason I went to the barbershop early this Saturday morning.
Usually I wait until the afternoon to go but I don’t know what it was …..
But, here I was sitting amounts all the early Saturday customers.
The shop is owned by Tom Tyler, who has been barbering for almost thirty-five years.
He has two other barbers, one a lady, with him.
Ed, who has been with him for almost thirty years, and Mandy, the lady barber, rather barberette, who is his niece on his wife’s side, who has been with him for the last six years.
They cut men, women, and children’s hair, but did not do any styling of hair.
But, Mandy does sometimes do a little hair brushing on the girls and women if the cut calls for it.
Mandy does face shaves, but do to age Tom and Ed have kind of stopped.
But. they do razor trim shave.
It was around nine and each chair had a customer in it and there were five waiting.
Tom and Ed had regulars who were getting a touch up, both were gentlemen in their early sixties.
Mandy had a young girl, around eight, in her chair.
Her mom had dropped her off to get her hair cut short for the summer, while she went a few doors down to something she had ordered from the drug store.
I heard her mom tell Mandy to make it short, so as to keep her hair out of her eyes.
Mandy inquired how short was short and mom just said, “short enough to keep her hair out of her eyes”.
Again Mandy, wanting to make sure she understood, ask mom again, so mom just replied, “short on the sides and back with the top tapered to fix.”
That is when Mandy reached for the clippers and put on the half inch attachment. She showed the clippers, with the half-inch attachment and she shook her head “yes”.
Mom smiled and walked out, telling Mandy she would be back for her hair cut in about half an hour.
Mandy took the cape from behind the chair and tossed it across the young girl, then she toss a tissue and wrapped it around her neck and pulled the cape up and around her neck and pinned it in place.
I could see the look on her face as she tried to see if the young girl knew what kind of hair cut she was going to get.
“You know your mom has told me to cut your hair very short”, she told the young girl as she brushed her hair out. “I will be using hair cutting tools that I have never used to cut your hair before.
“It will cut all your hair off very fast and even, and short.
“When I finish you might think you look like a boy …..
The young girl just looked at her, smiled, and told her, “I know …..
“Mom told me it was going to be good for the summer”.
Tom and Ed finished their customers, who paid and left.
Each called for their next customer, Tom having a teenage boy, about sixteen, step to his chair. Just from looking at him you knew he was going to get a Crew Cut.
Ed’s next customer was his brother, who was going to get a regular man’s haircut.
Just as Ed’s brother sat in his chair my eyes caught Mandy, again, reaching for the clippers under the shelf.
She cleaned the cutting head, oiled it, and click it on to run the oil over the blade. She placed the large half-inch attachment back on the clippers.
“OK, here we go”, she told the young girl as she placed her left hand on top of her head.
“Tilt your head down for me and don’t move it”.
The young girl did as she was told and tilted her head, but you could see her strain her eyes upward.
Her shoulder length childish dirty blond hair fell forward, covering her eyes’ vision.
Mandy turned the clippers on, but the young girl did not jump as many of the customers would have for their first time ride of the clippers.
Mandy placed the clippers in the middle of the back of her head and slowly pushed the clippers up the back of her nape and high up the back of her head.
Strains of her hair sliding down into the cape. Coming to rest in front of her little eyes.
I expected to hear her starting to cry, but she just sat there with her head down as Mandy begin another pass.
A few more pass of the clippers and Mandy had clipper the back of her head to half an inch. As Mandy let her head up the young girl’s eyes caught full site of all her hair sitting in her caped lay, and she just smiled.
Mandy walked to the right side of the chair and brushed her hair back off her face. She placed the clippers at the bottom of her small sideburn and slowly moved the clippers up the side of her head.
The first pass sent a pile of hair down pass her right eye into her caped lap. I could see her eyes follow the pile downward.
Mandy then began moving the clippers backward sending a pile of hair behind the chair.
With a few more passes made and the side of her head was buzzed to half an inch.
Mandy placed the clippers at the center of her forehead and pushed it back over her head.
When she brought the clippers back forward and placed it for another pass, the young girl’s body rose to met the hunger clippers.
With the next pass the right side of her head was down to half an inch.
Mandy walked around the back of the chair to the left side, the young girl raised her body to look into the large mirror.
Mandy stopped and stepped back to the right a little and reached to the handle on the right side and pumped the chair a little higher.
When she stopped the young girl stared at her self in the mirror and smiled.
Mandy brushed her hair back and pushed the clippers into her hair.
Slowly she moved the clippers up and back over the left side of the young girl’s head, over the top until all the hair on her head was buzzed to half an inch.
When Mandy turned the clippers off, taking the half-inch attachment off and replacing it with a quarter inch attachment.
The young girl moved both her hand from under the cape and brushed them over her head, “Fells like my dad’s hair”.
Mandy placed her left hand on top of her head again and tilted it downward.
She begins as she did before, pushing the clippers up the back of her head, sending a small pile of hair down behind the chair.
With the back clipped, she moved the right side and reduced it to the same quarter inch, then walked around to the left side and did the same.
xxShe then picked up her comb and scissors and begins to blend the top and back and sides together, when mom walked in.
xxShe stopped and there was a strange look on her face.
xxMandy saw it and stood there waiting.
xx”Like dad’s hair mom”, the young girl busted out and again brushed her hands over her head.
xxMom walked to the chair and brushed her right hand over her daughter’s head, “Yes it does”.
xxShe turned and walked to an empty waiting chair.
xx”I think you can go shorter”, she said as she sat and look at Mandy.
xxMandy just looked at her with “WHAT” in her eyes.
xxShe didn’t ask, nor said, anything, instead she placed the clippers, still with the quarter inch attachment, in the center of her head at the hairline, slowly moved it backwards over her head until it reached the back.
xxMandy glanced at mom and she just sat there watching. Mandy repeated the buzzing until the young girl’s hair was half an inch all over.
xxWith the clippers still singing, she removed the attachment and tossed it on the shelf.
xxShe looked at mom, who was still watching, as she walked to the right side of the chair.
xxShe held the attachment less clippers so mom could see it.
xxPlacing it below the hairline in front of the young girl’s right ear.
xxAnother glance at mom, still nothing, so she slowly pushed the clippers up the side of her head reducing the hair to almost nothing.
xxSeeing mom just sitting there and watching she worked her way round the young girl’s head until she reach the left side and made the last pass with the clippers.
xxTurning the clippers off she hung it back under the shelf and pick up the hair duster.
xxShe turned and begins to dust the young girl’s head sending clipping in the air around her head. As she did this she undid the cape, moving it over her shoulders to slid downward resting across the arms of the chair and the young girl’s lap.
xxShe looked at mom who was not sitting up a little more than she was.
xxMandy started to ask, but she stopped.
xxShe turned and took a large white towel from the shelf and tucked it into the collar of the young girl’s blouse.
xxAgain she glanced at mom, who was now staring with intense eyes, as if she knew what Mandy was going to do next.
xxAnd, she was correct, too.
xxMandy turned and stepped to the lather dispenser and dispensed a small, than usual, pile of warm lather on to her finger tips of her left hand.
xxWith the warm lather she stepped back behind the chair and begin spreading the warm lather along the young girl’s hairline.
xxAcross the bottom, up either side, stepping to the right, then the left, she spread the warm lather behind each ear and down and across the bottom of her small sideburn.
xxShe wiped her fingers and picked up the straight razor.
xxStepping to the right side of the chair, she took hold of the dark worn leather strap and begins stropping the open blade over it.
xxHer eyes raised a little to see the young girl watching her do this.
xxMandy, again, glanced at mom, who was still watching each movement.
xxWith the blade sharpened she let the strap go and raised the razor to the bottom of the hairline and made a short grabbing movement leaving behind a small edging. She worked the razor up and over edging a small section of the hairline, around and down the back of her head and neck.
xxFinished she wiped the excess lather from around the hairline, shook some powder on the hair duster and dusted around the young girl’s head.
xxStepping to the right side she reached across and pulled the cape off, as her left hand pushed on the handle lowering the chair.
xxWhen the chair came to a stop she helped the young girl off the booster seat. Her mom had walked to the chair and was brushing her hand over her daughter’s new short hair cut.
xxThe young girl looked up at her and smiled, “Short for the summer and out of my eyes”.
xxShe walked to one of the empty waiting chair and sat, as her mom sat in the chair.
xxMandy caped her and begin pumping the chair up to a working height, as she caught site of her eyes looking at her daughter.
xxThe young girl was smiling and brushing her little hands over her head, as her little legs swung wildly.
xxInstead of asking mom, Mandy just picked up the clippers and put the quarter inch attachment on.
xxShe stepped to the right side of the chair, turned the clippers on, and begins buzzing away at mom’s hair.
xxSlowly she moved the clippers up the side of her head sending pile after pile of hair into her lap, slowly working around her head, up the back of her neck and head as piles of hair fell to the floor, behind the chair, then over the left side of her head.
xxWalking behind the chair Mandy brought the clippers over her head, placed it to the right of the first pass and slowly moved the clippers back over her head. With five more passes she had buzz mom hair to a quarter of an inch all over.
xxShe turned to the shelf and started to turn the clippers off, but she stood there looking at her self in the mirror.
xxTaking a deep breath the removed the quarter inch attachment and placed it on the shelf.
xxWith the clippers still singing she turned and moved the clippers over mom’s head, in full view as mom watched in the large mirror in front of her.
xxShe slowly lowered the clippers in place, in the center of her head at the hairline, and slowly moved it back over the center of her head leaving behind hair an eighth in length.
xxShe continued not making eye contact with her in the mirror.
xxWith the top of her head buzzed close to the scalp, Mandy walked to the left side of the chair and begin buzzing away. Working her way to the left side, she left behind “peach fuzz”.
xxSlowly walking around the back of the barber chair, she brushed her free hand over mom’s head checking for unbuzzed hair.
xxStanding on the right side, she began buzzing mom’s right side of her head.
xxTurning the clippers off, she placed it to rest under the shelf on a hook. She took a large white towel and shook it out.
xxShe turned and undid the cape, pushing each side over mom’s shoulder to slid downward.
xxShe tucked the towel in her blouse, and turned and stepped to the dispenser.
xxLetting a larger pile fill her left fingertips, she turned and begins spreading the lather along the hairline from the left side to the right.
xxShe started to step away, but mom turned and looked at her.
xxMandy got a lump in her throat, there was still some lather on her fingertips and she started to spread it over the right side of her head.
xxShe stopped and walked behind the chair.
xxShe rinsed her finger tips off and wiped them dry.
xxShe picked up the straight razor and turned, took hold of the leather strap and stropped the blade over it, as mom watched.
xxWith the lump still in her throat, and the thought of what she almost did, she begin razor edging mom’s hairline.
xxWhen she was finished, Mandy took a deep breath thinking maybe she should just go for it.
xxBut, she closed the razor and placed it on the shelf.
xxShe shook powder on the hair duster and dusted around mom’s head. She removed the cape and lowered the chair.
xxWhen it came to a rest mom brushed her finger over her head, “Nice.
xx“Just what I need for the summer”.
xxShe stepped from the chair.
xxHer young daughter got up and brought her purse to her. Mom opened it and handed Mandy three ten dollars bills, “One is your tip”.
xxShe and her daughter walked out talking about how dad was going to be very surprised.
xxJust as they walked out in walked another woman.
xxShe was well dressed in a matching blouse and skirt, with matching five-inch high heels.
xxShe started to sit when Mandy motioned her to her chair, “They are waiting for the other barbers”.
xxThe woman walked to the chair and sat in it, then crossed her legs as Mandy caped her.
xxNothing was said by either one.
xxNot even when Mandy walked from behind the chair with the attachment less clippers singing its song.
xxThe woman looked forward into the large mirror, as Mandy brushed her hair back off her face.
xxThis was followed by her raising the clippers to center of her forehead at hairline.
xxSlowly she moved the clippers back over her head, buzzing her hair closer to her scalp.
xxCloser than she did the mom and daughter who had just walked out the barbershop.
xxStill not saying a word Mandy moved the clippers over her head until she had buzz the right side to almost nothing. Walking around behind the chair to the left side, where she buzzed her head to the closeness of the right side.
xxWith all her hair buzz off and on the floor behind the chair, Mandy turned the clippers off and hung it from the hook under the shelf.
xxShe reached over and turned on the water in the sink, from while steam begin to rise.
xxShe tossed a large white towel under the hot running water, and took another towel and being tucking it into the woman’s blouse.
xxTuring the hot water off she grabbed at the hot towel until she could handle it.
xxShe turned and wrapped it around the woman’s head. She stepped to the lather dispenser and flowed lather into her left hand.
xxRemoving the hot towel, which had cooled down, she begins lathering the woman’s head.
xxI noticed the waiting customers staring at Mandy’s chair.
xxBut, the woman just sat there as if it was nothing.
xxWith her head lathered Mandy stropped the razor’s blade over the leather strap.
xxLetting go of the strap she raised the razor to the right side of the woman’s forehead and begin to shave her head.
xxStill the woman just sat there as if nothing unusual was happening, nor did either of them say a word to each other.
xxMandy worked the razor with the skill she had fine-tuned over the years.
xxFirst the right side, the back, finally the left side.
xxStepping behind the chair she reached over the woman’s left shoulder placing the tips of her left hand under her chic and pushing her head up.
xxWith the woman’s head tilted back she raised the razor to her forehead and begin shaving back over her head.
xxIt took her another five minutes and she was finished.
xxShe wiped the excess lather from the woman’s head, patted it dry, and dusted some powder all over her head.
xxRemoving the towel as she lowers the chair.
xxWhen the chair came to a rest the woman stepped from it.
xxShe turned to the mirror behind the chair and brushed her fingertips over her head, and smiled.
xxMandy was standing by the shelf and looked up at her in the mirror.
xxTheir eyes met and they both smiled.
xxThe woman dusted her blouse off, wiped her fingertips over her face.
xxShe turned shaking her skirt as she slowly walked out the barbershop, as Mandy straighten up her work area.
xxStill neither Mandy nor the woman said a word.
xxMandy turned and said, “NEXT” ……
JimB (c)opyright June 2003