My Sister’s Summer Hair Cut
By JimB (C)opyright March 1998
“Don’t forget,” my mom called to us as we went out the door.
“I’ll pick you up after school so we can do our errands.”
I looked at my sister, we both knew “errands” meant we would be spending the day shopping for camp materials.
It was early June and there were only twelve days before my sister Jennifer and I would be going away to our summer camp in New Hampshire.
As the school bell rang, I looked for my older sister, so we could find Mom.
I was eleven and I looked forward to going to camp to play sports with the other boys and flirt with the girls.
Jennifer was thirteen and she too was looking forward to camp and being in the older group.
We spotted Mom and hopped into the car.
“We’re going to stop at Reggie’s Barber Shop first.
David needs a hair cut and we’ll go and get the camp stuff,” mom said as we got in the car.
We didn’t think anything of this.
Mom was in charge of the hair cuts.
There was no protesting from me.
I got my hair cut at Reggie’s Barbershop, which was located in a small strip mall on the other side of town.
Ten minutes later, the car pulled up in front of Reggie’s and we went in.
It was a traditional barber shop with waiting chairs.
The wood paneled walls had pictures of various men’s and boys’ hair cuts.
And, there was a price list in one corner.
Along the wall behind the waiting chairs was a mirror and above the mirror sat a television set.
There were three barber chairs, although there were always only two barbers.
I liked the barber shop because you could watch the television while your hair was getting cut by looking in the mirror in front of you.
Late June in Massachusetts meant hot weather and meant short hair cuts.
I remembered two years ago when mom decided I should have a crew cut and hoped it wasn’t her decision again this year for my summer hair cut.
Nevertheless, I knew my hair was going to be much shorter when I left Reggie’s that day.
Since, it was early summer and the barber shop was rather busy.
There were two brothers getting crew cuts when we walked in , as their mother sat and watched with approval.
Before it would be my turn, there was an another gentleman, and another mother with two young sons.
I picked up a Sports Illustrated and waited my turn.
Jennifer and my mother sat down and began talking about their own hair cuts at the Beauty Parlor for the next day.
Jennifer had begun to really develop as a young woman and more than once my friends would want to sleep over so they could spy on her as she dressed or showered.
She was a pretty girl, who seemed to be attractive to the boys her age.
Her hair fell to her breasts and shoulder.
It was dark brown and she kept it in a ponytail most of the time. The reason was because she didn’t have time to do it every morning before school.
It took her forty-five minutes to get her bangs just right.
I could overhear my mother suggesting maybe Jennifer should cut her hair shorter as many other girls in her class had.
Jennifer said she would give it some thought and discuss it with her friends.
As they were talking, the two crew cuts were done and the barber chairs had new occupants. The barber chair on the right had the gentleman and one of the boys sat down in the middle barber chair.
The boy’s mother approached the barber chair to talk to Francine, the barber.
Francine was Reggie’s mother and had always worked in the barber shop with her son.
Francine had wrapped the tissue on the boy’s neck and placed the cape around him.
The boy was only about six years old and his mother was very attractive.
“What’ll it be ma’am?” Francine asked the boy’s mother.
“Nice and short for the summer,” was her reply.
“You want me to take it all off?” Francine asked, suggesting a crew cut.
I remember it was the same type of question by Francine which had resulted in my own shearing two summers earlier.
“I don’t know,” she replied, running her fingers thorough her son’s hair as he sat there helpless.
“That seems awfully short.”
“It’ll keep him cool and he doesn’t have to worry about brushing it or drying it off after he swims,” Francine was persistent.
“If you’re not sure you want it that short.
“I can do it short on the back and sides and leave the top a little longer.”
“That sounds good,” she said and the boys fate was sealed.
Out came the clippers and his hair was reduced to quarter of an inch on the back and sides. His hair on top of his head was clippered to half inch.
His brother was seated next and received the exact same hair cut.
Both hair cuts were over quickly.
I did not realized it was now my turn to sit in Francine’s barber chair. I had preferred Reggie to cut my hair.
But, the gentleman in his barber chair was now receiving a face shave and I knew Mom wouldn’t let me wait.
I took my seat and the tissue and cape were placed around me.
“Nice and short for the summer?” Francine asked.
“We going to take it all off?”
I was beginning to sense Francine liked this little game of seeing a boy squirm helpless under the cape, while his mother pondered the fate of his hair.
Francine continued, “Real easy to take care of.”
“I don’t think so!” Mom replied much to my relief.
“Just make it a nice short regular boy’s haircut.”
“You got it,” Francine answered and went to work.
“That does sound nice though,” I heard my mom say behind me.
“What does?” inquired Jennifer
“Getting a crew cut!
“You wouldn’t have to spend so much time on your hair in the morning,” mom said.
I noticed Francine’s ears prick up little.
Reggie was finished with his customer and another customer had taken his place in the barber chair.
Francine began to think she might get to shear more hair than usual on this hot June afternoon.
“Are you saying you want a crew cut Mom?” Jennifer asked.
“No, my hair is already short and easy to take care of,” mom answered.
It was true.
Mom’s dark hair had been short for several years.
Short on the back and sides and curly on top. It had never been clippered.
But, she never fussed over it like Jennifer did.
“So, you think I should get one?” Jennifer asked, somewhat in disbelief.
“Short hair is in and you have beautiful features, honey,” now Mom was trying to be persistent.
“If you don’t like it, it will be grown out into a more ‘normal’ style by the end of camp.
“I think you would look adorable.”
By this time, Francine was finishing my hair cut and she began cleaning up my hairline with the small clippers.
Francine undid the cape and I stepped down.
“Not too bad,” I thought to myself.
Francine shook out the cape and called, “Next!”.
I couldn’t believe what I heard next.
“Go ahead, Jennifer, it’s your turn,” mom looked at my sister.
But, she didn’t move.
“I said, go ahead Jennifer,” she told Jennifer.
“We haven’t got all day.”
Jennifer slowly moved toward the barber chair and settled into its.
Francine put the tissue around her neck and fastened the cape around her.
“What’ll it be?” Francine asked, although she already knew what the answer was going to be.
“Nice and short for the summer,” Mom replied, playing Francine’s game.
“Are we taking it all off?” Francine asked.
“Easy to care for, keeps you cool.”
My sister sat squirming uncomfortably as I had been a few minutes earlier trapped under her cape.
Mom walked toward the barber chair and took out the ponytail clip Jennifer had been wearing.
Jennifer’s hair cascaded over the cape.
She looked like nothing more than a little head of hair sticking out from under the barber cape.
Mom put her hand on top of Jennifer’s head, running it through her hair as the young mother had done earlier to her son.
Mom pulled Jennifer’s hair back and exposed her forehead in an attempt to visualize what the results would be.
“I think we’re going to do it, nice and short, real short.
“Look how cute you’re going to look,” mom pointed toward the mirror to show Jennifer.
“You won’t need this any more.”
Mom put the ponytail clip in her purse and sat down in the barber chair was never used.
Francine opened a drawer in the cabinet, pulled out the clippers and plugged them in.
They made a pop when she turned them on and Jennifer squirmed under the cape.
“All off?” Francine asked mom while holding the clippers at her side.
“All off,” mom responded with a nod.
Francine raised the clippers to Jennifer’s forehead with her right hand and pushed her bangs back, as mom had done, with her left hand.
“Are you sure ma’am?” Francine asked as she showed mom the attachmentless clippers.
“Once I start clipping her hair she will have a buzz cut.
“Her hair will be clippered close to her head.”
“All off,” mom answered.
It seemed like slow motion as Francine pushed the clippers right down the middle of my sister’s head, spilling walls of hair off of the sides of her head and tumbling to the floor.
My sister sat there, still with long hair.
But, she had a path of almost no hair down the middle of her head.
Francine continued to plow over the top her head, replacing her long hair with dark fuzz.
When she was done with the top, she moved to the right side, and pushed the clippers back from her temple.
I was awestruck, as were the other customers at the pile of hair was growing on the cape and floor.
Soon Francine was doing the back, plowing up from her neck to her crown.
Her hair was simply being pushed to the side where some clung to the hair still on her head.
But, most fell to the floor.
The hair which managed to stay was soon on its way to the floor as the clippers made a new path.
The left side was cleaned the same way the right had been, and the dramatic part of the cut was over.
My sister, who moments earlier had been only a little head with hair spilling out over the cape, was a now a little head with hair piled on the cape.
It was a delightful sight to see.
My mom walked over and felt her head.
“It’s so soft, you look great!” mom said as Francine went over Jennifer’s head with the clippers again to get any last hairs.
“I thought you said a Crew Cut?” Jennifer asked mom.
“All my hair has been cut off.
Francine cleaned up her hairline, brushed her off.
My sister started to got up.
“Just stay seated,” mom commanded.
“Francine is not finished.”
Francine smiled and held up her straight razor.
“ALL OFF,” mom said.
Francine put her straight on the shelf and shook something in her hands.
She rubbed it over Jennifer’s head.
She wrapped a warm towel over her head.
We heard the sound of the shaving dispenser.
Jennifer just shook her head “NO”.
“NO, mom,” she said to mom.
“Don’t let her shave my head!”
“Say another word and she will shave more than your head.”
“But, …” Jennifer said.
“That’s all,” mom said and moved her fingers over her eyebrows.
Francine smiled and said, “Sure.”
Francine lathered Jennifer’s head.
She reached for her straight razor and stropped over the leather strap.
Showing it to mom then Jennifer.
“NO”,” Jennifer said as Francine began shaving her head.
The more Francine shaved, the more convinced Jennifer realized her head was going to be shave.
She just sat there watching in the mirrors over the waiting chairs.
She began breath deep. Her legs uncrossed and crossed twice.
A smile began coming to her face.
With her head shaved, Francine looked at mom.
Again mom moved her fingers over her eyebrows.
Francine raised the straight razor to her left eyebrows and shaved them off. The right eyebrows were next.
Francine removed the towel and dusted her face.
“I like it!” Jennifer said as she stood in the pile of hair which had once been on her head.
“I really do.”
“I knew you would,” mom answered.