I arrive at my buddy Dolfy’s house for our bi-weekly movie night. We’ve been doing this for years, two platonic friends getting together for companionship, relaxation, a cocktail or two, and a few laughs. I met Dolfy through a mutual friend of ours. We found out we had a lot in common and really grew to enjoy one another’s company.
Dolfy answers the door after my first ring. He greets me warmly with a loving embrace and our customary kiss on the lips. I back up and notice that Dolfy is dressed rather unusually. He wears a shirt and tie, lightweight cotton jacket with narrow lapels, and a pair of dark khakis. He has no vision problems as far as I know, but he’s wearing some round-lensed spectacles.
“Did I not receive the invitation to the costume party?”, I ask. “Why are you made up like Floyd the Barber from the Andy Griffith show?”
“Um, you’ll see”, he says. “Come on in.”
I venture forth, filled with curiosity, expecting to see more people, a party going on, something of this nature. Make that C, none of the above. In the middle of the living room sits, wait for it, a barber chair. I don’t know what to say. As I study the scene further, I see a small tray table next to the chair. On it sits haircutting shears, a comb, makeup brush, clippers, a folded towel, bobby pins, blow dryer, and a round brush. “Who’s getting a haircut?” I manage to inquire through my bewilderment.
“Hopefully you”, he replies.
“Huh?” is all that comes out of my mouth.
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t know how to broach this subject with you. I have something of a haircutting fetish, and I have been afraid to tell you until now because I didn’t want this to damage our friendship in case you found it too weird. I attended barber school when I was younger and have always enjoyed cutting hair. I thought I might make it my career, but it became a fallback kind of thing.”
“I’m confused”, I say. “We’re very good friends. You can tell me anything. If I find something unconventional or distasteful, I won’t judge you. Tell me more.”
“O.K. I have always imagined what it would be like to cut your bangs.” Dolfy’s face is red, and he stumbles over his words. I gently caress his arm and shoulder in an attempt to put him at ease.
“Wow, I certainly didn’t see this coming”, I say. “But, strangely enough, I was going to trim my bangs this afternoon before I came over, but I got distracted and lost track of time. As you can see, the haircut didn’t happen.”
Dolfy still looks sheepish and embarrassed. I feel so badly for him, thinking about how long he has waited to disclose this part of himself. “Would you like to talk more about this? Is there something you’d like me to do?”
“Well, what are your thoughts about what I’ve said?”
“I’m intrigued, actually. I’m not disgusted, repulsed, or put off in any way. We all have our ‘things’. I’m sure there are things about myself that I might not feel comfortable talking about. This is really brave of you, and I commend you. I’m honored that you feel comfortable enough with me to share this part of yourself.”
He is visibly relieved, and I can literally see his whole body relax as I finish my sentence. “You don’t know how glad I am to hear that.”
“I think I do. I can see it in your body language. So how about that trim?”
“Really? You’d consider it?”
“I would. I’m not making any commitments, but tell me more.”
“I was really imagining more than just a trim. I think you’d look great with really short bangs.”
“How short? You know me, my bangs never go above my eyebrows.”
“I was hoping to cut them to at least a half-inch above your eyebrows, maybe shorter.”
“Yikes! That would really require me to step outside of my comfort zone.”
“I understand completely and would understand if you don’t want to do it.”
“Well, you could at least give me the trim I was planning on giving myself. How would that be?”
“Better than nothing.”
“I’ll tell you what, my friend. Why don’t we have something to eat and a cocktail? I might be more amenable with some alcohol in me.”
“You got it”, Dolfy agrees.
“By the way, that getup is pretty cute. I can say I’ve had my bangs trimmed by Floyd the Barber.”
We both laugh and enjoy the comic relief. Dolfy mixes me a screwdriver, my cocktail of choice. It’s really strong.
“No drinks for you if you’re going to be cutting my hair”, I caution him.
“Just a Pepsi.” He holds up the can to show me.
“So you won’t be drunk, just jittery”, I tease. Dolfy’s been a busy boy because he has prepared my favorite meal of meat loaf and cheesy mashed potatoes. He starts to set the table in the dining room and bring out the food.
“Please sit”, he offers as he pulls out a chair for me.
“As long as I don’t have to sit in the barber chair just yet”, I joke.
“Not yet”, he plays along.
“This looks and smells delicious.” Before Dolfy joins me at the table, he goes into the living room and returns with what I had thought was the folded towel from the tray table beside the barber chair. He stands behind me and shakes out the ‘towel’. It turns out to be a large, terry cloth bib with string ties. He arranges the bib over the front of me. It covers my shoulders and reaches down into my lap. He gathers the string ties together and ties them into a bow at the back of my neck. This is such a lovely, nurturing gesture. I’m speechless. “Thank you. That’s so thoughtful of you.”
Dolfy nods an acknowledgement of my sentiment and sits down to eat with me.
As I’m plied with comfort food and drinks, I start to relax and seriously consider this haircut situation, with all of its ramifications and implications. On the one hand, I don’t like having my bangs short. My mother practically gave me forced haircuts when I was a kid, so I really shy away from that style. On the other hand, I’m really getting tired of long bangs and have considered growing them out. But then there’s the problem of my big, huge forehead and the unsightly mole near the top of it. And what would be so horrible about indulging Dolfy in this way? It’s just hair; it’ll grow back. Who knows, I might even like it.
Dolfy has remained silent on the haircut issue, and I sense that he doesn’t want to bring it up again for fear of pressuring me. I throw up my hands and blurt out “What the hell? What’s the worst that could happen? I agree to let you not only trim my bangs, but cut them short. But only the half-inch for starters”, I add as a caveat.”
“No problem”, says Dolfy. “Shall we clean up the table and dishes and move into the living room?”
“I think we should proceed straight to the barber chair before I lose my nerve and worry about the dishes later.”
“Fine by me”, says Dolfy as he rises and comes around to my side of the table. “You don’t know how much I appreciate this.” He takes my hand, and we walk into the living room together. He helps me into the barber chair. I’ve never sat in one before and find it surprisingly comfortable. Dolfy begins to pin back the sides of my hair, separating this hair from the bangs which will soon be cut much shorter. With the pinning done and a bib already securely in place, Dolfy combs my longish bangs straight down. “I see why you were going to trim them”, he remarks. “You’re really overdue for a trim.” Truer words were never spoken because my bangs nearly cover my eyes when combed down in this way. He spritzes them with a fine mist from a spray bottle. “Now we’ll just wait a few minutes for the bangs to get nearly dry. Would you like another drink while we wait?”
“Boy, would I.” My anxiety has nearly reached critical mass, even with the cocktail I’ve already consumed.
Dolfy returns with drink in hand and kindly offers it to me. “Here you go.” He checks my bangs for dryness. “I think we’re a go.” He combs through them a few more times. “Are you ready?”
“No, but let’s get it on.” My lighthearted remark belies my mounting apprehension. Dolfy dips into his jacket pocket and retrieves a Sharpie and a tape measure.
“You know I would never betray your trust by doing something which we haven’t mutually agreed upon. I’m going to measure a half-inch above your brows and make a mark on your forehead so that I know how much to cut.”
“I appreciate your attention to detail and to my wishes.”
He quickly measures and marks, and places marker and tape measure on the tray table. He elevates the barber chair until we’re looking one another in the eyes. He picks up the shears and comb, combs through my bangs once more, and raises the shears to my forehead. I close my eyes, and the cutting begins. I feel the blade of the shears against my forehead, uncomfortably far above my eyebrows. Snip, snip, snip. Hair begins to fall on my face. Every two or three snips, Dolfy clears the cut-off hairs from my face with the makeup brush.
“You’re going to look stunning”, he reassures me as he happily cuts. “Almost halfway done” is the progress report. He has trimmed over to my temple from the middle of my forehead and then turns his attention to the other half of my forehead. More snipping, falling hair, and brushing ensue. He combs through the bangs, and I can feel how short they are on my forehead. “Would you like to take a look before I make the final adjustments?” He hands me the mirror and moves behind me, resting his hands on my shoulders. I slowly raise the mirror, deathly afraid to look. But I do look. The bangs are really short but come up only to the mark Dolfy had previously made on my forehead. He’s a man of his word! The bluntly cut bangs form an arc on my forehead, following the natural curve of my brows. Though shockingly short for me, they really don’t look half bad. I might just be able to live with this. “So what do you think?”
“Well, they will take some getting used to, but they look nice and neat. You did a great job of cutting them, and I love you for not cutting them shorter than you said you would.”
Dolfy reaches for the clippers.
“What are you going to do with those?”, I almost scream.
“I’m just going to neaten up the temples to give you a nice, finished look, OK?”
“I guess so.”
He turns on the clippers and starts to lightly shave my left temple. It feels unexpectedly good. I can hear the device removing the finest of fuzzy hairs from my temple. Then he works on the other temple.
Having survived this impromptu haircut and lived to tell about it, I begin to relax and just pray that Dolfy’s haircut fantasy has been fulfilled, at least for now. Maybe he has another friend who needs her bangs cut?