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My Last Time Ever in a Barbershop by Ken


My mom always took me with her when she got her hair done. In the little plaza was Joey's Barber shop and next door was a beauty salon run by Joey's wife. My mom would give me the money for a haircut and she'd get her hair done. When I was done, I'd go next door and wait. My hair was a light blonde, a little curly and about 2 inches long. This was 1972, and of course longer hair was the fashion.

My mom would drop me off at Joey's and tell Joey, "Whatever he want's as long as he gets it cut, okay Joey?" Usually Joey would be cutting someone's hair and would just nod.

It was the first day of summer vacation and was already hot outside. I took a seat and read a Golf Digest magazine while I waited. I'd been wanting to get my haircut real short, maybe even bald for a long time, and was thinking this would be the day. My mom did say whatever I wanted, so I was hoping Joey would go along with it. There was one person before me, he was about 16. When it was his turn, he took his seat. I just kept reading the magazine and wasn't paying attention until I heard the clippers. He was getting his hair cut real short. His hair was maybe about 4 inches long and touching his collar and shoulders. I couldn't believe how short it was. I liked how it looked when he was done. The top was maybe a quarter an inch but the sides were right to the scalp.

Joey called me up and I took my seat. He put the cape around me and asked me how I wanted it cut. "I want it shaved all off."

"Like the guy who just left?" he asked.

"No, I want it bald, shaved smooth. Can you do that?"

"Kenny, are you sure?"

"My mom said I could get it cut however I wanted and that's how I want it. Can you do that?"

"Sure I can, but it's quite a drastic step. But you mom did say that. And it will be cooler and will grow back quite a bit over the summer before school begins."

"Yeah," I said, my confidence growing.

He spun the chair away from the mirror so I couldn't watch. He put the clipper up to the side and I felt it cutting the hair. I could feel the coolness of the shop as he cut more and more hair. Then he ran the clippers over the top, eliminating what little I had left up there. Then he took a hot towel and placed it over my scalp and rubbed my head before covering it up with shaving cream. He sharpened his razor on a leather strap and slowly began to shave my head. He'd moisten the shaving cream periodically. I could feel the scraping and eventually feel the razor run over the smooth skin. It seemed to take forever and I was starting to get a bit scared at what it would look like. I felt his hands holding my head as the razor did the work.

Finally, he was done and he rubbed my head with a moist towel. It felt really neat, the smoothness of it. Then he rubbed some lotion over it and then some powder at the back of my neck. He took the cape off and pronounced me done. He spun the chair so I could see the new me.

I couldn't believe it. I was bald as could be, it didn't look like I even had any hair at all. I guess because I'm blonde. I rubbed my head and smiled. I liked it, but figured I'd spend the summer growing it back. I got up from the chair and paid Joey the money my mom had given me.

I took a seat next door and waited for my mom to finish getting her hair done. I was a little worried about what she would say, but occasionally rubbed my head, it still being a new feeling. The receptionist, who was our neighbor, didn't recognize me at first. "Kenny, is that you?" she asked.

I nodded. "I got my head shaved bald," I said.

"You sure did. How do you like it?"

"I like it, but it'll grow back over the summer."

My mother came to pay for her haircut and looked over at me. She smiled. "That's what you wanted?"

"Yes."

"You like it?"

"Yes, but it'll grow back over the summer." I said

In the car on the way home, my mother told me how much she liked my haircut. "I don't think you're going to grow it back, not just yet at least."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, if you want it shaved, we'll keep it shaved for you. Every day. For oh, I don't know, how about one year. You can use the razor your Aunt Ann gave your father, the one he never used."

"Mom, I just wanted to see how it looked. I want to grow it back."

"I thought you liked it?"

"I do. But..."

"Then it's settled, we'll keep it shaved until next summer. You can decide then if you want to let it grow back."

And that started it. I shaved it every day for a year. I got used to it, really and so did everyone I knew. After a year, I had the choice to grow it back or keep it shaved. But, my mom told me, this was it. Grow it back and get regular hair cut, and never shave it again, or keep it shaved and never grow it back again. The thought of never being able to shave it again was too much, so I kept it. I've been bald ever since.



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