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"Barber's Choice" by Thebarbered1
Alan was 25, and lived in the UK with his long team girlfriend, Ann-Marie. It was 2012, and Alan's mid brown hair was not terribly long, but he did have flowing locks, which was thick on top, rested on his collar at the back, and covered about a third of his ears.
For the last few weeks, Ann-Marie had been getting on at him about getting it cut - perhaps trying a new hairstyle, saying it was getting a bit long, that he looked so handsome, and he shouldn't be letting his hair dominate his face, as she said it was.
Alan liked his hair as it was though, and kept finding excuses for putting it off and not getting it cut. Ann-Marie was however, in a nice way, persuasive. After a couple weeks, they both arrived home from work one day, and she said to him about his hair again. "I know..” he said. Then she said, "I'll tell you what, Mike, a friend of mine at work, well, his brother, Tom, is a barber. He's only young, only about the same age as you - and he's very good – and newly trained in all the latest styles and so on. Why don't you go? I can speak to him and get him to tell Tom you're coming. He works at Jenkinson's up the road”.
"That's a really old fashioned place though” Alan said
"It's alright. Tom's his son and has taken over from his dad, who's retired” Ann-Marie said.
Alan looked doubtful. "Come on, I'll have a word tomorrow, what do you say?” She continued.
Very apprehensively and hesitantly, "Errr.. OK” Alan replied.
The next day, they once again got home from work. "I've had a word with Mike” Ann-Marie said. "Mike?” Alan enquired.
"Mike at work, his brother's Tom, the barber” "Oh yes” Alan said. "I said you'd pop down early Thursday evening. He stays open late on Thursday”. She continued.
Alan really felt he was being pushed into this, but there was nothing else really he could do. "…OK” he said reluctantly.
Thursday afternoon came. They finished work and got home. Alan got changed and they left for Jenkinsons the barbers. On the way, Ann-Marie said "I tell you what, after you've been, let's go out somewhere and get a pizza or something”. Alan felt a little bit better and agreed.
A short time later, they arrived at Jenkinsons, parking the car on the opposite side of the road. The crossed the road, opened the door and walked in. With the tinkle of door bell, a young man, who, yes, was about the same age as Alan, looked up and smiled.
Ann-Marie said "My boyfriend here, Alan, needs a bit of a haircut”
He replied, " Ahhhh, my brother Mike said you might be coming. Hi, I'm Tom, I'm just starting out here from my dad who's retired. What can we do for you then Alan?”
"Errr, I don't know really..”
"I can do something for you I'm sure”
"OK, can I leave it to you then to think of something?”
Tom smiled "Ahhh, ‘barbers choice' ah? Yh, we'll do something for you. Jump in the chair then”
He noticed Alan looking round as he approached the chair, and said "Yes, it looks a bit old fashioned doesn't it? I've got plans for this place”
Tom sat down, and Tom shrouded him in a royal blue cape. He then tucked a tissue into the back of Alan's collar, before sealing the cape closed with the sound of three snappers.
"Right, what's best for you then?” Tom thought to himself out aloud.
At that moment, his mobile phone rang out. As he looked at the phone, there was a message for him.
He continued to look down, concentrating on it, before going over to the back door, and calling out "Dad, can you do this one? The message's come”.
After a few moments, an older man came out. He was, I would suggest, in his late 50s, greying slightly at the sides. He was wearing a dark blue barbers jacket, buttoned up along his right shoulder.
"This one's a barber's choice”, Tom, totally engrossed in his phone, said to him, before disappearing out into the back. The older gentleman, obviously Mr Jenkinson, went up to Alan.
"My son Tom's got a lot on at the moment. I am retiring, but I've said I'll help him out. So…. it's a barber's choice for you is it then?”
Alan started to speak, but Mr Jenkinson spoke again… "It's alright. We'll make you looking good”.
He looked at Alan's hair and ran the comb through it.
Ann-Marie didn't say anything and simply watched, while Alan himself didn't know what to say. He found he couldn't move..
Mr Jenkinson then said "I know what's best for you. OK, head down please”, and with his hand, pushed Alan's head forward so he was bowed right down, staring at the blue cape that was all around him.
He saw in the corner of his eye, Mr Jenkinson pick up some clippers from a hook on the wall. They burst into life with a loud click and buzzing, and he felt the metal of the clippers touch the back of his neck, before moving upwards, repeating this several times all across.
Mr Jenkinson then moved his head over to one side, and Alan felt the clippers going up the left side of his head, and towards his ear. Then, holding his ear down, went around it.
Alan was getting very worried. Mr Jenkinson seemed to be going very high up.
Mr Jenkinson moved round towards Alan's front - and his beloved sideburn was gone in an instant.
He then tilted Alan's head the other way, and repeated the whole process on the other side.
As the clippers fell silent, Alan lifted his head up again and looked in the mirror. He was looking at a completely different person. His hair was now much shorter around the sides, and he suspected, at the back, and it was well clear of his ears. He also saw Ann-Marie watching him. He could not work out what the look on her face was saying. He himself, felt a bit stunned, but there was nothing now he could do.
Mr Jenkinson picked up some scissors and a comb and started snipping away on the top. Bits of hair rained down on to his blue cape in front of him.
He then combed Alan's hair straight forward, so it went over his forehead. With the scissors, he snipped across and his forehead was clear. He then combed it sideways again, creating a straight parting, before continuing to snip the ends once again.
Alan could feel his hair was much lighter – thus, much shorter.
At that point, Tom came back in. Looking rather shocked at the sight of Alan, he said "Dad.. I don't think he wanted it that short you know” Mr Jenkinson replied "You did say to me that was "Barbers choice”, and I tell you, I think he looks really smart. It suits him”.
By now, he had put the comb and scissors down, and was rubbing some waxy cream in his hands. He rubbed it into Alan's hair. It didn't look that greasy but when he re-combed it, it looked perfectly in place.
With that, he unsnapped the back of the cape and removed the tissue. He then, before removing the cape completely, produced a hand mirror, and revealed the back and the sides to Alan. It was very short. The last time he'd had his hair anywhere near this short, he must have been about 6 or 7.
He was rather lost for words, and when Mr Jenkinson asked him how it was, Alan blushed a bit before, not knowing what to say, replied "That's fine. It's good, thank you”.
He removed the cape from Alan, who then paid, and with Ann-Marie, left.
After they had gone, Tom said to his Dad "I really don't think he wanted it that short you know”.
Alan and Ann-Marie did go for their pizza, but not before said to her "I knew something like this would happen”.
"It soon grow again, and you're still so handsome” she said comfortingly.
Walking around however, he did feel very self-conscious of his new super short haircut.
Six weeks later however, much to Tom's amazement, Alan and Ann-Marie reappeared in the shop.
Alan said "We've been talking and Ann-Marie likes me in short hair. She says it looks better”
"You want it short again?” Tom asked
"Yes please, but not as short as your dad did it before”
"Don't worry. I saw the expression of shock on your face last time. I think know exactly how you want it. Do you want to leave it to me this time? Don't worry, my dad's not here now. He's at home”
Alan, slightly worried, agreed and let him put the cape on him. This time though, he ended up with a much more modern, but short style – not nearly so severe.
He was happy with the result, and after that, returned every four weeks or so for the same.