Kent The Crewcut Conver by Manny (recovered)
Kent - the Crewcut Convert
Every time anything was said about the weather it was all about the never-ending heat wave. Day after day of blistering heat, with no relief in sight! To make things worse, Kent hated hot weather and summer in general. Lounging around a pool held no allure for him when compared to hanging out in a ski lodge by the roaring fire. For one, he hated the odious task of getting all the chlorine out of his abundant mane of thick, shoulder-length chestnut colored tresses. On the contrary, when gearing up for a day on the slopes, the locks that dangled around his ears and neck were a welcomed layer of insulation and warmth. Kent was proud of his lush mane, which had remained full and healthy despite his 38 years.
The only drawback, which frustrated him from time to time, was the amount of time spent on hair care. And now the heat! Sweat poured from his face as Kent pulled his hair back into a ponytail (something he generally did not like doing). If one was to have long hair, why constrain it with a rubber band, was Kent’s way of thinking. Plus, the hair fasteners tended to damage his locks. Perhaps it should be cut a bit, Kent thought as he stared absentmindedly at himself in the mirror. Summer haircuts were, after all, a normal thing. A little pruning here and there never hurt. In fact, cutting off a chunk, including the damage-prone ends, would be a good thing. He released his locks from their constraint and let them dangle freely. Even for him, the hair was quite long. Traditionally, Kent characterized his hair as “too long” when it rested on his shoulders instead of hanging clear by an inch or so.
Kent determined to make an appointment at the salon. “I need a good summer cut,” he’d tell his stylist. “Especially with this heat, don’t be timid with your shears today.” A smile crept across his face as Kent made his decision to go forward with an appointment. Instead of his normal parlance of “trim” or “a little shaping” he’d be direct. “I need a decent haircut!”
“Uh, yes, I can come now if Jasper has a slot available at 4:00….” Woah! Things were progressing a lot faster than Kent had ever imagined. Within minutes of deciding to subject the long locks to a haircut, Kent was en route to the salon. Well, it wasn’t going to be anything like getting a sort or traditional man’s haircut, Kent reassured himself. But, he was interested in seeing more than just an inch fall. He pawed at his long hair. How much off the bottom? Two, no three or four inches! Mid collar, but leave it full. Kent gulped, that would be a lot shorter than normal! Or give a general, purposely vague, instruction and let Jasper define the length! Jasper was so attentive to Kent’s long hair that he would not be endangering his beloved locks too much.
And, if Jasper didn’t cut it short enough, Kent thought he could always go for a second round of shearing somewhere else. There was a new place in the same mall as his salon that was modeled after an old fashioned barbershop where the haircuts were done with clippers. Military styles were the rage with the young set. No, not there!! Kent laughed at the thought of himself swathed in a big white cape. But, the team of young barbers, impeccably outfitted in white tunics and slacks, was a real sight to behold. If one of them should raise his clippers to Kent’s pretty locks – well, that would be the day! And yet, a barbershop haircut would be an antidote to the heat wave…
Jasper was happy to have a client slotted to replace the last-minute cancellation. The downside was that the client was Kent, who was always so vain and demanding about his hair. Lots of detailed instructions, which were largely unnecessary, since all he ever wanted was a trim. The upside to having Kent as a regular client was that he tipped extremely well. Hair was a priority to pretty boy Kent, and he had a ton of it!
Jasper thought Kent seemed a bit nervous as he slipped into the chair. His voice was a bit strained. And coming outside his normal appointment, that was very unusual. “Sure is hot out there,” Jasper said to initiate a conversation. Kent winced and clutched the arms of the chair. Strange, thought the stylist as he observed Kent’s uncharacteristic nervousness.
“Uh, um, yeah, really hot,” Kent answered, sweat beading on his forehead. He reached up to flick his hair back, behind his shoulder. Jasper thought his client’s locks seemed a lot longer than normal. He must have really let the guy of easy last time he’d had him under the shears! No wonder he had come in for an impromptu appointment.
“So, the normal for you, just a bit of a trim?” asked Jasper mechanically. He brushed the thick, glistening tresses. Sure was a lot of pretty hair. Jasper was jealous, as he himself suffered from a severe case of male baldness pattern and had to keep his hair cropped close to the skull.
“Uh, I, well,” Kent stammered unnaturally, in such contrast to his usual direct, bossy way for giving instructions. “I thought I might have it cut shorter, on account of this heat wave.” He paused. “You know, summer’s a good time for a haircut.” Woah! This was not the normal Kent. Jasper instantly comprehended the nervousness, and his spirit soared. He stared long and hard at the cascade of beautiful hair. It was the kind women would die for, but Jasper had had never considered it appropriate for a man. Kent had just handed him a key to surrender the fort, and Jasper worked hard to contain his excitement.
“Well, then let me escort you back to the washing area so we can lather you up and get rid of the sweat! This heat is something else. I sure wish they’d service the air conditioning in here. I’m broiling!” Jasper’s voice betrayed his animated spirit despite all his attempts to act calm. He envisioned the long hair being shorn off – even clipped down to the noggin just like his own. Oh boy! But could he go all the way with poor Kent like that? Jasper started lecturing restraint for himself. After all, there was his job to think about!
As he worked the shampoo vigorously through Kent’s hair Jasper debated whether he should seek further clarification or just start chopping once he had Kent securely under the cape. The first thrust of the shears would have to really count. Jasper longed to see and enormous hank of heavy wet hair fall to the floor with a thud. And, then, the expression on Kent’s face! How would he react? Jasper massaged Kent’s scalp long and hard. It was the last time the fellow’s long, long hair would need to be washed this way. From hereon out, it would be a lot simpler once he’d accomplished his envisioned mane reduction.
Kent’s nervousness subsided with the wonderful washing that had become Jasper’s special trademark. If he had Jasper to do the deed every day, long hair would be a simple thing. He looked up, but his stylist seemed lost in thought. Poor guy, balding like that at such a young age. Fortunately for him, though, clipped heads seemed more and more the norm – even chic. That’s why barbershops like the one at the mall were returning to fashion.
Finally the wash was over. Kent’s nervousness returned as he walked back to the chair. Should he or should he not give Jasper more precise instructions? Should he caution Jasper not to take off too much? Or, should he go through with his plan of being vague?
Kent decided to follow Jasper’s lead. If he asked how much to cut, Kent would specify three inches. That seemed like change enough to qualify this as a summer haircut (well, his standard for one) instead of a trim. If not, then Jasper would be in control of the shears…
The cape was fastened in place, and Kent waited for Jasper to pop the question. Fortunately, the abundance of conditioner Jasper had used meant that combing out the thick, long hair was not a painful ordeal.
Suddenly, Jasper seized the shears. It seemed to Kent that Jasper was not acting like his normal self. His hands shook a bit as he brought the scissors towards Kent’s head. Kent began getting nervous. Jasper would certainly ask for clarification as to how much he wanted cut. No? Really, he should….
And then it happened. A bolt of emotion shot through Kent! He felt the shears high on his neck, right at his nape. Jasper clamped them shut with authority. Cruuunch! Simultaneously, a hunk of heavy wet hair fell to the floor below. Jasper’s face beamed as he glanced downward before proceeding with determined, heavy-handed chops. Oh my goodness! He was shearing it all off in back! Kent swooned. The shears chopped quickly across the back and his long hair continued to fall away in huge, wet clumps. As the hacking shears rounded the corner, mounds of blackish, wet hair fell onto the cape. Jasper beamed as he finished giving Kent a cute, chin-length bob!
Kent was absolutely beside himself. The blitzkrieg had only taken a few instants. He felt dizzy, light-headed! So much of his long hair lay lifelessly on the cape and in his lap. “I bet that feels great!” exclaimed Jasper, as he snared a lock that hung down over Kent’s left ear with his comb. “A summer haircut…” he murmured. With a determined flick of the wrist, the scissors clamped shut very near the scalp horizontally above the ear. Cruuunch. A massive amount of hair fell as the first dent was inflicted on the short-lived bob. Kent realized that Jasper was determined to take it all down short! He was so energized by the makeover, that coupled with Kent’s shock and paralysis, the near-total divestiture of the long, glossy mane could not be reversed. “You’ll be so glad once this tedious long hair is all gone…” With the mechanical precision of an unstoppable assembly line, Jasper seized the long hair, clump by clump, and whacked off near the scalp.
Jasper had long dreamed about this day. Overbearing, preening Kent cowed and silent…as a lamb before the shearer! Nothing would stop him now. Jasper was methodical in scissoring off all the long hair to under an inch in length. Mounds of shorn tresses piled up on the floor and covered the cape. Erect tufts replaced the flowing tresses all over his head.
Kent hardly recognized himself – not only his physical looks without the long hair, but the uncharacteristic passiveness as Jasper chopped everything off. He never imagined he could allow his beloved hair to be so completely mutilated in his manner. And Jasper was like a maniac or someone high on ecstasy!
Then Jasper picked up a huge pair of electric hair clippers. Oh my goodness, thought Kent! This is going too far. Put a stop to this or you’ll end up bald! But he sat there, speechless. What was wrong with him? React, man! Or live with the consequences…
Abruptly Jasper set the clippers down and picked up a blow dryer. Relief flooded Kent’s emotional core. The blast of warm air gave him time to reflect and give himself a pep talk. “If you don’t gain control of the situation, you’ll end up bald!” he lectured himself. He was a strange sight, with inch-length hair standing on end almost around his whole scalp. Like a summer-butch cut from yesteryear after a few weeks of growing out.
Jasper turned off the dryer and set it down. Then he picked up the menacing clippers again and switched them on. “No clippers,” snapped Kent. He’d recovered his spirit! What a relief.
But Jasper was not ready to back down. “Why not? I intend to give you a classic crewcut. Just like mine!” he shot back.
“I don’t want a crewcut. It’s already way too short. Just even it up and…..”
“What do you mean, way too short! You said you wanted a short summer haircut, and that’s what I…”
“I said I wanted my hair cut shorter for the summer. That didn’t mean I wanted a crewcut! So put the clippers down!” Kent insisted.
Jasper switched the machine off. “Look, let me at least taper this a bit in back with the clippers. I won’t take any more off the top. But if you ask me, a crewcut would be ideal for you. Look at how much better you look already without all that pretty girlie-boy hair!” Jasper beamed as Kent observed carefully his shorn head in the mirror.
Girlie-boy hair? Jasper’s attitude surprised Kent. He never knew that his stylist had despised his flowing locks so much! Kent reflected on Jasper’s request for a moment. Clippers?! Was he ready for them? It would be a new experience….and Jasper was right, the short hair sort of suited him. “Okay, but don’t go overboard. Just a bit. Especially on top, no shorter!”
Jasper’s hand clamped down on Kent’s head with strength and forced his face forward so that his head almost hit his chest. The balance of power had suddenly changed again. Click, hummmmm….and then the clippers were at the nape!! The vibrating teeth at his nape overwhelmed him. Kent swooned as the clippers were driven quickly up from the nape, halfway up the back of his head. He’d been duped, again! But it felt like heaven!
For a moment, Kent pictured himself in the mall barbershop, caped in white, sitting on a high-perched chair, being clipped by a barber dressed in an impeccable white tunic. And the clippers were going right across the top of his head. He was getting a crewcut!! Kent thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy, as well as the clip job that Jasper administered at the nape and around the ears. His head was like malleable clay as Jasper pushed it from one side to the other while tapering around the ears.
When Jasper stopped clipping, Kent was left with a short back-and-sides haircut that was barely long enough on top to lay down flat. Kent looked like something out of the 1950’s! Jasper even outlined someone prominent whitewalls around the ears!
“Last chance for a crewcut,” Jasper urged as he snapped off the clippers.
“If I get a crewcut, that’ll be the end of my patronage at this shop! Why continue paying $35 for a haircut I can get for a third the price at the barbershop that just opened in the mall here?”
“Good point, good point,” agreed Jasper hastily, sort of embarrassed. He quickly sprayed Kent’s hair with water to get it to lie down on top. “If you’d let me trim it down just a little more, you’d have a great brush cut. Such good, strong thick hair for a brush cut, Kent…”
“No shorter. I’m done!” Kent replied as he looked down at the vestiges of his long locks scattered on the floor about him. How much hair had been cut off!! He was still in a bit of shock at what had transpired during the last half hour. From longhaired to a retro-50’s look. The shining wet hair could even pass for brylcream! And to think that Jasper all along wanted to clip him down. Jasper had seized the chance to clip him….and Kent had seized the chance to submit.
Jasper’s emotions ran high as he collected the $35 – “keep the change” meant a $5 tip….Kent was pleased with the surprise, bold cropping he’d administered! If he’d played it just a bit differently, vain Kent might at this moment be sporting an old-fashioned butch cut! Oh well, the mounds of shorn hair on the floor were trophy enough for one day…for one year even!
Kent could hardly stop touching his shorn head after he left the shop. Especially the buzzed nape. It felt marvelous, prickly and furry all at once. He remembered the thrill of having his head forced down and the sensation of the hungry metal teeth at his nape. If the whole thing had only taken place in an old-fashioned barbershop….
Kent abruptly reversed direction in the mall and headed to the shop he’d fantasized about. Before, the shop was a mere curiosity. Suddenly, it had become a distinct possibility! He picked up the pace as he got closer. Then, he spotted the line of impeccably dressed barbers at their chairs. As he got closer, he saw the first barber in line – a handsome young Hispanic man with a closely tapered cut – pump the chair up so that the overgrown bowlcut of the little towheaded lad came within reach of his cutting tools. Up, up, up went the boy, who struggled to see through the dense thatch that hung over his eyes.
Kent slowed his pace as he walked near the shop. Now he was within hearing range. As the Hispanic barber picked up a pair of clippers, Kent heard him comment, “So your Dad sent you here for a summer haircut! No wonder with this heat…” The little mopheaded kid was going to get clipped. Kent just had to watch it happen.
Unexpectedly, he turned and walked into the shop and took a seat in the waiting area behind the boy in chair number one, whose chin was now pressed down to his chest. Juan the barber made a pass with the clippers that sent a burst of lovely blond hair falling in clumps and floating in strands down to the floor of the barbershop. The next swipe went all the way up the back, across the top straight to the forehead. Huge swaths of hair fell onto the cape. “You’re gonna look cute with a ‘baldie’ cut,” the barber said, half-assuring and half-mocking the lad in the chair.
“That’s what my father said,” the boy pouted.
Juan exercised a very firm hand as he clipped away the thatch. “He called me before you came and told me to make sure it was short enough to last the whole summer.” The barber gently dusted some stray strands from the clipped head. “A number one ought to do the trick. You’re too young for a head shave, Joey.” The number one attachment had left the boy with just a shadowy trace of stubble over his head which was virtually invisible, being so light in color.
As Kent was staring at the piles of flaxen hair around the chrome base of the chair, he was suddenly called by barber number 3: “You’re next fellow!” Kent panicked. He hadn’t even thought of his own plan of action in the shop, he was so engrossed in Joey’s mow-down.
“Uh, I’m, uh, I’m waiting for Juan if that’s all right,” he finally said. Juan turned around and stared momentarily at Kent. No telling what he thought.
“It’ll just be a minute,” Juan said. He cleaned up Joey’s neck and gave him a nice big dusting with the brush. “There, now you look like a boy ready for summer!” Joey smiled sheepishly as the cape was removed. He stared incredulously at the floor below and then felt his ‘baldie”. Joey smiled as he stepped down from the chrome footrest.
Juan stared directly at Kent and motioned for him to take a seat. His legs felt like jelly as he advanced to the chair. He knew what he had to do…. Juan was the perfect barber to bring his fantasy to life. And he was going to go all the way. The wonderful white cape sailed through the air and Juan fastened it extra-snug around the neck. Then he pumped up the chair a notch or two. Kent was in heaven! He didn’t wait for the question, but seized the bull by the horns. “Give me a classic crewcut, but make it extra tight! This heat wave is terrible.”
“A number one all over, just like Joey’s? Sure thing!” said Juan as he combed through the hair before picking up the clippers. “Another ‘baldie’ coming up!” The clippers came straight to the forehead and the image in the mirror was no illusion this time: the strapping barber in his spotless white tunic began to administer a severely short butch cut with the clippers sailing across the top of Kent’s head! There was no turning back. His days as a longhair were definitely over. Kent was a crewcut convert.