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If You Do It by Orfeo (recovered)
If you do it
On Saturday afternoon I was busy cleaning up the store room with my Dad; it was so messy that I had been dragged into because no one could find anything. About half and hour in, most of it had been cleaned up and I decided to have a look few the really old photo albums that were stored in. The fist I opened was filled with photos of my father when he was in university before he met my mother, and he looked pretty young but quite similar to how he does now – except that while his dark hair is now cut in a medium length business mans cut, it was then cut in to a High and Tight. I’d never know my father to have his hair cut so short so I asked “Why did you stop having your haircut like that?”, showing him one of the more close up photos of his head.
“I outgrew it…..kind of like you outgrew the short haircuts I gave you” he said, with a little smile upon his face.
“Yeah but I looked really bad with a buzzcut, you look good like this.” I reply
He shrugs his shoulders and moves some paper before saying “When I got into the real world I felt it was to extreme, so I grew my hair somewhat”
“Wait a sec, you’ve always tell me to not to conform because I feel pressure, and yet you do it yourself…” I say.
“Well….I is hypocritical” he says.
I close the album and put it away, thinking.
“If you get your hair cut like you used to, I will too” I say
Dad turns around quite surprised “Really? Why….You’ve complained every time I’ve told you to get a haircut” He states.
“Well, I think you looked good back then, and all your old friends are always saying how I look like you when you were younger, so I would probably look alright as well. I guess I want a change”. Actually, my water-polo coach has told me to get a haircut, not that my hair is much longer than my fathers but it can get in my eyes. I wasn’t looking for something so short, but I’ll admit I’m interested. And short haircuts are starting to be more popular.“I don’t believe you….” He says
“Well, are you going to do it?” I ask.
“hmn….I’ll think about it.” He replies.
We get on with cleaning up and it only takes about another 30 minutes before it is done, and I can move on to more interesting things - like TV.
Maybe an hour later, my father comes up behind me and says “I’m going out”
I turn around and say “Okay” in a confused voice.
“Well are you coming for a haircut or not, because if you’re not I can just stay home” he says. I hadn’t really expected for him to agree, and so am a bit shocked but stand up and head with him off to the car.
“I have to say I’m really only doing this to see you skinned, and I have the feeling that you’re reasons are pretty similar” he says driving towards the barbershop. However when we get there it is shut – it is around 5pm so I guess it isn’t surprising. “We can come back on Monday” I say, now not so sure that I want such a drastic haircut.
“I know another shop a few streets away, we’ll see if he is open” Dad says. Sure enough when we get there his light is still on and so we park and head in. I’ve never been here before and the barbershop seems more masculine then the one we usually use, and is empty of customers The barber is probably in his late 20’s with short blonde hair. “You’re open?” Dad asks.
“Of course” says the barber with a smile.
Dad turns around and says with a smile “you’re going first?”
“No, you are” I say returning the smile.
“How do I know you’ll -?” he asks
“I will, you’ll have to trust me” I say cutting him off.
Dad nods to me, and then goes and sits in one of the two barbershop chairs. The barber puts the cape around him and then brushes Dad’s hair back with a hand.
“So…how do you want it?” he asks.
“I want a HnT flattop” dad says, running a hand through his hair for the last time before it gets dramatically shorter.
“Really, you’re sure?” the barber asks.
“Yep. A bit under and inch on top and tight elsewhere”
By now I’ve taken a seat and am watching intently – this is what will be happening to me in a few minutes.
“Okay” the barber says and grabs a bit set of clippers. He removes the guard and switches them on. A giant buzzing sound starts up. He places his hand on my fathers head and tips it a bit towards his chest. Lining the clippers up at the nape of his neck, he then slides them up the back. The sound changes and hair builds up on the top of the clippers before sliding off. He keeps on sliding them until he almost reaches the crown before tipping them to the side so the hair falls off. There is now a white stipe of skin, covered in short lengths of hair. Stubble really. He repeats the process around the white stripe until the back is clear he reruns the clippers over a small section of the back before moving to Dads left side. The back of Dads head is now covered with a spot of white. The clippers start next to dad’s ear and slide up to his temple; this gives me a different view of the hair being sheared from his head. Dad seems to be really concentrating. The guy puts the clippers behind dad’s ear and then slides them round clearing black hair as he goes. A few more swipes and the white skin and black stubble has spread. The process is repeated on the right, with more hair being clipped off and quite a pile building up on the cape and ground. When that is completed only longish black hair is left on Dad’s crown
The barber grabs a comb and starts shaping the top. Firstly he removes the bulk of hair leaving dad with short bristles of brown hair maybe and inch and a half long. He grabs a tube and squeezes a bunch out on to his hand and rubs it through dad hair, which he then brushes straight up. At the moment it looks very unusual and bumpy. He then brings the comb at right angles to the stalk of the hair, makes sure it is level and slide the clippers across. He does this again and again. The shape is generally that of a flat brush but with a depression in the centre where the hair is shorter. It is looking almost complete. He puts down the big clippers and grads a smaller set, plugs them in and switches them on. They make a higher buzzing sound. He starts at the nape of Dad’s neck and as he slides them up I notice that the path left behind is paler, almost devoid of hair and which is now building up on the front of the clippers. When he stops and tips the hair off it is barely noticeable as it falls to the ground. He re-buzzes the back, and then both sides and I think the shorter hair even more impresses the flat brush of hair that is lining the top of Dads head.
The guy brushes dad hair again, and grabs his comb to perfect that top. Again it looks like little hair is actually cut, but the difference makes it seem even sharper. Eventually, he goes “hold very still” and he slides the bare blades of the clippers along a portion of the top of Dad’s head, creating a white mark. He then re-sculpts the area around it and shuts off the clippers. He brushes it again and looks for imperfections, checking for flat-ness with the palm of him hand. He doesn’t find any, and moves on to looking at the sheared backs and sides of Dads’ scalp. Again, he uses his hand for looking for inhomogeneous stubble and finds a small patch that he quickly shears down to size with the small clippers.
The barber grabs a mirror and shows dad the cleared back of his head. He reaches out from under the cape and puts his hand on the back and slides it up. After that he twists his head to the side to get a good view and again gives it feel with his hand. He then tips his head forward to look at the top. The white mark of almost shaved scalp is like a dot in the centre of his head that trails toward the back of his head. He eventually says “Good. I like it”. The barber removes the cape and Dad stands up still looking at his hair and this time give the top of his head a bit of a brush but is careful not to mess it up. The barber says “I’ve just got to go for a few minutes but I’ll be back as quick as I can. You’ll be alright?” Dad answers ‘yep’ and the young barber disappears.
Dad takes a seat next to me, turns and says “Good as what it used to look like?”
“Yeah…I think so”.
“I agree” he replies and again stares into the mirror across from him to check out his reflection. I continue to face in his direction and get to see that short stubble close up. It really is quite short and lies almost perpendicular to the skin surface.
“You want to touch it?” Dad asks.
“Um….yeah”. I reply.
Still sitting I put my right hand at the nape of his neck and slide it up, kind of gripping my hand around his scalp. The short hair feels prickly. When I repeat the process, Dad goes “it is a bit different to the stuff on your face, isn’t it?” I nod. He also nods, and I feel the sandpaper-lined back of his head shift under me. I shift my attention to the left side of his head and use my thumb to slide past the area where he shaved early that day and where he was almost shaved a few minutes ago. It does feel different. I stand up because I want to get a better look at the top of his head. I slide my hand across the brush of hair, careful like Dad not to mess it up, and come to the closely clipped area in the centre of his head. It feels just like the sides do. Dad says “I used to have the sides and back shaved at the barber shop – smooth as. After awhile I worked out I could do it myself and save the money, so I got buzzed once a month and shaved when I got home. Maybe I could do that later…”. Dad takes my other hand and puts in on the back of his head before saying “And just think, in a few minutes when you do this you’re going to feel something pretty similar” and slide my hand up the back of his head. He has a big smile on his face. I sit down with my heart racing ahead; I’m not so sure of this anymore. Dad does look alright, but I doubt I will.
Just then the barber comes back. “You now?” he asks. I nod and get up towards the chair. I made the deal. Maybe it won’t be too bad. I take a seat and the cape is wrapped around my neck. “So, just a trim?”
“No….the same as him” I say quietly.
“Really, how old are you?”
“18” I reply
“Jeez, I can’t remember the time I gave a guy under 20 had this haircut” he says, really increasing my torture.
“Be gentle”, Dad says,” He is new to this”. He is really enjoying this….
I feel a hand on top of my head gently angling my head towards my chest. I decide to keep my eyes on the shelf in front of me. Soon I hear the big set of clippers start up, and almost straight away I felt the cold of the vibrating blades at the nape of my neck. The slide up to the top of my head and that area of my head suddenly feel a lot cooler, and very quickly are back at the base again sliding up and clearing away my brown hair. Another two passes, and I suddenly feel a thumb on the back of my head – the barber has shifted his hand and placed is left thumb on a recently buzzed section of my scalp. It is my first skin on skin contact and it feels a little weird but not bad. The recovers some areas and then moves on to the left side of my head. He tips my head to the right and then puts the clippers below my sideburn. While I was able to ignore the falling hair at the back of my head, I can’t do that now as head of hair is buzzed off as the clippers slide up to my crown. The white skin underneath automatically takes my attention; probably about as pale as dads but the stubble is light than Dad’s black and so not as easily seen. By the time I’m finished thinking this, the right side is almost done and with one more stroke the barber lets go of my head and moves to the other side. The procedure is repeated, with heaps of my hair hitting the floor. As he finishes that section I feel a hand on the back of my head as he man-handles my head looking for hair not yet clipper to the right length, and remedies a small patch at the back, before arranging my head until it is straight. The barber then grabs his comb, pulls it through my hair and clipper it down to a much shorter length. I now have a patch of brown hair a top a white head. Grabbing his tube, he squeezes some out and rubs it through my hair. When he is done that he brushes it straight up, before says “How long do you want the top?” I don’t know and just sit their frozen, but Dad says “Whatever you think would look best?” I do a small nod, and the barber says “Hmn, I think with you head shape you should be a little shorter than you’re father, maybe three quarters of an inch”. This makes me blanch, but no one seems to notice. The barber again straightens my head and starts shearing the last of my hair down again. He slides in the comb, makes sure it is level and then slide the clippers across. He then brushes out the cut hair. After about 5 minutes he puts his stuff down, stares at my hair, which is now starting to look like a short flattop and grabs his small clippers. Again he starts at the back and runs the up and down my head. He tips my head to the right and starts on the left side of my head, sliding them up many times. I can now see that the stubble left after the first buzzing is being cut in half – it seems a lot shorter. He moves on to the right side and within minutes it is too cleared. He runs his left hand over the back of my head and then the sides, but doesn’t find any reason to recover already clipped areas.
Picking up his comb again he starts on the top. While with my father, this bit was more shape and perfect but for me he seemed to still be cutting off heaps of hair. The process seems endless. Collect with comb, level, clip. However eventually he seems to finish and I move a bit. He says “Sit still” and I remember that I’ve forgotten the centre. Gripping the back of my head tightly, he slides the clippers around the centre of my head, and I eventually feel the blades pressed up against the scalp; it’s a totally bizarre felling, but it doesn’t last long. He brushes my hair again. But that is it. “Okay” he says and grabs the mirrors. Though I’ve been watching the whole process through, this is the first time I’ve gotten a good look at my new haircut. From the font a flat thatch of brown hair is flat is in marked contrast to the milky-pale skin shown between the minute strands of hair covering the sides. I look in the mirror and see that the back is pretty much totally clear of hair, with two peaks of the flattop sticking out. I twist my head to the side and see all the area around my right ear that is bare and the flat line of hair.
“So that’s okay?” the barber asks, putting down the mirror.
“Yeah” I say and he removes the cape.
I stand up and can’t resist the temptation to see how it feels, so I put both my hands behind my head and drag them up the back of my head. It feels interesting; a bit different to Dad’s. Facing the mirror I tip my head forwards to have a look at the top. The landing strip looks larger, but it might be my imagination, and using the mirror I zone in to find out how it feels. I then straighten my head and run my fingers along the brush that the top of my head now resembles. I’m still deciding how much I like it when Dad comes up and puts his hand on my shoulder. “Looks good” he says.
“Um…better than the buzz cut” I state.
I compare the top of Dads to my own and can obviously see that mine is shorter. In fact, I notice that we look quite a like now.
The barber is standing at the till and says “Now normally I would recommend one tube of this stuff, but since there will be two men in the household I would go for two”.
My father walks over and takes out his wallet “Yep, two we’re going to need”. He pays for the haircut and we walk out of the shop. It is now dark as we get into the car and drive home. The head-support is a whole new sensation. When we got home I went straight to sit in front of the TV and a few minutes later Dad joined me on the sofa.
“You know, I’m really proud of you. When you said I could go first I thought you might chicken out….even more so after my haircut was complete. But you did it. And I do think you look good; better than you did”
I nod, and then scratch an itch on the side of my head.
“I think I’ll go back in two weeks,” he says. “You want to come?”
“Uh….yeah, I think I will”.