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Very Unexpected Shave! by John Nelson


I had been at my new professional job teaching for about two years. When I was younger I had flat tops and had my head shaved several times. Now I was working and 27 years old. At this time for some reason I could easily pass for much younger. Maybe ever 21 or 22. I was an adult and working now though.

I had been going to this one barber shop for nearly two years. It was this guy named Nathan. He was just a little younger by a year or two than me. He had tatoos all over him and a longer slicked back rockabilly hair style. Nice guy, I found his shop by accident. On a walk one day he was asleep in the chair when I walked by. I did need a haircut and found I had just over 20 bucks in my pocket. Walked back down the street and went in. He looked really cool, you know one of those kind of super confident guys, even when he was asleep!

I made as much noise as I could with the door. You know, to wake him up and all. I said hello real loud. He jumped up out of his sleep. Smiled and said what could I do for you? Still looking half asleep he stood up ready to cut my hair even though I didn't really tell him I wanted a haircut. I then did tell him I wanted a haircut. Ok he said and I hopped it the chair got caped and clipped at the neck.

I told him the haircut I wanted. About a #4 on top and #3 or #2 or the sides. This was kind of short for my job but grew out so fast anyway at this length. I would wind up telling him that same haircut discription for about two years until the one day things changed.

The shop was very small, yet clean and tidy. It was had white walls, but one was red. There were some vintage red vinyl waiting chairs and two very old westinghouse table fans blowing from the fifties. A couple pictures on the wall. It was in a art district part of town the city was trying to revitalize.

Nathan followed the directions well and cut my hair well. I liked this guy and didn't have a regular barber at this time. I would go from one random shop to another. His prices where not bad either. There was something easy going about him. You know how you can meet someone and it's easy to be around them. Like that. So that little visit sealed it, Nathan would be my barber from about 1997 to 2000.

I drove by his shop on my trip home from work every day. It was on the path I'd take. If I needed a haircut I could just look in the window and see how busy it looked. One or two people waiting ok go in. Funny thing was is many times after that first one I'd catch him asleep. I would see him all over town on his bike. He'd stop talk a few and ride off. Nathan was not what you'd call a rule follower. I had a feeling he didn't drive a car because maybe a d.u.i. or something. I was a little afraid of him, just his attitude, tatoos and all. However I realized after about a year he considered me a friend.

One time I was getting the same #4,#3,#2 haircut and chatting with him about my day at school with the kids and all. He asked me what I was doing this weekend. I wandered what could this be. He explained he was moving door the street to a cheaper studio apartment and needed help moving. Really? He asked me to help him. I didn't really think I was a nerd or anything, but somehow I considered Nathan on a cooler level than me. I was sort of flattered he'd even ask me to help him. That next Saturday I did. We had some beers after and I left.

About two years went by. Then came the head shave. Here's how it happened. I walked in and by this time he would just say "the usual". I sat in the barber chair and there was another friend of his sitting watching in one of the waiting chairs. Nathan said "the usual shaved" very fast. What? Shaved, well the long buzzcut was shaved kind of. The friend in the chair was a mop top guy around 25 years old. Just kept staring and smiling all through my head being shaved. Oh boy I knew that feeling. It had been years. Those bare clippers going up the back of your head way up high. Too high to turn it into anything other than a shaved head.

Nathan was shaving my head!? This other guy left before I paid so I know he wasn't getting a haircut. I wandered if Nathan did it so he could watch my head shaved. Or Nathan just wanted to. I was a little mad, but it was something he'd do. He kind of went through life like that. During the head shave he kept saying "we're gonna get you looking all cool now John." My head had been shaved before years back so oh well. I paid walked out and said nothing. Went home looked in the mirror. A bald ball with two big ears. Oh well it will grow.

I went to work the next day nervous if having a shaved 1/16 inch bald head would be ok? Weird thing was most people even teachers and kids liked it. People said you look badass. Well ok not too bad I wasn't that mad at Nathan now. It grew out in a couple of months.

The next time I went to get the haircut I told Nathan not to shave it. He said "oookaay" like a bad little kid caught. I got the normal #4,#3,#2.

It was after this haircut I realized looking around how many people started to shave their heads. Not that many, but common more. Mostly gangsters. I started feeling like I wanted a shaved head again.

The next time I told Nathan shave it 1/16 again. He looked so happy. I would wind up having a shaved head now for nearly 20 years all because of Nathan shaving my head that one day. I never really had mpb. Sometimes in the late 90's early 2000's gangsters would hassle you. I'd get scary looking guys cone up to me aND say "su terriorio" your territory ? In Spanish.Somehow I'd always talk my self out of these scary situation without getting my as kicked. There were maybe 9 or 10 of these. I lived in bad neighborhoods.

Well Nathan's shop closed around 2001 and I honesty lost track of him. Who knows whatever happened to the guy that yes for true picked out my hairstyle for the rest of my life that one day. "We're gonna get you looking all cool John"





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