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Your Brother Wants It Short, Don't You? by Jonathan


It was the mid seventies. My younger brother Eric was 10 and I was 12. My name is Jonathan. We lived in a middle class suburb in Southern California. We both liked sports, mostly soccer. My brother was always just a little better at all sports than I was. He had those really quick reflexes. I was ok, but not great. I was the more responsible got better grades than he did.

I looked more like my father. I had his green eyes and nice face. I also had his big ears. My brother looked like my mom. Darker skin and brown eyes. He was a fast talker like her too.

We both had longer hair. It was just down the neck and over the ears. Mine was light brown and his very dark brown. I liked to keep my hair long always to cover my big ears. Every summer my brother would cut his hair very short. Not a crew cut, but just clipper short on the back and sides. It was long enough to part on top still. I just never could do that. I wasn't brave enough for it. It was the 1970s and kids had long hair. I had those big ears too. I wanted them covered.

It was early June and my mom said we're getting haircuts after school for summer. Well it really wasn't summer yet I thought. Nearly three weeks were left of school. I always hated haircuts. My stomach would always knot up. Also it was better in the summer when the other kids didn't see the haircut the next day. Oh well.

It was a very hot Thursday in the first week of June. One of those 90°something degree days. My mom drove us right after school to Ron's Barber Shop. Ron never seemed to be there. Why was this place called Ron's Barber Shop anyway? It had four chairs and usually only two barbers there. We had only gone to this shop about two years.

We pulled up in the car. My mom said ,"I will come in quick and then I'm going to the dry cleaners."

We walked in and one guy was finishing up his haircut. The kid was a teenager and had just gotten a very, very short hair cut for the 1970's.I didn't remember ever seeing this kid around before. His long hair was all on the floor. He now had almost a crew cut, but longer on top. Military short on the back and sides. My heart was racing when I saw that. He stood up to pay and I just stared. Wow, it was short!

My brother and I sat in the chairs at the same time. Both barbers were now not busy after that teenager left. My mom told the barbers, Eric my brother wants it clipper short for summer, and I don't know what Jonathan wants. He can tell you. Then my mom rushed off to the dry cleaners.

"Do you want it short too?" asked the barber. "No, just a trim," I said. "Oh why don't you want it short like your brother?" asked the barber.

"I don't know," I said. "It's so hot out, cut it short too," said the barber.

I was getting really nervous now. My mom was gone and this guy was not giving up. I had to think fast to save my hair. I had not had short hair since I was 5. Being 12 years old and attached to my hair was going to be a real shocker to loose it. What could I say. The barber next to me had already started those clippers in on my brother Eric's hair.

"Let's cut it short, come on Jonathan," the barber said. "No, no," I said almost laughing now. "Come on look, your brother is cutting it short." said the barber.

I just could not say no, no one more time. I realized I was sounding like a bady by now. What could I do. He just was staring waiting for an answer this guy was not letting up. He was not going to let me walk out of there with my hair. Could I say just a trim again? I sat there waiting for him to make the next move.

"Come on Jonathan let's cut it short," he said again. This time he reached and got the clippers. I had been worn down and defeated by now. I didn't have one more no, no in me. I could think of nothing else to say."Maybe just a trim," I said again. "Oh come on you'll be so happy if you cut it short," the barber said.

"Just cut it!" the other barber and my brother yelled. I was backed into a corner and felt my self getting more embarrassed that I didn't want to cut my hair. I was acting like a big baby now! I hated when kids acted like that. "Ok, cut it," I finally said.

The clippers popped on and I knew I'd lost this battle. My hair was going to be nearly gone. I had never had a clipper haircut, only with scissors. I felt the blades go straight up the back of my head. There was no guard on them. I could feel and see it was the bare blades. My brother's barber used the clipper's comb guards. Oh man, my hair was going to be really short.

I felt trapped and doomed right now. The buzzing kept going and going. My light brown hair was in clumps all around me and on the floor. I could see it the mirror, it was going off my head fast. There was no hair at all around my ears, they were totally exposed. The top had some hair still, I couldn't see the back at all. Oh why?

Finally the buzzing stopped. By now my brother was done and my mom came back. She said, "Oh Jonathan you got it short too this time." The barber sprayed the top of my head with water and cut and cut. There was not alot of bangs left. It was just enough to part on top. The back and sides basically were military. This was short! I stared in shock as I got out of the barber chair. I had never seen myself like this. I felt my eyes start to well up. I was going to cry, but didn't. I was twelve and told myself you're too old to cry Jonathan.

As my mom paid Eric teased me. "Private Jonathan now, look at your ears!" he said. Oh great and I'd have to face school tomorrow like this. How dumb I was not to just say no. I let the barber do this and had even said, ok. There was nothing I could do now. I was going to have to face it. As we got in the car I felt the cool air on my head. I kept trying to flip my bangs to the side and realized they were all gone now. I could see my forehead and ears in the reflection of the window glass. My worst fear had just come true. I could handle this I kept telling myself. No hat tomorrow, face it with everything showing.



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