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Phil's Barber Shop Part 2 by Gator
Phil’s Barber Shop Part 2
I really liked the cut which Phil had given me. Now, I had to decide was when I should go back for another cut. I decided to wait for 3 weeks.
Instead of waiting for bad weather, I decided to knock off work a little early and stop by Phil’s shop. I went home and showered pretty quickly, changed clothes, and hopped in the car. I didn’t want to go to the shop smelling like total dirt and sweat. For Michigan, it had been a hot summer day.
I parked close to the entrance and went in. There was only one guy in the chair and no one waiting. Phil looked up and smiled. "Glad to see you're back."
"You’re a week late! Have a seat."
Huh? I guess he expects his customers to be in the chair every two weeks! That answered that question!
Phil finished shaving around the guy’s ears. He took the towel and wiped off the excess lather. What I liked about Phil was that he used the towel and gently stroked to clean out the lather from your ears. He removed the cape from the older guy in the chair, went to the register so the guy could pay.
"Next man!" he barked. I chucked. "I’m guessing that’s me!" I walked to the chair and climbed in.
Phil pulled my shoulders closer to the back of the chair. I scooted my butt back at the same time. He put his white and black striped cape over me and rested it on my shoulders. He grabbed one of the neck tissue papers, wrapped it tightlyaround my neck, and then tightened up the cape. Like last time, he folded over the edge of the tissue paper and stroked the cape down my neck some.
He walked to my front and asked, "How short we going this time?" "I was thinking kind of a trim up close to last time."
"Hmm. Nope. We need to go shorter, son. You see, the first cut was done to make sure you’d come back. Now, I will take you to a more regular cut. One that will be your regular cut from me all the time."
"Yes, sir. What do you have in mind?"
"More of a short tapered cut. Clean around the ears, get it off the collar. No sideburns."
"I guess since you’re the barber and you’ve got the clippers, you’re in charge."
"That’s my type of customer. Always trust your barber, son. By the way, what’s your name?"
"So, Mike, I am thinking about a regular taper cut. More of a classic looking cut. Nice taper in the back, clean around the ears."
"Well, I’m in your chair which means that you are in charge, Phil." My Marine training told me not to argue with the man armed with the clippers who was getting ready to give you a haircut.
Since the chair was already facing away from the mirror, there wasn’t a chance to sneak a look at my hair before the cut started. Phil combed my top and then set a very rigid straight part on my left side. He combed it straight over and then unexpectedly took the front bangs and did a small flip so that no bangs were on my forehead. That had not happened to me since I was a small kid and had only happened at the end of the cut before the Brylcreem was applied. "How’d you know that was how the barber used to cut my hair as a small kid?" I asked. Phil smiled and said, "That used to be the standard back in the day. Besides, it keeps you looking young," he replied.
Phil walked behind the chair, and all I could hear was him fiddling on the back bar. I knew that he’d be picking up his clippers, but not sure which blade he would attach. Part of this cut was to be the unknown and I was a little nervous, but also excited. Phil put his hand on my hand and nudged my head forward not quite having my chin touch my chest. I then felt the clippers on my neck at the right side. The cool blade landed and was slowly taken up the back of my head. If I didn’t know better, I swore that he was going to give me another Marine high and tight. Oh well, if he did, that would be good. I was missing my high and tights, but since I had resigned from the Reserves so that I could concentrate on my studies in college, I had committed myself to have some hair on my head!
Phil took the clippers about halfway up the back on his first swipe before lifting them out and off. "Did you leave anything back there, Phil?" I chuckled. "Hell yeah, pretty boy! I ain’t skinnin’ you to the wood until you tell me to!" Hmmm. I would have to keep that in the back of my mind for future reference! Phil started again in the back and made a second pass. I still couldn’t see any hair coming off as he was making sure that what hair had been cut was landing on the floor. A third pass was made and then the chair was swiveled slowly to the left. Phil made another pass continuing his previous pass. If I looked carefully, I could almost see my left side in his mirror. I accidently moved my head slightly to see if I could get a better look. I then felt a quick smack of a hand on the back of my head! "Hey! What was that for?" "Keep your head still, Mike. This ain’t no beauty shop where you get to make comments about your cut during the cut. Unless of course, you DO want a ‘to the wood’ haircut now?!" "No, sir. I’m sorry, sir!" Phil returned my head where he had originally put it. He made his final pass up the back. He then turned the chair so that I could look out the front window. He lifted my head as he placed the clippers under my sideburn going straight up to my temple. This hair did fall in my lap. I saw that it was medium length; I wanted to look down to see how long it was but I did not want another head swat from Phil. He finished my left side and then turned the chair 180 degrees and repeated the cut on my right side. He turned to put his clippers away. I snuck a quick look at the hair in my lap. It wasn’t overly long clumps, but longer than my last cut with him. To be honest, I was used to short cuts. Phil took the neck duster to clean off what cut hair was around my shoulders and on my head. I always loved the duster as it tickled my ears.
Phil turned around with another set of clippers and his comb. He began to blend in the cut part with the uncut section of hair. His clipper over comb technique felt good. Small chunks of my sun-bleached blond hair was falling on my shoulders and in my lap. As Phil had started on my right side, he quickly kept the chair moving around as he stood in one place as he cut my hair. "Your hair is going to look good in this taper, Mike." "Thank you, Phil. It feels good so far." Phil continued to cut and move the chair around. He finally got to my left side. He turned the chair to the mirror so I could see the cut so far. I was a little surprised because I thought the cut was going to be shorter, but it was longer than I had anticipated. There was just a hint of skin showing where my sideburns had been and some skin about half-an-inch above my ears. "What do you want to do with the top, Mike?"
I turned my head to get the different views from the front, left side and then the right side. "Hmmm. I’m not sure. I’m thinking about an inch off the top?" "Good choice, son." With that Phil turned the chair away from the mirror, took his comb and scissors to lift the front bangs and started removing an inch of hair from my top. "So, if I had said to only take a ½ inch off, is that all you would’ve cut?" Phil laughed. "Hardly. An inch was coming off regardless of what you said!" We both laughed. "Have you ever given a true military cut, Phil?" "You mean like you got when you were in the Marines? A high and tight cut?" I was surprised he remembered that I had been in the Marines. "Yep. Just like that." "It has been a while. Sometimes I get some of the local recruiters in here for a cut and some of the ROTC men from the college, but none of them ever get a skinned high and tight like you’ve had." "If I asked for one, would you be up to doing one?" "Sure. What have I got to lose? You’ll be back in my chair in two weeks. And if the high and tight does not look good, then I will just give you a nice induction cut." Boy that got my juices flowing.
During this time, Phil had finished my top. He reparted my hair and applied some type of Brylcreem to my hair. He then did the bang flip once again. He turned the chair around so I could see my final cut. "Wow! That is amazing! I loved this look. Thanks, Phil." He smiled and said, "Hold on hot-shot. I’m not quite done yet." He turned the chair away from the mirror. I heard the lather machine hum. I felt the warm lather around my ears and on my nape. I remember the first time I had ever had this done in a barber shop. I knew then that I was a grown up! Phil honed the straight razor on his leather strap. He grabbed a towel and placed it on my right shoulder. I felt his thumb remove the lather from in front of my ear. He had a soft touch with that razor and I could tell it was sharp. He worked on the outline around my ears and my nape. When he finished, he took some warm water, applied to my neck and ears, and then took the towel to remove the lather. When he was done, he used the towel to clean the ears. I chuckled. "That tickle, Mike?" "No, sir. When I was a kid, my barber did that too. It’s been several years since that’s been done. Feels like I’m a kid again."
Phil turned the chair to the mirror once again. "Whatcha think, son?" I was amazed. "It looks excellent, Phil! Thanks!" He turned the chair away once again and started to remove the cape. He grabbed his neck duster, filled it with powder, and dusted my neck, sides, and face. I always loved the smell of the powder. The cape came off. I stood and grabbed my wallet to pay. The cut was cheap – only $5 at that time. I made sure to give him a $2 tip.
As I turned to leave, Phil said, "I will see you in two weeks, Mike. Don’t be late!" I smiled at him and said, "Yes, sir! In two weeks I will be back." I left the shop in barber heaven. I knew I would be back in two weeks.