Military Regulation If You Want! by Jonathan
It was a time I had just gotten used to my hair cut off the ears. Nothing drastic, just scissor short. I must have been 20 or so. My hair had mostly covered my ears up to this point. I'm Nick and this is a story of a barber I happened upon.
I had gone to a "style" cutting place and had my hair cut there a few times. It had progressively gotten shorter and shorter. The last two trips the hair had been cut off my ears. The trend was for shorter hair now and why not?
The style place was just ok., but lacking something. I mean who wants a haircut when someone is getting their nails done in a booth nearby? Or a woman is getting a dye job in the chair next to you. These just aren't the sights, sounds, or smells a guy wants around him when he's getting a "man's" haircut.
I was now becoming braver and didn't care if my hair was just a bit shorter. I had childhood memories of barbershop nightmare experiences where I'd walked out shorn up the back and sides. Somehow though I now was ready to brave a real barbershop once again. The smells of a woman getting a permanent or dye job had gotten to me! No more "style" place.
I remember driving around looking for that perfect barbershop. I was really ready to brave a "real barbershop". I must of checked out four or five. I'd get out of the car and park. Then walk by and look in the shop as I walked quickly past I'd glance in. I really couldn't honestly tell you what I was looking for. I knew I didn't want a beautyshop/barbershop. I also didn't want a long wait. Sometimes I'd walk by twice almost daring myself to walk in. Once you're in it's too late to leave!
Finally after an hour of searching I found one. I'd grown tired and dared myself in the car to walk straight into this place and that was that! I had hair just long enough in the front to touch my eyes and the sides were over half the ear. Six months earlier this length was too short to even consider getting another haircut yet. Now though I'd resigned myself to keep my hair shorter trimmed off the ears. I was older now too and it was time.
This shop I'd finally found was next to a flower shop in an old two story building. It looked like there were some apartments upstairs. It was an old brick building.
I walked in anxiously and sat down. The place had one of those older cash registers with the numbers the flip up sitting on a small stand near the door. There was some really dark wood paneling on all the walls.
I noticed a bunch of local soccer team pictures on the wall near the door. The place had four barber stations. Three seemed to be in use. There was a couple of gumball machines near the entrance of the shop also.
I started to sit down to wait for my haircut. Two thirty something barbers were cutting the hair of some kids. The third barber was sitting in his chair talking to the others. I wasn't really sure if he was the kid's dad or what? I realized that either way the wait was not going to be long.
"May I help you," asks the barber sitting in his chair.
"I want a haircut," I say.
"Alright, here we go," he says.
He stands up and welcomes me to his chair. I feal a bit uneasy in this place. It's a real barbershop and it's bringing back some uncomfortable childhood memories. I sit down and he puts the black plastic barber cape around my chest. Then very tightly attaches the tissue and a clip around my neck. I feel trapped and stuck already!
"So how do you want it cut?" he asks.
I'm not really sure of the correct wording to tell him. I figured just give this guy a general discription and that should be enough. He probably won't cut it that short! Well I'd be wrong on that. It was some sort of haircut fate that I'd picked this shop to walk into of all I'd looked at that afternoon.
"Just cut it a little off the ears, not too short," I say.
"Are you in the military?" he asks.
"I know how to cut it military regulation if you need it," he continues.
"No I'm not in the military," I say.
There is a military base not far from the shop. I think to myself a lot of guys from the airbase must get their haircuts here. I'm twenty and must look the age of the servicemen getting those regulation haircuts.
"Are you sure you don't need it military regulation?" he asks again.
"No I don't need it that short," I said.
"I can cut it military," he insisted.
Oh man! What's with this guy I wonder? I told him I wasn't from the military base. Why doesn't he give up on the military haircut thing? I wanted it cut just off the ears, not skinned up around them. I should have said, "NO!" I didn't realize just how short it would be. I soon would learn what "military regulation" meant.
"I just need it regular, that's fine," I say.
"Why don't you want it military?" he asks.
"I'm not from the base, I'm not in the military," I insisted.
"I can still cut it military for you," he says.
At this point I'm ready to just get out of there. It's too late and I'm stuck in that chair. This guy just doesn't seem to stop with that military regulation haircut thing of his!
"Ok, go ahead and cut it military then!" I exclaim.
"Alright, regulation haircut then," he says.
He takes a comb and a big set of whirring hair clippers. My whole body is getting tense. The comb lifts up the hair just covering my right ear. The clippers slice off my right sideburn completely. I can feel the bare metal blades hit the skin on my right temple. I realized very quickly it was going to be down to the bone! Part of me wanted to cry and part of me wanted to kick him. How stupid I was to agree to this military regulation haircut! I was screwed.
The sharp clippers shave off the hair way up above my ear. Then he runs the nasty clippers way up the back of my head. I can feel their sharpness. I'm having a terrible feeling I'm walking outta here scalped! The clippers continue way up the back of my head. Next he runs them up around the back of my left ear. As he cuts around it he folds down that ear with his finger. I want this over. I had no idea just how short military regulation could be.
He zips off my left sideburn entirely. Off go the clippers finally. This however was just the beginning of the tormenting haircut! This young barber then sprays the top of my head with a water bottle. My longer hair all one nice length on top is soon to be snipped down to just about an inch long in length. He gets that black comb and combs the hair on top straight down. I can just see the tips of my bangs in my eyes just before he snipped them away forever. With a pair of scissors or shearing scissors he continues to cut off nearly all the hair on the top of my head. At some point along in here I resigned myself to the idea I'd leave here looking like a marine. It was totally unplanned, but certain now.
Next came more clippers. He holds my head close to his chest ready to shear some more with these different clippers. This guy cuts in total silence not speaking a word to me. It was like a bad little kid carrying out his deed. He didn't want to talk much about it. He must of known I was angry. I know he enjoyed this haircut. I figured just let him have his jollies. He was cutting really close to the skin around both ears with those sharp ltitle trimmers. He grabbed my right ear tightly and held it down while the little trimmers sliced around it. Then he grabbed my left ear at the tip and held it down. Next he ran those little trimmers up the neck and towards the bone on the back of my scull. Then he tilted my head over and pushed another set of clippers hard up the right side of my head. Then he tilts my head to the left and pushes the clippers hard as they shear off more hair.
The whole thing was finished off with the shaving cream. It came warm out of a little machine on the counter. I felt it's warming sensation around my ears and the my neck. He takes a straight edge razor and shaves the hair way up nearly an inch above my ears. I'd just recently gotten used to my ears showing, so this is quite a shock to me. I held real still with that sharp straight blade razor cutting on my scalp.I felt the cool air on my partially exposed scalp. He then wipes away the shaving cream with a towel. On goes the hair blower and he blows away any loose hair from my haircut. He applies something that smells nice. Finally it's over!
"Here take a look," he says.
I look in the mirror. While I'm in shock, I actually like what I see. I noticed how visible my ears are now. The sides are skinned down zero. The inch of hair on top is so neatly combed to the left. I look like a Marine now! I can't believe I actually like this! I no longer see a kid, but a man. It's so tidy and clean looking! All my anger and anxiety subsides when I look at myself in his mirror. I liked it so much I plan to come back again for another military regulation haircut!
"That looks fine," I said.
I tipped him and then left this shop. In four weeks I'd return here again.