Agents of D.A.M.M. Part 1: How It Starte by BaldSurfer
Bryce has been my best friend since the third grade. For many years now, we were the founders and recruiters for our movement, D.A.M.M: Dudes Against Messy Mops. This is our story...
My name is Patrick, but for most of my life, my friends just called me Trick. Bryce has been my best friend as long as I can remember. Almost since the day we met, our friendship was easy and natural. We liked the same TV shows, movies, music, sports. We always had each others' backs. We had lots of other friends, most of them mutual, but ours was a unique friendship. Like brothers, only more so. If I'm being honest, I was always closer with Bryce than with my older brother Brian. But let's get to the point...
The summer after seventh grade, Bryce and I had gotten really into playing sports. That summer we played as much basketball as we could, jumping into every pickup game that would take us, whether the other kids were younger or older. And it was a HOT summer. We both had pretty long hair. Mine was blonde and a bit curly. My mom loved it and never let me cut more than a few inches above my shoulders. Bryce had dark, stick-straight hair. even longer than mine. That summer, I kept wishing I could get a buzz like so many of our friends had. I didn't care how it looked - I just wanted to be more comfortable and not have to worry about it. Bryce didn't seem to care. I begged my mom to let me get a short haircut but she kept telling me my hair was "too beautiful" to cut. At 13, you already know that you don't want your mom to call you "beautiful". Bryce's parents probably would have let him do what he wanted, but if I wasn't cutting mine, he wasn't cutting his. But I kept saying "one of these days, I'm gonna get rid this messy mop". Bryce always said it would be awesome when we both could do that.
That summer, though, brought another set of changes. I was an "early bloomer", and by the end of that summer, I was a good 2 inches taller than Bryce, my legs were covered in hair that the sun has mercifully bleached. And the sun also bleached the downy mustache that spread under my nose. I tried to ignore these changes, especially since they made me different from my best friend. But as summer turned to fall, the mustache grew darker and a little more coarse.We never talked about it - because guys just didn't. But I got the feeling that Bryce felt a little embarrassed that he wasn't maturing as fast. I was self conscious and asked my dad if I could shave, but he said "Once you start, it just gets thicker and darker. You're too young. Just deal with it".
By that spring, my sandy blonde mustache was thicker, though still downy, and a few coarse thick hairs hung from my chin. But Bryce was finally catching up, and even though he had far less facial hair than me, his was dark brown and more noticeable. One Saturday afternoon, Bryce told me that he thought his dark mustache made him look dirt and he wanted to shave it. My own curly chin whiskers bothered me more than the mustache, so we went into my parents' bathroom, found my dad's package of disposable razors and lathered up and took our first shave together. We lathered up those downy mustaches - and I put shaving cream over my fuzzy chin and we felt very grown up as we shaved our faces. But then, as we washed away the foam and looked at our baby smooth faces, framed by our long hair, we both immediately had the same reaction: clean shaven and long-haired at 14, we looked younger and more girl-like.
"Dude," Bryce said, "I look like a liitle b^tch! The dirty 'stache at least made me look like a dude. Now I look like a girl! I gotta get rid of this messy mop!"
I agreed. All of a sudden, I didn't care about my mom's opinion. Shaving was supposed to make me feel like a "man" but it left me looking more like a girl.
We'd both saved a few bucks from our allowances, and all of a sudden, it seemed really important to cut our hair off. We grabbed our bikes and headed into town. Our small town had only one barber shop - Tony's - but since it was the only shop in town, it had 6 chairs and 6 barbers. We walked into a busy shop on a Saturday afternoon, and even with 6 barbers, there would be a wait. We'd never discussed what kinds of haircuts we'd be getting, so we picked up a Men's Haircut Guide book and started paging through it. We went straight to the "Short Cuts" section. We looked at Business Cuts, Tapers, Flattops, Fades, etc. But without discussing it, Bryce and I seemed to know what we both wanted. We turned the page and saw a section Called " Buzzcut - Buzz - Burr". It showed pictures of cuts from half an inch to practically bald. I felt a rush - maybe sexual, but I was too young to understand that. I just looked at Bryce and said "If I can finally get rid of this messy mop, I'm going for it. That "Number One" picture looks badass!"
"Whoa, Trick! That's like almost bald!"
"Hell yeah, Bryce," I replied. "I wanna look like a dude! I hate this messy mop. You wanna look like a man? Let's be Dudes Against Messy Mops! You with me or you leaving me hanging?"
Bryce was stammering to find a response when a barber with an open chair looked at us and said "Next! Who's first?"
I jumped up, sure as I'd ever been and took my seat. When the barber asked what I wanted, I told him a number one buzz. He didn't ask questions. Just said OK and grabbed his big black clippers. I tried to hide my new fear as he raised the clippers to my forehead, but as he pushed them through the middle of my head and I watched my hair reduced to stubble, I felt more and more like a man. It felt even more "grown up" than that first face shave, and I smiled as he clipped me down, my blonde stubble leaving me looking almost bald. As he started to shave away the sides, my downy sideburns were evident, but they quickly vanished in the clippers' wake. Halfway through my cut, another barber opened up and called Bryce to his chair. I could hear my best friend's fear as he asked for the same cut as mine. He was pale as the clippers tore through the middle of his head, his long straight dark hair raining down over his cape and falling to the floor. But after a few passes of the clippers, Bryce seemed to sit a little taller, his smile was huge and he seemed to find his confidence as his hair fell away. With his dark hair, he didn't look as bald as I did, but his remaining hair was barely stubble, with his pale scalp visible beneath it
We left the barber shop feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, and also feeling a bit more grown up. We rubbed each others'shorn heads in victory and the solidarity of best friends. I walked into my house and my mom just started crying. "What did you do to your beautiful hair?" My dad, who had shaved his head bald for as long as I can remember, came into the room, curious about the drama, and he looked at me with a proud smile and said "It's about time my boy started to look like a man."
That Monday, Bryce and I walked into school together, a little nervous about the reactions to our pretty radical changes. Our faces were clean shaven and our heads were buzzed to stubble. But most of our guy friends thought we looked cool, and the girls seemed to see us in a new light. During our sixth period study hall, our friend Devin was sitting with us. Devin had long straight hair, down past his shoulders, longer than ours had ever been. He was more than intrigued. He practically stuttered as he asked why we'd done it, how we'd done it, how we liked it.
Bryce, looking more confident than I'd ever seen him, said "We're dudes. Those messy mops were too hot, too much work, too fricking girly. So we got 'em shaved off. We're Dudes Against Messy Mops. Want to join the club?"
Little did we know that we'd just started a movement that we'd pursue for years to come...