I Want One Too! by Jonathan
Chris was one of those unwanted friends we often wind up with in life. He was annoying and bossy. He was a popular kid, but the weird thing seemed to be he really had few friends. He knew everyone, but no one wanted to be his best friend. This would wind up to be my lot in life!
Chris and I had the same last name, Nelson. Teachers would often use alphabetical order to make their seating charts. My first name was Jonathan and Chris sat in front on me alphabetically. I had to endure this for six years!
At lunch and other break times Chris would manage to get me away from my other friends. He was very possessive and wanted me to himself. I'm not proud of being such a follower looking back at the whole thing in my school years. I wish I had said no much more often!
Just looking at Chris you'd think he was fine. He was a good looking kid. He had an average build and height. He looked so clean cut he could have been a student body president. In fact he was voted Mr. Irresistible at a dance. Maybe his vanity added to his annoying personality. He had medium length hair slightly feathered back and dark brown. I looked just like him except lighter brown hair and not quite as good looking. People thought we were brothers because we had the same last name. We looked like typical looking early 1980's kids. This all took place in 1982.
Chris was super intelligent, yet so lazy. He never studied and he expected me to give him the answers on tests. I was a good responsible student and never got into trouble. I hated the idea of cheating. We devised a plan and never got caught. Chris handed me a tiny paper with the multiple choice questions numbers he needed the answers for. I'd write them and ever so carefully hand it up to him sitting in the desk in front of me.
As eighth grade played out I soon came to the realization that my other best friends were slipping away. Chris had worked his way into becoming my best friend. In typical bully fashion he'd succeeded. I guess this is a typical bully trait. The bully wants to isolate someone and doesn't want them to have other friends. Too bad I didn't know that back in junior high. Chris was never really mean to me. I just went along with most everything he said!
One day this kid Tim showed up with something that had all of Oakland Junior High talking. He had a radical looking new haircut. It was a flattop! In 1982 middle America at this time a flatttop was like a UFO. Tim was the first kid at our school to really go bold and brave and get a flatttop. Most kids still had longer shaggy over the ears 70's hair. This was rapidly changing and some boys had gotten their hair cut up off the ears. But a flatttop, oh no!
Chris and I first spotted Tim's new flattop during 1st period art class. It was the shortest haircut I'd ever seen on a boy. The sides and back were slight stubble or shaved zero. The shaved sides went all the way up to the top of Tim's head! There was absolutely no hair on the back of this kid's head. His ears were 100% exposed. The top of this guy's head was flat, like a landing strip! I couldn't stop starring at this thing. Just the day before he had medium length hair over his ears.
I secretly admired the bravery of Tim. I knew it took a certain amount of guts for him to nearly shave everything off. I could overhear him talking about that barbershop chair moment he went through with his friends. He said all his long wavy hair was just falling off all around him. He knew there was no turning back and all. A few people laughed and giggle, but overall he was now the coolest kid at Oakland Junior High!
My secret desire was a haircut like that. I was too serious, too clean cut, and not that brave. I liked how the stubble shimmered in the light. The top was so cool looking and flat. Those ears just sticking out of his head with no hair on them! I wanted a flatttop too. I knew couldn't handle the attention or looking like a UFO!
Chris said nothing all day about it. I knew he noticed it. I saw him looking at it. It would not be until the bus ride home that he'd say something.
"Jonathan, what do you think about Tim's hair?" asks Chris.
"It's really different, but I kind of like it," I said.
"We're getting flattops Jonathan!" Chris says.
"What, oh no I can't!" I say.
"Oh come on Jonathan don't be such a wimp!" Chris says.
Now my heart was beating and my mind was racing. My secret desire to get a flattop could come true. Chris wanted one and he obviously couldn't do it alone. He needed me to get one too. I thought he wanted all the attention like Tim was getting at school today! It was just like Chris.
I knew I needed permission from my parents. I figured I would not let Chris know my secret urge to get a flatttop until I'd given the whole idea some more time. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time! Completely eager to shave my hair, yet filled with dread.
I had seen my parent's old yearbooks and was amazed at the crewcuts and flattops I saw on almost all the boys. They'd been in school in the late 50's and early 60's. I'd fantasized for hours looking over these haircuts. I could not believe I might soon get one!
I decided to ask my dad first. He liked short hair. My mom would likely say no if I asked her first. Definitely I'd ask my dad. I realized I'd be taking another gamble. What if they said yes and then Chris backs out? I would be the only other kid besides Tim with a flattop! I needed Chris to get one too.
Just before bed that night I took one of my dad's yearbooks from 1958 into his bedroom.
"Dad, look at these flattops. Can I get one? My friend Chris wants me to get a flattop with him," I say nervously.
"Oh are those coming back in style?" he asks.
"Yeah a kid named Tim got one. Other kids too," I lied.
"Well, did you ask your mom?" he asks.
"No, I think she'll say no dad," I say.
"Do you really want one?" he asks.
"Yeah," I say.
"I'll talk her into it for you," he says.
"We can go this Saturday," he says.
"Ok, thanks," I say.
Oh no! What have I done? Now the ball is rolling and I'm getting a flatttop!
That next morning my dad said it wasn't easy but your mom said yes to the flattop. I'll take you this next Saturday he says!
"Can Chris come too dad?" I ask.
"Ok, that is fine," he says.
All I can think about now is the flattop. How cool the feeling of having almost no hair on my head will be. I'm going to look like a kid from the yearbooks.
I tell Chris about the flattop. That my dad says you can come too. Then to my shock Chris tells me his parents said no flattop! What now Chris can't get one! You go ahead he said.
I was so afraid of this happening. I did still get to have my flattop. This was going to take more guts now without Chris!
I decided to let Tim know I was getting a flatttop. It was as though I was asking permission for some weird reason. He said he thought a lot of these kids wanted a flattop but they chicken out or their parents said no. This made me feel better and even more excited to cut my hair!
That Saturday morning finally came. Sure enough there I was with my dad at the local barbershop! It was a little crowded and after a nerve racking 30 minutes of waiting I was in that barber chair.
"What are we going to be doing today?" asks the barber.
"A flatttop!" I say.
"Are you sure?" asks the barber.
"Yeah, he wants a nice short traditional flattop," my dad says.
"Ok, I'm starting to get a few kids now that want these again," says the barber.
I can't believe I got this far. I'm eager to get on with it and go to school on Monday. I finally have something Chris can't have, but wanted. I sit ready for my hair to get cut!
The barber is doing something behind me. He is readying equipment I can't see. Then he tightly fastens the barber cape around my neck. I sit super still in waiting.
The clippers turn on giving me a slight start. My stomach is all butterflies and knots. I want this so bad, but I can't handle it at the same time. Then Kkkkkk the clippers cut in on my left temple! It's too late. The hair is falling on the barber cape. It's just like that kid Tim said he felt when he got his flattop. The bare metal clipper blades send a chill through me. I can tell there's no guard or anything on them. I wish I could see what's happening, but the barber flipped the chair away from the mirror!
It tingles nicely as those smooth powerful hair clippers the barber has run along the back and sides of my head. I'm amazed at all the hair on the floor. It continues on and on. Shaving and hair falling. Now I feel cool air on my head and ears. It's so nice to feel that breeze. My head feels lighter. I feel freedom. I like the idea of my ears and scalp exposed!
Suddenly the clippers turn off. The barber clips them on a hook. Then he cuts away rapidly at what's left of my hair on top. Snip, snip and more hair falls around me. Then on go the clippers again. The top is being clippered now. I can tell it's getting close to the end. I want to see it so bad!
Finally a small set of little clippers is finishing it off. Then to my surprise comes some warm shaving cream around my ears and back. I hold super still while the barber cuts with a razor! Then more and more cutting and trimming up with little clippers. Then he puts some wax in the hair and styles the top. Finally the mirror!
I look and can't believe it. It looks like Tim! It's just as short. It's a shock to see my hair gone. The top's so flat! I like seeing my exposed ears. But this is what I wanted, right? Now to show everyone on Monday at school!