The vouyer becomes a customer by BaldBearded
My first barbershop buzzcut experience. A true story.
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by short hair cuts. Shaved heads were not common, except on TV. Even buzz cuts were almost non-existent back in the late 70s, early 80s, when I was in high school.
After school, most kids would go to the mall. I, had very few friends, so I would usually just go alone.
I would walk around, look at the stores, looking at the men, mostly. Older, looking for that odd, bearded, balding or buzzed guy.
I would usually wind up sitting on the bench, outside Mario’s. Mario’s was real barbershop, not the fancy place my father went, to be papered and blow-dried. Mario did not get a huge amount of business, but he had a steady flow at the two-seat shop.
Every week, at least twice, after school, when I was not working, I would stroll the mall, and wind up outside Mario’s. I would usually have something to eat or drink, and a book or magazine. No internet in those days.
I am not sure if Mario knew what I was up to… he was pretty busy with his customers, but I did this for years.
I remember there was one man, there with his son, that strikes me to this day. He looked like a merchant marine, based on his clothes and his look. He had a big, scruffy beard. And when he took off his knit cap, he had a mass of thinning curls. Mario made quick work of the curls, buzzing them down to nothing in quick order. Nothing special about this cut. No beard trim, no nape work, blending, or anything. Zip zip zip, and he was down to wood, in a couple of minutes. The man handed Mario $10, put his cap back on his heard, and dragged his son out, in a hurry.
Back home, from college break, after a disastrous date with some clippers a year before (another story), I was ready/desperate for a haircut. After years of fighting it, I was finally, going to get my first, barbershop flattop. I knew nothing of recons’ or landing strips in those days. I just wanted a flattop.
I was nervous, shaking, I must have circled the place a dozen times. I had driven down from Boston, just to get this haircut, as I would never do this and show my family, I was too embarrassed in those days.
I finally had the nerve to walk in, the place was empty, and Mario was the only barber on duty. He ushered me to his chair, and asked what I wanted. I stammered out "flattop". He said sure, and started to comb out my stringy hair. "You want spikes". I thought spikes… I know that was the fashion trend for some guys, but I was not looking to gel my hair". No sir, I want a traditional flattop. He combed my hair some more, and then dropped the hair down to wash my hair.
As I sat, upright again, he combed my wet hair. "I recognize you". I froze. "Ya, you grew up near here, right, I used to see you after school, with your greasy hair". I was shaking and managed to squeak out "yes sir".
And with that, he started to cut. The chair was turned away from the mirror, and my head roughly shoved down to my chest. "You like watching haircuts, do you". I did not know what to say. Well, I think you will be happy with this cut. Thwack, the sound of the big clippers being turned on startled me. And then, it started. First the nape, the clippers slowly moved up the center of the back of my head, higher and higher, until they reached the crown. I had no idea of how short he was going, as my hair hit the floor. Then again, a few more times, and then he started on the sides. The grip on my head was vice like, as he peeled more and more hair off my head.
I wanted to see, desperately, what he was doing to me, but was still turned away. The clippers stopped, and he started combing the long hair on top of my head. "Your hair is too thin for a flattop". I was shocked. I knew, since I was 16 that I was thinning, but this was the first time that someone every mentioned it. Now. seven years later, it was obvious, my hairline was a bit sparse, and the crown, and top, thinning a bit. "Don’t worry, Mario will fix you up good". Mario took another set of clippers, and placed them at the front of my hairline "don’t you move", as he placed one hand at the back of my head.
The feeling was electric, I did not want it to stop, the feeling of the powerful clippers, plowing through my hair. The hair I hated, the hair I was always embarrassed by. It felt that it was taking hours, but it was really only a few minutes. The buzzing was done, and Mario too scissors and comb, and did the rest of work by hand.
When he was done with the top, he took out yet another set of clippers, and started buzzing my neck. Finally he was done. With a flourish, he spun the chair to face the mirror. I was, in shock. My hair was short, really really short. It was maybe a 0 all around, and about a #2 on top, with the slightest amount of bangs. "This is a called a butch cut, so when you go to another barber, you can tell him". Upon closer inspection, I saw, my hair was indeed thinning. It also looked quite out of proportion with my scruffy beard, and overgrown mustache.
"OK buddy, now lets take care of the scruff on your face", and he turned me around yet again. I explained how I wanted to keep the beard, and again, he told me not to worry.
Another set of clippers came out, and I felt them plowing through my untrimmed beard. Big tufts of beard fell off my face. Then he began to work with comb and scissors. When the beard was done, the started on my mustache. Crunch, the scissors chopped massive chunks of my big mustache, above the lip line. More combing, and then he turned around the chair. I almost did not recognize the man in the chair before me. My hair had never been that short, and my beard and mustache were almost reduced to stubble.
I certainly looked older than my twenty three years. I was sad, it looked good, but I realized that a flattop would not be in my future.
I never returned to Mario, as my family moved away, so I never returned to the mall, in my hometown. I certainly miss sitting, and watching those haircuts he gave.