Oh No, Not Again! by Jonathan
Growing up as a teenager in the 70s was a drudge for me when it came to hair. It was a time when hair was long. Boy's hair length had reached its peak around the late 70s. Just watch any old tv show from this era and you'll see.
My battle started when I was around six in 1971. Up until this time my hair had been clippered short around my ears. It was those ears that made me want to grow out my hair. They were little sticky out ears with a small dent in each at the tip. In kindergarten some kids started to tease me about them and this gave me a complex.
Boy's hair now started to cover their ears. I wanted to follow this trend and my mom was fine with this. When I was real young grown ups always pinched my ears and said oh how cute. I'd had enough! I wanted longer hair forever once I hit first grade.
The unfortunate obstacle was my father. He was old school and thought boy's hair should be kept real short. Short like in the 1950s clipper short or even crewcuts. My mom would get me to the barbers every now and then for a slight trim over the years. Other times it fell on my dad's duty to run me to the barbers. The first couple of times I cried like a baby and carried on. All my long hair being sheared off and falling all around me. I'd feel like a trapped sheep. After those first couple shearing I'd sit through the clippered torture quiet, but burning mad inside. This was by around 9 years of age that I took it like a man.
From the age of six to sixteen there must have been 9 or 10 or these dreaded haircuts. Seemed like about one a year. I'd go from shaggy long hair to clippered way up around the ears. Right at the height of the long haired era of the seventies I'd have to show up sheared at school with those ears sticking out. No one much mentioned the ears though. It was the short hair they teased me about. I'd get white walled over and over again.
All of this put a fear of haircuts in me I'd never get over. People got used to my long straight brown hair, then off it all would come. I looked like a different kid. I look at old family photos and notice long, or super short hair. Sometimes I can look at it and remember that very haircut based on the year on the picture or my clothes at the time. Now it's weird to look at the long haired version of me all these years later. Somehow the shorter clippered cuts seem more in style today. Not back then!
One particular Saturday morning in 1977 which put me around 14 years of age is what I'd describe as the typical shearing. I'd dodge my way out of haircuts based on my fear of them turning oUT too short. This only wound up making things worse. My hair would get almost as long as some girls. It would touch my shoulders and start to get in my eyes. I'd think it looked great though, but my father had other ideas.
My father took me to Dennys this particular Saturday morning and I was going to spend the day running errands with him. Suddenly after Dennys I realized we were going dangerously close to one of the barbershops he'd take me to. There were two different ones for whatever reason.My heart skipped a beat as we neared the parking lot and turned in.
"No, please dad can't I just get a trim later this week with mom?" I pleaded.
"Jonathan I promised her I'd get you to the barbers this morning," he said.
"Oh dad none of my friends have short hair, please can't I get a trim," I said.
"Your hair is way too long and if we cut it really short you won't need a haircut for months," he reasoned.
I knew it was pointless to argue. This would often anger him and he'd tell the barber it wasn't short enough, cut it shorter. You can only imagine what a barber's idea of even shorter was back then. They'd take those little small finishing clippers around my ears and cut the hair way down to the skin a good inch or more way up around each little sticking out ear. This only made my two ears even more exaggerated! Kids at school hadn't seen cuts like this in their life. They'd tease, touch and stare. I would take two or three days for them to get over my new haircut. In a way I'd probably do the same if it was someone else, besides myself. This made me have simpathy for anyone else in school that wound up clipped like me. I can't recall on intense that was shorter than some of my haircuts back then!
We parked the car. It was still early and the two barbers were in the barbershop shooting the breeze waiting for their first customer of the day. Well in we walked. My father needed a haircut this time too. We both sat in the chairs at the same time. I was hoping for some miracle that I'd walk out with at least a little hair over my ears. No such luck!
"What will it be?" asked the barber.
I started to say just a trim, but couldn't finish my sentence.
"Cut Jonathan's hair extra short up over the ears with the clippers," my dad spoke out.
"Zero around the ears and back with enough to part on top?" my barber asked.
"That'll be perfect," my dad said.
I could feel tears well up, but fought them back. It was now that I knew my fate once again. You'd think I'd be used to it. Each time seemed just as painful as the last. The cape and tissue had been applied tight as usual.
The worst moment was that first dreaded cut of the clippers and that initial chunk of hair falling in my lap. Oh man here went on those Oster clippers. That little sound of that small electric motor getting up to speed always put a chill down my back. I even had nightmares in the middle of the night with those things coming at my hair. I'd wake up and feel my hair, oh its still there and long!
This morning was no nightmare, it was real. Buzzzitt there it came that first chunk always seemed to come off the side exposing an ear I'd tried so hard for months to keep covered. I'd try to watch in the mirror at the start. Later as the haircut neared the middle I just didn't want to look any longer. The hair would pile up on the cape, then I'd always flip that cape to clear it off to the floor. It would amaze me each time just how much hair wound up on the floor. Each haircut I'd do that flip with the cape thing about four times. The barber continued to clipper away at my poor hair until finally they'd snap off. There was the snipping of those shearing scissors that always followed. Just before though came that dreaded misting spray bottle tickling my face as it wet the top of my hair. Snip, snip, snip wet round bits of hair fell over the cape next. Soon came the part I hated the worst. The finishing touches. Those little high pitched clippers cutting the hair down to the bone around my ears. The barbers fingers folding and twisting my little sticky out ears with his finger tips!
Then came that warm shaving cream and that awful sharp straight blades on the neck and around the ears. The wet towel wiping it off finally. Then the cape being released. Those little clippers getting any stray neck hairs last. Then that blower and talcum powder brush.
The most ironic part of all was when the barber showed his hard work to you in the mirror. I'd look unwilling and each time be in shock at the stranger that was me in the mirror.
"How does it look?" asked the barber.
What was I supposed to say ,"Oh great thank you!"
I'd just nod drudgingly each time not knowing what to think. It was over once again we'd walk out. The air around my neck and ears always felt so strange in the car ride home. The worst part came next when, friends and school mates got a look at the new me!