The long haired summer...or NOT by P.J.
The long haired summer...or NOT
Thanks for the comments guys. Writing these is cathartic on some level. I've repressed these memories for a long time. As you might guess I love a good divestiture as much as the next guy I just like it to end in a HOT looking shorter cut, not shaved off or bald. I love Youtube, you can see all kinds of cuts and they don't all end in a Recon or HnT.
Well get back to the new neighbors in the next story, summer vacation comes first.
My dad had 1 brother who was married with 3 boys, the youngest of which was only a year or so younger than me. They had a cottage on one of the finger lakes in upstate New York about an hour and a half from us. We were invited every summer to spend a couple of weeks having fun in the sun. The dads would either stay home during the week and appear on the weekends or commute to the big city, leaving us with mom and my Aunt. My aunt was cool, you could always talk to her about anything, having raised 2 older boys(Derek being about 7 years younger than his nearest sibling) she had pretty much seen it all. This particular year we were headed down there shortly after school got out. Mom got a bit busy with packing and preparations and low and behold my summer mop chop was forgotten about ...or so I mistakenly thought. Even if I got it when we got back I'd look O.K. for the vacation. At least I'd be able to spend time with Derek and not look like an alien. Derek and I got along great.
On the trip down, and hour and a half ride is an eternity to a kid so you gawk idly at the scenery as it goes by. We always pass a couple of run down trailers on the back roads, I observe that the boys outside playing usually have buzzed heads, sometimes shaved. I always think, poor bastards, I know your pain. Right or wrong I've always associated buzz cuts of any sort with poor kids, very bad stereotyping, but I was an impressionable kid with a wandering mind, fixated on somehow being allowed to have long hair, like the cool kids had.
We arrived Saturday lunchtime and unpacked. Derek and I headed for the water to cool off and snorkel around a bit. I noticed this year that Derek was sporting a cool long bowl cut on is sun kissed blonde locks. All cut even, side parted, a bit below his ears and dropped down a bit in back. Long bangs too. all one length, nice and thick. I thought I spotted my aunts handiwork here but wasn't sure.
At dinner that night Mom mentioned that it didn't look like Derek had had his summer haircut yet. My aunt smiled and said yes, she'd cut it before they came down for the vacation. Mom then noticed that I hadn't had mine cut yet. Oh Crap! My aunt, who I liked up to this point said "yes she'd noticed that my hair was much longer this summer than in previous years." Dad said, oh well we'd just have to wait till we got back after vacation to do something about it. Mom said we'll see. OH God! My mind went into overdrive, let's see. it was Saturday evening, the barbershops would be closed till Tuesday, yes!, maybe she'd forget by then. I said maybe my Aunt could trim it like Derek's for me. (I had nowhere near as much hair as Derek but hey, a guy can dream right?)That brought a malevolent glare from MOM. I'd better shut up about the hair. I think my aunt choked quietly on whatever she was eating at the time.
The rest of the weekend was uneventful and the Dads went off to work Monday morning leaving us with my Aunt and my always thinking MOM. We needed groceries for the week, and being by the water the Moms did not want to leave us unattended quite yet, we were probably 10 and 12 at the time. Driving in to the local town we passed a barbershop, closed on Monday of course. Mom noticed it and said "Oh good, we can make a trip in here tomorrow for your summer cut and get it taken care of. I immediately got nauseous and week in the knees. Derek looked over at me with raised eye brows and that cool looking mane. I think I might have even wiped away a tear or two. I looked longingly over at Derek and his golden mop. He gave me a "Sorry dude, can't help you look. " Why couldn't my MOM be cool like my aunt. I always had to look clipped and neat. Very dork like in my eyes. My hair, what little I was allowed to have, always had to be combed and neat unless I successfully hid it under a ball cap. The words "oh, you look so handsome!" spoken by her after every brutal shearing still make my skin crawl today. I get uncomfortable after every haircut waiting for my wife's comments. I still hate haircuts.
Sure enough bright and early Tuesday morning Mom announced she was taking me in to town to the barbershop. I tried one last time ...could my Aunt trim it instead? My aunt, not wanting to cross my mother...said she didn't have her barbers scissors here. (and to think, I used to like her) So off we went.
The short ride gave me time to get worked up about the whole situation. I sat stoically, an occasional tear sliding down my cheek. I ran my hand through the hair on the side of my head, pushing it behind my ear in a vain attempt to show it wasn't REALLY that long. I pushed the long forelock out of my eyes, for the last time I lamented. It was just getting long enough to stay pushed off to the side. We parked and in to the shop we marched. MOM was on a mission. It was early and we didn't have to wait. Mercifully there was no one else in the shop to bear witness to the massacre that was about to take place. The only thing worse than the event itself was having witnesses to my dorkification. I'd learned long ago to keep silent for these events so as not to "embarrass" Mom or DAD. The barber patted the red leather chair and said "hop on up and sit down". In no time I was capped up and ready for the shearing to start. The barber smiled, a hand on my trembling shoulder, he must have sensed my fear(I swear barbers can smell fear, just like dogs) and at least had the decency to ask "Just trim it up?" This guy was probably the only barber up to that point in my life that was fairly young looking, the rest all felt like getting sheared by my grandfather. He had a decent head of hair himself and probably wasn't much over 30. Without even a second to react, Mom piped up and said NO! "nice and short for the summer please!". My fate was sealed. Oh god, yet another shearing, I'd look like an alien again, all white scalped , ears sticking out, and having to spend the next 2 weeks with Derek and his blonde mane, the injustice of it all! The click of the clippers roaring to life gave me goose bumps, my hams locked onto the arms of the barber chair in a death grip. The inevitable pealing of the now somewhat long hair, just curling nicely over my ears began. The barber was slow and methodical, taking everything down to a 1/4" I assumed. I could feel the disgusting clippers shaving right up to the part line. God! I'd look like a skin headed dork yet again. Around the back, pealing the soft curls that had just started to hang below my hair line, barely long enough to actually have something to run your hands through, and down the other side he shaved, the cap getting full of my forlorn looking tawny locks. I was looking out at MOM and the chairs, dark thoughts about what I could wish on MOM for submitting me to yet another butchering swirling in my brain.
For some reason, this barber at least had a bit of sympathy for my plight, unusual to say the least. MOM had settled down in a chair near the door, not too close by, and was busy with a magazine. The barber got in front of me, lifted my teary eyed face up so I had to look him in the eye, I was now terrified, and whispered softly "I won't clip the top down, I'll use the scissors, I can tell you don't care for the clippers. It won't be quite as short that way either" and he winked. I said a silent prayer of thanks to the hair gods and stopped involuntarily trembling for the first time since we arrived. He did take quite a bit of my top length off, the coveted forelock getting chopped way above my brows. When he picked up the thinning shears. He was about to attack my thick top for still more carnage and I gave a rather loud intake of breath. I hated the thinning shears as much or more than the clippers. I absolutely love a thick mane. The bulkier the better. If God had meant for us to have stubby wispy hair we'd still look like apes right? He looked me in the eye, gave the shears a wiggle and raised his eye brows, no words spoken so as not to attract attention from MOM. I gave a quick glance in MOMs direction to see if she was watching or not. She wasn't. I looked up and shook my head violently in the negative. He mercifully put them back on the shelf. He reached for some sort of hair oil or pomade, I suspect it might have been Brylcream, and slathered my top liberally with it, later I learned I still had about an inch or so on top instead of the dastardly 1/4" the clippers would have left. He slicked down my hair and plastered it to my head, making it seem shorter than he'd really left it. Before MOM could study me, he pulled the cape off and called me finished. I hopped down, staying as far away from MOM as possible so she wouldn't see my long top(big deal, it was probably only and 1" long instead of a 1/4". But what the heck, that's 4 times as long right). She paid him and we left. That was probably the only barber I'd ever been to that wasn't hell bent on removing as much hair as possible without leaving me totally bald.
When we got back to the cottage, my MOM proudly announced that that chore had been taken care of not and "didn't I look handsome? My aunt turned her back to Mom, looked at me and slightly gave a head nod of agreement while trying to communicate "I'm sorry" with her eyes. Derek took one look at me and bolted to our shared bedroom. I hadn't seen myself in a mirror yet, not having the courage to look at the carnage back at the barbershop.(probably wouldn't have been good to puke in front of the barber, very bad form) I thought Holy Crap! did I look that bad he didn't even want to be seen with me? He reappeared in a minute with one of his many ball caps and handed it to me . " I'm really sorry about the hair dude, it was looking good too". Reflexively he ran his hand through his amazing pile of bangs and then sheepishly said, "oops sorry" again. I said, thanks for the hat, don't rub it in though and smacked him up on the side of his head with my hand, catching in his long fringe, causing it to slide over his face again. Wow what a mop. What iI wouldn't give to run my ahnd through that thick mane. Wonder what that'd look like getting sheared down with the clippers and a number 2 guard. (Oops, sorry.) I had to stop that train of thought, I found myself getting aroused, to my surprise, and he was my cousin after all, and I was going to be spending the rest of this week and all of the next with him. Not sure if I can take it. Maybe I can persuade him to wear a hat in sympathy? I had a fleeting thought of what it'd be like if I were wielding the scissors, just "trimming it up" real short. "Stop that" I said to myself. The next few days were going to be torture on my groin. I hadn't yet learned the value of a Jock strap.
The rest of the week was relatively uneventful. We got to swim a lot and do some "on our own" hikes up the ravines around the cottage. I marveled at Derek's hair, he could get out of the water hair soaked, plastered to his head. He'd give his head a few violent shakes to get most of the water out, push his bangs back and look perfect. He was a generally well built kid and the hair made him look really cool.
My 2 older cousins joined us that weekend, both having weekday summer jobs that had kept them home with my uncle. To my annoyance they both had long hair like Derek. The oldest simply had a center parted cut almost to his shoulders, thick dark brown hair all cut the same length. The middle cousin had gorgeous wavy light brown hair, side parted, all one length nearly to his shoulders. His wavy fringe down to his chin when it slid around, it kept having to be pushed to the side to stay out of his face. Wow, don't I wish! I wanted to run my hands through it, it looked so heavy and thick, the waves gave it incredible body! I was in for a rough weekend. I could tell my MOM was aghast at the mops the 3 collectively had. I was in AWE, could I go live with them? Please? Or maybe MOM would relent, seeing close family that was keeping up with the times. (OK, a guy can hope right?) I was surrounded by hot looking heads of hair, and me with my hat.
I survived that vacation, and many more with those guys, Derek and I are still close to this day. Karma is a bitch though. He suffered from MPB early on and shortly after college was cutting it short. He has a shaved head today. Poor Bastard.