Serious Haircut by Mark Demarlo
Depending on the community and the public school system. Middle school are grades 7, 8 and 9. Some places such as our little city middle school was known as Junior High School. All three schools Elementry , Junior High, and High School were all within walking distance to our house. A typical middle to upper middle class community mostly three and four bedroom two story brick homes in the upper Great Lakes area also known as the upper penninsula of Michigan.
At 13 finally I am a teenager and in the 7th grade which has just about ended for summer break. I was just like every other kid in our small town. I wanted to be cool, to be able to have long hair and clothes that were not so out dated in style. Such as blue jeans that were not boot cut but flared bell bottoms. Took a year of negotiatians to finally be able to be up to date, somewhat up to date. Still years behind in the haircuts around town. It was a slow progress, but I was making progress. When I started the 8th grade I had grown my hair all summer. This is going to be great and I could'nt wait for school to start. My hair was to my ear lobe and could touch my nose. I now parted it down the middle. I had great hair too. It was raven black thick and shiny. I am the youngest of four kids in our family and I am the only boy. Two years apart I was the kid brother that terrorized my sisters. Two of us were in the same school during my softmore year and Marcias Senior year. Thats jumping ahead to far. Its now the last weekend of summer, school starts Monday. I could'nt be more happy. I had been able to avoid the usual regulation clean-cut haircut my dad made me maintain. Most of my friends had to surrender and get that dreaded back to school haircut. For most this school year would be the last barbershop haircut for many years to come. Unless they had a dad like mine. My dad had been in the USMC. He just missed WW!!, when he was 18 and old enough the war had been over for two years. He was able to get the fighting bug in him satisfied in Korea. My dad is all for anything military, very patriotic. He started his carrier in law enforcement while he was in the military. He served as an MP for six years. Now my dad is a Michigan State Trooper in the UP here in Michigan.
I had the best hair of any of my three sisters, and the best skin too. I may have had one zit while all of my sisters were at war with acne to the point that a specialist or dermatoligist treated them. My mom wanted my sisters to be pretty and enjoy their teen years. On the other hand my dad wanted me to be a man. To wear a tie on occasian, sometimes for dinner. Long hair was out of the question. Just trying to discuss the subject he made me get a hairvut. If I wanted to be on my dads (proud of my son) good list. I didnt question, whine, argue or refuse to get a haircut when he wanted.
We had a standard pool table in our basement. Also a model train on a track that winded through a plaster city/country side. My dad and I made this model town as a hobbie. My dad was a whole lot of fun spending every hour / minute of time possible with his family. Having his approval ment a lot to me. My mom told me that because your father is with the State Police he expects me to . my best. That means good grades, obeying the law, being honest and polite. As much as I complain to my mom and gripe to my sisters because I look like a dork. There is a strong part of me that seeks my dads approvel. I like to make him proud of me. I dont understand why he cant be proud of me with longer hair. My sister said that will happen when ice cream is served in hell. Yea real funny, and all my friends are able to have hair. Thats when I learned that we covet what we cant have. Feeling a haircut panic attack coming on I went to the basement and shot some pool and lifted weights. I was given a weight set for my birthday a few months back so I was working on getting buffed.
My sport was swimming, so we had a large pool in our back yard. I wanted to join the high school swim team when I start high school. At present I was on the junior swim team. The guppys, sort of like a cub scout, which I had been. Now I was a boy scout, camping and fishing is always a blast. A few times each summer we take our small power boat out on lake Chemung and water ski.
In our yard along with the pool there are two large maple trees and an oak tree. These trees protect the house from the hot sun during summer months. Also make keeping the pool clean a never ending job. If its not leaves clogging up the skimmer its acorns and maple seeds.
Back to going into the 9th grade and being cool. Or rather not being cool, just the oppisite. What was in store for me turns out to be my worst nightmare come true. To my horror the weekend before school started I was with my dad getting last minute school supplies. This is the last minute too. Its Saturday late afternoon and school starts Monday morning. We were at a strip mall headed back to the car. While passing the barbershop my dad stopped and said "one last thing, a haircut".
I must have turned white because I could feel the blood draining from my face. My mind was racing, thinking to myself good God no, and with my dad, oh no this isn't happening. Why now I was thinking in absolute horror. I knew better than to talk back or put up much refusal. If we were at home yes, but in public and in front of his favorite barbershop. No, the haircut would be worse plus I would be grounded. I didnt dare make a scene, I had to stay calm, I looked at my dad and said "you told me it was ok to grow it out a bit, remember"? He responded by reminding me our agrement was just over the tips of my ears, kept off the collar and combed off my forehead out of my face. As he was getting closer to the door he added. "You have had plenty of time, all summer to show me you can have longer hair and keep it neat. No, its not neat looking and its all over the place. Your getting it cut, and I want it cut short He was opening the door and said . Motioning for me to walk through the door. One mor time I said "dad please". His mind was made up, and he gave me the look he gets when he starts getting angry. So with that I walked with him into the barbershop.
A small town barbershop with three chairs but only two barbers and they worked at different times. One was part time, and he was the one who actually owned the place. His son that learned the trade from his dad worked full time. Both were clipper happy barbers, I don't know which is more likely to scalp you to the skin. They are equal as to being "clipper crazy" A week after a haircut in this barbershop and it still looks like it was just cut. Only military type of haircuts are given here.
It was the older barber who was working now. He was just finishing up with a kid I was friends with, we hung out together and went to the same school. Michael Dallas and his older brother were there with their dad. Mike was in the chair, his haircut was just begining. He had longer hair than mine and from the looks of it he was getting a pretty short haircut. It was being clipped up over his crown exposing his scalp. There was hair mounting up in his lap and on the floor all around him. We had eye contact and it looked as if he had a tears in his eyes. I thought to myself, "what a baby, he's crying like a little girl". Mike was holding back the tears. His father said "make it real short Tom" Tom was the name of the barber. Another clipper was fired up The first clipper must have been a #2 and it cut down the sides and back over the crown. Now Tom was using a #1 but not clipping quite as high on the sides and stopped justs hort of the crown.
My dad and Mikes father were talking. My dad said "nice haircut your boy is getting" Fear took over and I felt like running out the door. I knew my dad was going to make me get the same haircut. I could tell by the sparkle in his eye watching my friend being transformed to look like he goes to a military school. His hair was getting shorter, shorter than I have ever seen him with. Mike and I were in tyhe same boy scout troop. He and I will be standing out noticable with these haircuts and in uniform. seen Mikes hair this short. Tom was clipping it real closeand faded perfectly. It looked good. This is turning into a very bad afternoon. I looked at Mike and he sort of smiled at me. The top of his hair and fringe was being reduced getting shorter and shorter. Combed straight down the barber snipped it straight across up high between his eyebrow and his hairline. Then combed it to the side and snipped it again. It was cut on an angle. With some hair grooming product his hair was combed up in a small wave. His dad along with my dad inspected the haircut, good job Mikes dad said. Shave cream was being spread around Mikes ears and neck. An arch was being cut around his ears and his sideburns were cut at the top or rather his sideburns were cut off. My dad complemted the haircut once again. Mikes father said "yea, looks a hell of allot better than when we came in here. These boys looked like hippies. Mikes brother came out of the bathroom and he had a crewcut, a fresh crewcut with butchwax. This was Mikes older brother, he had his drivers licence so he had to be at least 16. I was shocked because he too had longer hair than mine when I was at their house playing bumper pool.
Off and on over the years I hung out with Mike. This was one of our off years, but I was hanging with him yesterday and we played a few games of bumper pool. Both of us were in the same grade and bragging to one another starting the 9th grade with longish hair. We were going to be so cool, but not now. His brother with a crewcut, they must have had a huge argument with their dad, and lost. I was secretly wishing I had watched Mikes older brother Jim get that crewcut. Jim was a real good looking guy. He had dark hair like mine with light baby blue eyes. The girls were crazy about him. He even looked good with that crewcut, wax and all. Lucky guy, the haircut didnt bother him at all. Heard him say to his dad that he would be needing a stick of butchwax and one of those flat combs used for short haircuts. His dad replied "just tell Tom, he will set you up when hes done with your brother".
Mikes father then added as the barber finished Mikes haircut. I told my boys that they were not going to have long hair. When they are 18 and move out of the house, they can grow it to their ass if they want. But not under my roof. The barber was releasing Mike from the cape and shaking it off. My dad looked at his haircut and said "now thats a nice Ivy" Mikes dad added "yea, thats what I told Tom to give him is a short Ivy, and I am more than pleased. The haircut is going to be a keeper"
Tom the barber patted the seat of the barber chair and told me to have a seat. I sat down as Tom was fastening a neck strip around my neck my dad said. Tom, give my boy here the same. I want you to cut it real short, but not quite a crewcut. Leave just a little in the front like you did with Mike, looks real sharp."
Mike was standing in front of the mirror with his brother. Mikes hair wasn't much longer than his brothers crewcut. The clippers fired up and began making history of my length of hair. My head started to feel light as hair was falling and pileing up on my shoulders. The barber took his brush and knocked the fresh clippings off my shoulder and they fell to the floor. The clippers continued to clip tight and up high. My scalp was visable through the raven black stubble left behind. Up and over my crown just like Mikes. Mikes hair was light brown and not near the contrast showing skin like mine. I was watching my haircut take shape in the larger mirror in front of me. Mike, his dad and brother were leaving. Mike said to me to come by their house when done. I gave a slight grin and said "sure Mike, see you in about an hour." Instead of starting 9th grade and looking cool. I started the 1970-71 school year with a short haircut that was one day old. I looked sharp acording to dad. Through most of that school year he made me keep a princeton or ivy cut every two weeks. To think I was making progress before that dredded unwanted haircut at the beginning of the year.
Now in the 10th grade once again started with a fresh ivy haircut. I wasnt permitted to grow it out even just the slightest bit. Every two weeks it was cut fresh, my dad was strict. Especially hard on me with haircuts. By now in 1973 everyone, all my friends had hair that either covered their ears or just over the tops. Most of the guys my age had to get decent haircuts starting school. Whats considered decent is just over the top of the ear, or mid ear and boxed in the back. Thats how Mikes was cut this year. I was jeleous, as I had just returned from the barbershop with an ivy thats shorter than usual. Mike even said Wow, looks like a crewcut. Man oh man is it short. Hell dude, thats a crewcut high & tight. Yea I know I said and my dad likes it so much he will probably make me keep it. Nothing I can do about it. Stand up to him and refuse to get it cut. I tried that Mike, remember? That was the last time he used a belt on me. I cant cross my dad, he will kick my ass. Thats why my hair is so short. He used the belt on me and made me get this crewcut. Until he says different its cut fresh every week to 10 days. No Mike, im going to do as im told. Mike then said wow, sorry man. I didnt know your old man was so strict. Well he is I told him. He won't let me grow it out, not even a little.
Ten days came and went, then a month to two months, three. My dad wasnt pushing a haircut at all. He was finally letting me grow it long like everyone else. Mike and his brother both had long hair to their shoulders. 1973-74 going into my senior year. I too had shoulder length hair. I was cool, I even smoked pot a few times with Mike and his brother. My senior year photo was to be taken and I got several inches cut off to mid ear. My mom nagged me so hard I finally got a haircut. That was the last haircut I had up until I got pulled over driving my dads car and the police found a bag of pot stuffed down in the seat. Right where the dude was sitting that I had picked up hitch hiking. It wasn't mine, but I was charged for it and taken to jail. I was 17 so my parents were called. My dad came to pick me up and I have never seen him so mad. He knew the arresting officers and got the whole story. How they watched me pick up a , pull into a school parking lot and passed a cigeratte back and forth. My dad knew I didn't smoke cigerrates . I was in so much trouble, my dad was going to beat my ass . I was scared to the point of shaking. Drugs, he kept saying, I am so ashamed of you. I never thought you, my son would get into drugs. He told me to tell him everything and if he catches me lying he will knock me into next week. I knew not to lie to my dad. I was so ashamed of myself, mostly because my dad was so disapointed in me. I thought for sure I was going to get the belt, but no. My dad just grounded me and upped my chores. There was never much said between my dad and I anymore, it was a dead subject. When we did talk about it he told me he believed I was telling the truth that the bag of pot wasnt mine. He was still over whelmed with disapointment. I was so, so sorry and ashamed of myself. I had always had a healthy trusting relationship with my dad. 99.9% of the time when I would mess up some how he and I would have long father son talks talking about it. Only maybe three times in my life did I get the belt and it was always for disrespecting him and not telling the truth.
Several months passed when he told me one afternoon to go and get my hair cut. He said he really liked the last haircut Tom gave me about a year ago. He added, I cant stand to look at you with that long hippy hair. "Your not yet 18, im not asking you im telling you to get your hair cut" While I was putting on my shoes I heard him making a phone call, he was talking with Tom the barber. I heard him ask Tom to give me the haircut, not the other barber. Thats news to me, didnt know two barbers were working there at the same time now.. He then said a real,real short , princeton crewcut. Then said "Thank you" to Tom and hung up the phone. "Im trusting you to take my car, you come straight home after your hair is cut" First sign of trust from him in a long time. "To the barbershop and back" . He said this handing me 5.00 and his car keys. He had a smile on his face saying "this haircut will make me proud, when you get home I will have my son back" I got butterflies in my stomach and left for the barbershop. I know its going to be a military type haircut and its going to be short. I was driving to the barbershop and thinking this must be a test. Usually he would escort me and supervise so when I got out of the chair I would have a serious haircut. I want to make him proud of me. The barber Tom was waiting " your dad says you will be coming to see me every friday" Yes Sir, every Friday.