Dad's in the Chair by Deke Cutter
Usually it is the parent that get’s the son to cut his long hair, but not in our case. My name is Jake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of short hair freak, running around demanding everybody have high and tights or something. I’ve enjoyed all kinds of haircuts over the years. I inherited my mom’s full medium brown hair. It has just a bit of a wave in it when its long. I’ve worn it long enough for a pony tail and I’ve had buzz cuts and everything in between, whatever, I decide at the spur of the moment. My dad, however, has had one haircut my whole life. His hair has always been parted on the side and worn long enough to fall about an inch below his ears and cover is shirt collar. He’s had the long shaggy sideburns that get trimmed when he gets to the barber every six weeks or so. Dad’s hair has never been as thick as mine and mom’s. When he was younger it was almost black. Now, at age 60 its white. My kids, Andy (Andrew Jacob) 10, named after dad, and Diana 8, both have their mom Susan’s light brown curly hair. Andy plays every sport he can and likes his hair to be cropped short, much to his mom’s chagrin. Diana, has a head full of curls that drive us both crazy when we try to comb them, but that Susan and I love.
Right now, my hair is fairly long. I love the way it looks and its pretty easy to get into shape in the morning, but with the warmer weather coming, I’ve been starting to think about going short. I mentioned this to mom when she and Susan were talking about little Andy’s fuzz covered head. "I’m going to be getting my mop cut back when the warmer weather comes," I said.
"Jacob, we live on the Gulf Coast, the warm weather is always here," mom laughed, "but if you are cutting your hair shorter, I wish you could get your dad to do the same. Dad drives round in that convertible of his, he swims, he’s out on the pier fishing in the wind. He refuses to wear hats and that white hair looks silly all windblown (I had to agree). He looks like a scarecrow. I’ve seen several men our age with cropped hair cuts. They look so much younger." Wow, this must be bugging mom. I’ve never heard her say this much about dad’s appearance before.
"Mom, you know what he’s like about his hair. We are not going to have an easy time convincing him unless we deploy secret agents ‘A’ and ‘D’, also known as ‘your grandchildren.’ One other thing, mom, have you run this past ‘she who must be obeyed?’
"Jacob, you know I hate for you to call your sister that. Susan, I see you trying to hide that smile, don’t encourage him," said mom barely controlling her own smile.
"Come on mom, you know Sherry will freak if she thinks we’ve "done this to poor diddums" behind her back."
"Don’t worry, honey, she thinks daddy would look handsome with short hair, I’ll tell her she gave us the idea, if it ever comes up, but with luck, he’ll think it’s his own idea."
"Here’s a thought," Susan said, "Mary (that’s mom), maybe Jake could tell AJ (that’s dad) that he’s getting his crewcut for their father-son trip to Scotland in June. Make a big deal about no muss, no fuss, how the rainy weather means hats are a must and nobody wants hat-hair."
"Hmm, that is a good idea," mom replied. "I may as well get something beside two weeks of no snoring while these two are off drinking single malt whisky all over the highlands and islands."
"Now mom, you know we’ll be doing a good bit of walking too. But, seriously, Susan likes the barber shop Andy and I use. They offer a father/son package. It’s usually the likes of me and Andy, but I’ll talk to them and make sure I have a prepaid two cut deal set for the day before we leave."
Shortly after Easter, I got my first big chop of the season, Mike took my sides down to a number two and took a good bit off on top. I have to admit, I looked great. He gave Andy a similar cut with a shorter top that would require nearly no maintenance but washing. He loved it. I stopped by mom’s and dad’s with little Andy on our way home. Mom made all the right noises about our haircuts. Dad said something fairly, noncommittal, about us both looking nice. Meanwhile Susan was dropping hints around Diana in "phone calls" she knew our little sponge was listening to, where "a friend" wanted to know what she thought of older men with crew cuts or a friend sending a picture of a man with a cropped white haircut that she left open in her browser just long enough for Diana to see.
Sure enough the next time we were together, "Agent D" went to work. "Grampy, you know, older men look very handsome with short hair. I think you should get your hair cut."
"Oh, forgive her AJ, my friend Sarah’s dad just got his hair cut very short and she had been talking to me about it on the phone. She even sent me a picture. I guess Diana has been on patrol."
"What’s the matter my little angel? Don’t you think your grampy is handsome anymore?" Dad asked this with a comic frown on his face,
This made Diana dissolve in giggles. "Silly grampy, I just want you to be handsomer!"
"Yeah, gramps," chipped in Andy, and short hair is so much cooler, even for old guys like you, I bet!"
The next week, I went in for my crewcut. This was about 5 weeks before our trip and I wanted to get dad’s reaction. "Hey Mike, wow, right on time today."
"Yeah, one of my appointments cancelled, I noticed the little guy isn’t with you this time."
"No, I’m in for a bigger change this time and he’s not quite ready for his next cut. Besides Suze is convinced that its ‘all the testosterone in that shop’ that gets him to go short every time. So, she likes to bring him sometimes. Or so she says. I think she just likes the cool music you boys have playing and likes checking you guys out."
"Hey man, we are some fine-looking barbers." So, what are you thinking of doing today.
"I told you about that trip my dad and I are taking. Well, I thought something like a crewcut would be practical for it. Plus, my mom wants me to get my dad in here for a short haircut too, you remember, so I figure if he sees me looking all fresh, maybe right before the trip, I’ll get him in for a father-son cropping."
"OK, you got good hair for a crewcut. I’ll give you a little bumper in the front that you can brush up or lay down. Let’s start with the sides at 1.5 and the crown at 2 and leave the front a bit longer. I’ll taper the bottom on the sides down to a one." I couldn’t believe how much hair was coming off the sides from a month’s grown out number 2. One thing I always loved was that scratchy feel you got after the clippers cut tight on your neck and I knew I’d be feeling it and I knew what it would do to me when Susan rubbed her hands up and down on my neck tonight. When Mike started on the top, it was like ‘holy cow’, look at all that hair raining down. When he got to the front, he switched to scissors and did that thing barbers do with thick hair to lighten then and texturize them. Then he got his little clippers to clean up the sides and back. He said, "I’d suggest taking the sideburns up above the middle of your ear, but it’s your choice." Thinking ahead to dad, I told to go for it. Then he applied the shaving cream finished me off. He took a nice matte finish pomade and applied it to the bumper and brushed it slightly to the side. Then he turned me to look at the mirror.
"Wow Mike, you did it again! I love this haircut!" Thanks buddy." I arranged for my "Son/Father" haircuts for just before our trip and headed home where, conveniently, my folks were visiting with Susan and the kids. They were all by the pool and dad was just getting out of the water after helping Diana with her swimming.
Andy saw me first. "Dad, cool haircut."
"Thanks, son. You inspired me. And I wanted to try it out before my trip with gramps. What’s everybody think of my crewcut? I think it looks pretty good."
"Babe, I hate to admit it but I love it", my wife enthused.
"Daddy you look beautiful" said Diana.
"Men look handsome," grumbled Andy.
"Very becoming, dear, I like it a lot" said mom.
"Looks good on you son, what’s it got to do with our trip?"
"Well day, with all the rain we’re likely to encounter in Scotland. You know the on and off and the mists, I figure we’ll be wearing hats or ball caps or hoods a lot and taking them on and off. So, I figured a good short haircut made sense. Plus, it will be good for the summer weather when I get back here."
"Diana here, keeps telling me I should get a short haircut, maybe I should try one while we’re on our trip."
"I’m going back in right before we leave, Dad, why don’t you come to my place, my treat they have a father/son special. I promise they are great." Dad reluctantly agreed with a little magic hug from my daughter.
The day before our big trip, dad and I arrive at the barber shop. I can tell dad is a bit nervous. He’s gone to same place forever, these barbers are mostly 30 or younger, but well-trained and real craftsmen. Mike will serve both of us. I introduce dad to Mike and suggest that dad goes first. The shop has a separate waiting area, but I choose to stand nearby like a father overseeing a child’s cut. "So", Mike says, "Jake tells me you want something like the haircut I gave him for your big trip."
Dad surprises me by saying, "I guess so, but I’m afraid I won’t look nearly as good as Jake does with his thick brown hair."
"Oh, don’t worry, I won’t cut your hair quite as short as Jake’s on the sides and the top will be cut differently too. I won’t let you leave this chair looking anything but your best. OK?" Dad visibly relaxed and Mike went to work with a number 2 blade on the sides, starting with his right sideburn and going about two-thirds the way up. He continued around starting the taper in the back and completing the other side. Dad was already starting to look so much better. Mike continued cleaning up the sides and tapering the back. Then he put the clippers down and wet dad’s hair and rather than using the clippers or clipper over comb, he started cutting the hair with the scissors, using the comb as guide. He started at the back and cut it to about an inch and continued forward. Finally getting rid of the long bangs, leaving them about 1.5 inches. He went over everything again, blending the sides into the top. I couldn’t believe the transformation. My dad had a custom crewcut and looked great. Next came the final test. Mike picked up his little trimmers and said to dad what he’d said to me a month or so ago. "I’d like to take those sideburns off to just above the middle of your ear. Its up to you, but I think it would look best with this haircut."
"In for a penny, in for a pound," said dad. Mike zipped the sideburns off, applied the shaving cream and razor to the edges. Showed dad how to use the pomade and turned him around to face the mirror. Dad’s look was priceless. "Is that me? I don’t recognize myself!"
"What do you think, dad?"
"I love it. Why didn’t I do this before. Mike you have a new customer."
With that, I hopped into the chair, got my crewcut cleaned up and the next day, dad and I started our adventure to Bonnie Scotland.