Holiday Haircut by Deke Cutter
To this day, I hate family gatherings. I always get the feeling of uneasiness about them. It all started a long time ago when Uncle Jack and Aunt Mona had us all over for a big Memorial Day party. My dad hated long hair and it was only through the influence of Mom that my hair was as long as it was (covering my ears, touch the collar). I had bangs (fringe) that reached my mouth if I didn't comb it over, which I always did, especially around dad. Anyway, the big party was starting and I noticed a couple of cars with out of State license plates. When we got to the back yard, several aunts, uncles and cousins were already there. Aunt Mona urged us inside. She wanted us to say hello to her nephew Petie and his family. They were in from Pennsylvania where Petie ran a successful hairstyling business. "Danger Will Robinson" alarms went off in my head when I heard that because, looking at Petie's two sons, I could tell that his skills stretched to some pretty brutal barbering techniques for young men and boys. Uncle Jack and Aunt Mona's daughter Mimi was a hair dresser who had a little studio in their basement. Before I knew what was happening, I was down there and in the chair with dad directing Petie to "clean him up some." Petie went to work on me with fervor, the scissors quickly uncovering my ears and freeing my collar from the soft touch of my locks. Next went the forelock, my bangs were snipped way above my eyebrows. Petie used the scissors to tighten up the sides and back and whnen I got out of the chair I looked like an advertiesement for "Boys Life Magazine" circa 1955. Boy did I get a razzing from the cousins when I went upstairs. Of course, Jimmy and Joe were laughing out of the other side of their mouths when they got the same treatment. I thought the worst was over.
But, a month later, dad got me up on Saturday morning and told me to get dressed. "We're getting you a haircut. I liked the haircut Petie gave you, in fact, we are getting you cleaned up good for the summer." Oh, this was not good news. Once we got to the barber shop, dad and Tony the barber started talking in Italian...this was pretty standard for them and I didn't pay too much attention. Tony caped me up and picked up a pair of clippers. "Not too short Tony," I asked. Tony smiled and looked at my dad and said something in Italian, the only word I got was "surprise." The next thing I knew, Tony put the clippers to my forehead and pushed them back. A big strip of hair about a half an inch long was left behind. My dad said "perfect length." Then he said to me, "a good buzz cut, it's what I had at your age and its what you are going to have from now on. Seeing how much better you looked with Petie's short haircut made up my mind for me." My fate was sealed. My head was nearly bald, my attempt at sideburns were gone. I looked like a goofy kid. I was fuming. But, as we got into the car to go home, dad rubbed my head and said, "son, I know you don't like this haircut, but I think it makes you look great." Dad's big hands rubbing my head felt great. But, I still hated the haircut. Every month, I would be made to get another buzz and dad would always rub my head. For that one minute, I would love the feel of it, but then I would look in the mirror and see myself and hate it again. This is how it went for the next two years until I went away to college and finally got to grow my hair out. I only got one more buzz cut. For dad's 60th birthday, I gave dad the one gift I knew he would really like. I showed up at the party with a fresh buzz cut. Dad rubbed my head and sighed. I couldn't wait to grow my hair back.