The Barber and Andy by Gator
The Barber and Andy
Another in the series.
The lunch crowd had come and gone. I had stepped into the back room to grab a Coke. For the northerners who read this, Coke is generic for all soft drinks. I heard the bell above the door tinkle. "Have a seat! I’ll be right out!" I yelled. No response, but I knew whoever it was had heard me because I did not hear the bell again.
I went out front with my Coke. "Andy! I’m surprised to see you!" "I thought I’d stop by, Pete." "As much as I’d like to give you a cut, Andy, you’ve fulfilled your promise to Corey and to me for getting 4 ivy league cuts." "I know," he sighed. He was quiet. "Corey doesn’t know I’m here today." "Oh?" "Yep. Can I sit down in the chair?" I laughed. "I’m sorry, I forgot my manners, Andy."
He sat in the barber’s chair. "Are you getting a cut today?" "He smiled shyly. "Yep." "Got it, man." I grabbed the cape from the next chair and swung it around Andy’s neck. I also put the Sanek strip on and then cinched the cape shut. "Not too tight, is it?" "Not at all."
"Don’t tell me you’re turning into a barbershop man, Andy." "The jury is still out on that one, Pete." I started to comb his hair. "I’m guessing same cut as the last few? High fade ivy?" There was silence from Andy. "Um, I…. um…no." I stopped combing and went to look at his face. "Say what?" "No. I want a different cut, please." "Okay. A slight trim then just to get you cleaned up?" "No." I kept looking at him. I raised an eyebrow. "I want something different for me. This is for Corey." "Hmm. What is on your mind then?"
Andy cleared his throat and looked at his reflection in the mirror. I chuckled. "You want a flattop like Charlie has? Imitate your boss type thing?" Andy’s eyes got as big as a saucer. "Oh no way! That’s too severe and way to short!" Andy quickly exclaimed. I laughed out loud at his reaction. After a few seconds, I asked again, "What do you have in mind?"
Andy looked back at his reflection in the mirror. "How did Corey do this?" he asked. "Do what?" as I stood behind the barber chair. "Get his first high and tight cut from you? What did he ask for?" I put both hands on Andy’s shoulders. "No way! A high and tight for you? You’ve got to kidding me!" Andy looked hurt and quietly said, "I’m not kidding, Pete." I looked at him in the mirror. I slowly swung the chair so that his back was facing the mirror. I walked to the front of the chair. "Spill the beans, Andy. What’s going on? This is going to be a major change for you."
He looked at me. "I know. Like I said, this is for Corey." I motioned with my hands for him to continue. "We’re coming up on our anniversary of when we started going out and living together. I’m at a loss of what to get him. You know, he has been after me to get a real man’s cut as he says. So, in order to surprise him, I decided today is the day. Our anniversary is this Saturday. We’re going camping." By this time, I had crossed my arms listening to Andy tell his story. "I know that Corey loves short haircuts. I love feeling his smooth sides after he has been to see you. And since we’ve been here together for the last four weeks, I figured that you’d give me a cut like Corey’s, and if he comes by today, you’d be quiet and not say anything to him." I had a huge smile on my face. He paused and looked me square in the eyes. "Well? Will you do it, Pete? For Corey?" I stood there for a few minutes with my arms crossed. "Well, I don’t know, Andy. I mean, it’s a big step for you to go this radically short." His face was almost crest-fallen. He opened his mouth to say something. I put up my hand to keep him quiet. "However, for your gift to Corey, I will do it!" A huge smile crept across Andy’s face. "I’ve got to warn you, Andy, that Corey will probably pass out when he sees you. He has dreamed about this happening for a long, long time." "Oh? You two have talked about it?" I paused. "Well, kinda. He has said, a few times, that he’d wish you would get a much shorter cut. I thought that this ivy was it. However, this high and tight will send him over the edge!" I went behind the chair again as I patted Andy on the shoulder.
I reached for the clippers off the back bar. Andy asked, "What did Corey say before you started his first high and tight?" "Let me think." I rubbed my chin. "I believe he said that he wanted a high and tight, top about a #3 blade and a slight part on his left side. I asked him if he wanted the sides and back just clippered or razor shaved." "What did he say?" "Just use the clippers." I turned on the Osters. "So, what do you want? Clippers or razor smooth?" I put the clippers in front of his right ear and started to go slowly up to above his temple. "I think I want it clippers this time, Pete." "Got it, man." I put my right hand on Andy’s top and tilted his head slightly to the left. I made several very slow passes up this side making sure, as in his previous cuts, that the hair was going to fall into Andy’s lap. At first, his eyes were closed until I was getting close to the back of his head. "I hope I look good with this cut," he said. "I hope this isn’t a mistake." "Trust your barber, Andy. I won’t steer you wrong. You will look great." His light blond hair was slowly gathering in his lap. He right side was looking great. After I had finished this side and still keeping his head tilted to his left, I rubbed my two forefingers up his side. "You still want just the clippers used?" "Yes, please." "You know, that’s what I asked Corey the first time, too. He, however, said very tentatively that he though he did." "What did you do, Pete?" I let go of Andy’s head and went to see his face. "You really want to know?" "Yes, sir." I smiled. "I finished using the clippers on his sides and back, then grabbed a hot towel, wrapped it around his head and grabbed some lather and shaved him half-way up his sides." Andy was startled. "Really?" I nodded. I went behind Andy, smiled, and started cutting the hair on the back of his head. This hair also landed in his lap to add to the blond mass already there.
Andy had been quiet as I made four slow swipes up his nape going above his occipital bone. I made sure to rub the stubble left behind. Then I heard, "You wouldn’t do that to me, would you?" "Do what, Andy?" "Shave my sides and back half-way up." "Nah. Well, I don’t know, Andy." "Why do you say that?" "Ask yourself, what would Corey like the best?" I knew that would tug on his heart. "Corey and Charlie were right." "About?" "That you can be an ass at times." I laughed. "Well, Andy, both of them love the shorter cuts. I know that Corey really likes the razor shaved smoothness at the end of his cut. And yes, I can be an ass!"
I had moved on to Andy’s left side, tilted is head to the right, and began to slowly peel off the blond hair and aimed for his lap. Normally, Andy always knocked the cut hair out of his lap so that it landed on the floor. This time, he had not done that. I kept peeling off the hair. I rubbed the stubble left behind. There wasn’t much since I had used my 5-aught blade to give Andy his first high and tight. I let go of his top and raised his head. I got the duster, filled it with talc, and then brushed him off. The white dust flew. That was fun for me. I turned the chair so Andy was facing the mirror. I raised his head and held his head level with my hands under his chin. "What about your top?" I asked. He looked at his reflection. "Wow, my sides are bald!" "Not yet, sport. They are clippered tight. Now, if your want bald, I will gladly razor shave them for you." Andy shook his head. "No, no. This is good, sir." "Your top?" I asked again. "I’m not sure. What do you think? How do you cut Corey’s?"
"For Corey’s first high and tight cut, he asked for a #3 and I gave him a #2 all over the top. Then I asked him if he wanted it shorter. He said not this time. For Corey’s current cut, I use a #4 blade in front to about here, then I switch the blade out down to a #3, then a #2, a #1, and then around his crown, I use a half blade; that’s a 0.5 blade. Very, very tight. I call it a graduated top." Andy lowered his head and looked. He took his hand out from under the cape to feel his top. "How have you been cutting mine?" he asked. "I start in front of your top with a #4 blade, but I use a comb to lift the top and slide the clippers over that. I give you a graduated top also, but I only go as short as a #1 around your crown because your cut is longer than Corey’s." "What do you suggest?" he asked. "Easy," I said. I put the #3 blade on and began cutting down Andy’s top. "Just like Corey’s top." "I shouldn’t have asked! Dang! This is going to short," he squeaked out." I chuckled. "This is for Corey, right?" He nodded. "Relax and enjoy it, Andy." He kept looking in the mirror as I cut his top. He was getting more relaxed as I neared the end of his cut. I was finished, but still needed to trim up his bangs. I took the scissors to get any longer stragglers the clippers had left behind.
I dusted Andy off. The loose hair stubble went flying in the air along with the talc. I then took my hand and rubbed his top. I then grabbed a little bit of gel, rubbed it in Andy’s top, combed it and parted it on the left. I took the hot lather and rubbed it around his ears and on the nape of his neck. I stropped the straight razor and began to clean up around his ears and neck. I then grabbed the Wahl foil shaver and ran that over Andy’s nape and a slight bit higher than his natural hairline. I moved around to his right side to do the same and then to his left to complete a nice extra tight fade around his ears. I then grabbed my bottle of Osage Rub, filled the palm of my right hand, smeared it in both and applied it to Andy’s head. "Are you sure you don’t want your sides and back razor shaved? No extra charge!" Andy looked at me and hesitated. Finally, he said, "No. This will be fine." "Never hurts to ask or even suggest!" He quietly chuckled.
I again dusted that talc all over Andy’s head. I released him from the cape. He stood up and went to look closely in the mirror. "Man, is this short! Just like Corey’s! I hope he likes it." I walked up beside him and said, "Corey will be over the moon!" Andy turned around to face me. "Promise me you won’t tell him about this cut if he stops by?" "Why would I say anything to Corey?" "Well, I know you two are great friends. I don’t want to ruin my surprise for him." I patted Andy on the back. "Relax, you will be fine." Andy paid and started to leave. At that time, the shop door opened and Corey came in. He stopped immediately.
"Andy? What are you doing here?" "Getting a haircut. What else do you do at Pete’s?" Corey walked closer to him. He put his hands around Corey’s waist and slowly turned him around. Once he was behind Andy, he lifted his right hand and rubbed Andy’s back. "OMG! That is stubble!" Both were quiet as Corey kept looking and slowly rubbing Andy’s sides and back. He finally had Andy facing him. "I can’t believe you went this short! What…" Andy smiled and said, "Happy Anniversary!" "Say what?" "Happy Anniversary! I didn’t know what to get you, so I decided a haircut is what would make you happy. A real man’s cut! Just like you’ve always wanted me to get!" Corey shook his head a couple of times. "Did Pete talk you into this?" I had to interject. "No, Pete did not talk Andy into that cut. It was ALL his idea." Corey looked at Andy. "It was, Corey. I wanted to give you something that you’d like. Plus, well, I, err…I wanted to see what you saw in such a short haircut." Corey started to laugh. He then gave Andy a big bear hug. "Aww, man! You are so special! I love it!"
Andy had the biggest smile on his face. He then moved Corey around to face the barber chair. "Your turn in the chair, my friend!" Andy pushed him onward as Corey looked over his should at Andy’s face. Corey landed in my chair. Andy turned to me. "Cape him up, Pete. Give him his recon back, please!" I wasted no time in putting the cape around Corey. "One recon coming up!" Corey faced Andy. "You serious? You want me back in a recon?" "For a short while, yes."
I grabbed the Osters with the 5-aught blade on them. I started in front of Corey’s right ear and started peeling the hair off to land in his lap. Andy walked up to the side of the chair. "Can you take it higher, Pete? Like up to here." He pointed with his finger to the upper edge of Corey’s crown. "Super high and tight. Got it Andy." He looked at Corey and said, "No comments from you until your cut is done." I had to smile. I kept peeling off Corey’s hair taking the clippers very high. When I got to his left side, Andy stepped up and took his two forefingers and rubbed the stubble. "This will need to be shaved, Pete." "Trust your barber. He will be baby butt smooth!" Corey looked at Andy. "There will be paybacks tonight, sport!"
I kept cutting Corey’s hair. I used the talc to brush off the lose hair. "How short on top, Andy?" "How was it done last time, Pete?" "I think a #2." "Well, if it’s not short enough, you can take it shorter." "I have an idea, Andy. I have a #1.5 blade. That will be good for his top." "What??" squeaked out Corey. "Never mind. Andy is in charge of this cut," I said. Andy smiled. I changed to the #1.5 and took the clippers to Corey’s forehead. I landed the clippers front and center and slowly peeled a strip back to his crown. "Nice and short." Andy reached over and felt the newly cut strip. "Nice. That’s short enough, Pete." I smiled and continued cutting the top. Once I had taken off the length, I switched to the #1 and blended the sides with the top.
I wrapped Corey’s head with a hot towel. Corey mumbled to Andy, "You’re gonna pay for this one, man." Andy chuckled. "Admit it Corey, you’ve been wanting to get this cut again. You love it and you know you do." I put the lather all over Corey’s head. I started his shave. I went against the growth making sure that Corey’s sides and back would be baby butt smooth. I kept rubbing checking for missed spots. Corey had his eyes closed throughout the shave. I had finished, grabbed a warm towel and wiped off the excess lather. I put some Osage Rub on my hands and rubbed it all over Corey’s head. "There you go, my man. Good for another 1,000 miles!" I released the cape so that Corey could stand up. Andy walked up to him and rubbed his sides and back. "Very, very nice! This how I like to see you cleaned up!"
Corey smiled, then grabbed Andy by the shoulders and pushed him into the barber’s chair. "Pete, shave his sides and back smooth." Andy looked at Corey. I quickly put the cape around Andy and cinched it very tight. I got another hot towel and wrapped his head. I quickly got the lather and spread it around his head. Grabbing my Fusion razor, I began the shave. Andy was very quiet. Corey stood in front of him with his arms crossed and the biggest smile on his face. As with Corey, I kept checking for missed spots. I looked at Corey who had to readjust himself a few times. Andy had a big smile on his face. They had unspoken words between them, both thinking of the same thing.
I finished Andy’s shave, placed the Osage Rub on him, and released him from the cape. Andy couldn’t keep his hands off his newly shaved head. "So, what do you think?" I asked. "the jury’s out, Pete. I will let you know." Corey spoke up. "Pay the man for my cut, Andrew!" They both walked out the door.
The next day at the start of lunch time, Corey breezed into the shop. "Oh, man! You’re the best Pete! Thank you so much! That was the best gift ever!" Corey gave me a big bear hug and flew back out the door.