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The Barber knows best by P.J.
The Barber knows best
It was just about closing time on this lazy Saturday afternoon. The shop (Pete's Cuts)had been hopping all day so I was happy to get a jump on the end of day chores. I heard the bell chime and yelled, be right there. I rounded the corner and saw a young lad of maybe 20 -21 years old walk in the shop. I immediately noticed the dark shoulder length mane with a huge forelock swaying as he walked. Hi, he said, I hope I'm not too late sir? No, No, not at all I said, thinking to myself, I'd gladly open on a Sunday if I need be to have a go at this mop. Have a seat in the chair lad, and I'll be right with you, I replied. I'm just tidying up a bit.
He looked nervously around the shop, taking in checker board floor, the shiny chrome and black leather barber chair, and the row of clippers hanging below the huge dark oak framed mirror behind the chair. He sat down and rubbed his hands on the arms of the chair, clearly ill at ease.
I walked up, shook his hand , and said, now then, what can I do for you? I reached for a clean cape, and sterry strip, quickly taping and capping him so he couldn't escape easily. He squirmed a bit as I snapped the cape around his neck, holding the huge shoulder length mane to the side in order to s the snap.
Well sir, I'm to be best man at my brother's wedding next Saturday, and my boyfriend feels that I should get a professional trim for the service instead of him trimming me as he usually does. Hmm, I see, I said, getting a brush, and pulling it through the thick, dense, chestnut colored hair. So its been awhile since you've been under the cape then I take it, I said, smiling. Well, yes sir, I haven't actually been in a proper barber shop since I was a young lad.
I see, I replied, brushing his dense mane straight down all around to see what I had to work with. This hair is very well taken care of son, but I'd say it's in need of some attention, especially for something as important as a wedding. What did you have in mind? I'd pulled the huge forelock straight down across his face, good thing, or he'd notice me practically salivating at the thought of cutting this mop back to a respectable length. I was vacillating between short back and sides, and a high and tight, hmm.
Well, he said, I suppose we could shorten up the back a bit, and trim it up about the ears too, I guess. I noticed his thick dense sideburns, desperately in need of a severe pruning too. Maybe trim up my bangs too, it's been awhile since Kyle has trimmed them he said. Clearly apprehensive about getting much cut off.
O. K. I said, as I gave him a left side parting, pulling the dense forelock off tot eh side for the moment.
So, generally, a nice cleanup then, perhaps an overall summer cut then, I purred, stroking his thick locks in back . Well, yes, I suppose an overall clean up will do sir. He clearly had no idea what a summer clean up meant in barber speak, at least to me anyways. Oh, well, he was about to find out wasn't he, I mused to myself.
I quickly walked to the front door, flipping the closed sign to the outside, and pulling the shade. You'll be me last customer for today lad, don't need any disruptions now do we, I said, walking back to him.
I spun him away from the mirror, I didn't want him to catch on to what I was about to do until it was too late.
Making a bit of small talk to put him more at ease, I asked, so how old is your brother ? He's just 25 sir, the lad replied. Ah, I said, and you must be a younger sibling I replied, fishing for his age so I could determine if he was still a minor. I didn't want to get in trouble with someone under legal age, with the shearing I had planned. I'm just 21 sir, he stated. Very good lad, and what might your name be, I inquired? I'm Jed sir, short for Jeddah. Nice to meet you Jed, I'm Pete by the way. Wow, this kid was polite, well bred, I thought. Should I subject him to a brutal shearing, as I so very much desired to do, or just trim him up as he expected? What to do, what to do, I mused to myself.
Well now Jed, let's start shall we? I picked up comb an scissors, and combed the shoulder blade length tresses all down behind his shoulders, Picking the comb up, sliding it under the dense locks, I pulled them up a bit so he wouldn't feel where the shears were cutting against his back. I lopped off a good 6 inches, cutting just about at his collar. Heavy dense handfuls thudding to the floor at my feet with each snip of the shears. God, I wish I was barefoot, I thought to myself. I was making sure the heavy dense locks fell to the floor so he didn't see the severity of the shortening of the length. Ah, there Jed, that's a good start lad, looking better already. Yes, I suppose so sir he replied. Feels a bit lighter though he stated, you aren't going too short now are you?
No, no, not short lad, you have so much hair back here, we've only just started. I pushed some of the remaining thick bulk off to the side, exposing his nape. Now I picked up the Oster 76's, I needed these to remove the remainder of the bulk on the back of his head. It was almost a shame, cutting all this off I thought, it's so thick and lustrous. Ah, no matter, here goes. No guard on them, I switched them on, Jed jumping a bit as I did so. I gently but firmly placed my hand on the top of his head, forcing it down, chin touching chest. There's a good lad now I said, hold steady now. We're just going to clean up the neck line a bit. I laid the Osters at his nape and slowly but firmly advanced them up , rolling them out at his occipital bone, roughly halfway up the back of his head. A huge handful of dense thick chestnut colored bulk slid off to his shoulder. Wow!, Hey sir! Jed barked, that feels like it's going up a bit high for a trim sir, he stated, starting to panic. Well Jed, I know you haven't been in a barber shop in a long time so things might feel a bit off, compared to your partner cutting your hair. Relax, and enjoy the feelings , a barber knows best, remember. Well, O.K. sir, he sighed heavily, but not too short, I want to look good for the wedding remember. OH, not to worry Jed, You'll look very smart, I promise. I grinned slyly as I proceeded to shear off all the bulky dense hair halfway up the back of his head. This required several passes, each depositing a mound of shorn locks on his shoulders. I was careful not to nudge these growing mounds of locks and cause them to slide into his lap. I didn't want to give myself away just yet. This was going better than I expected. With no guard, there was only a shadow of dark chestnut remaining. This was going to be a VERY short haircut indeed, with a little luck he wouldn't even realize it until I was finished.
Wow sir, I can feel the draft on my neck, you haven't shaved my bald, have you , he inquired nervously. I could see his hands were clutching the arms of the chairs tightly. Well no Jed, you're not bald, lad, that's a good start on the back though, I've cleaned it up nicely, a bit shorter too. Now let's have a look at the sides, I said. There was a huge pile of hair resting on each shoulder, all it would take was a gentle nudge to send it cascading into Jed's lap. I'd wait a bit longer, till I'd sheared the sides, to do that.
First, the left side, I pushed the hungry Osters in behind his ear, carving a nice high almost bald arch around the ear, shearing off the bushy sideburn in the process. This all slid into his lap. Wow sir, Jed exclaimed, that seems like a lot of hair sir. Steady lad, we're getting it all trimmed up nice now, don't worry. Well sir, its just that I can't see what you are doing, being turned away from the big mirror and all sir, he whimpered. Not to worry Jed, I'll soon have you turned around so you can have a look see I replied. Thank you sir, he replied.
I moved over to the right side, pushing his dense forelock across his face for a minute to get it out of the way, and to block his vision completely for another few minutes. I repeated the shearing around his right ear. There now, that's looking good Jed, I said, nudging the huge piles of hair on his shoulders , causing them to slide into his lap. Too late now for him to protest much, I thought, the damage is all but done. I clipped a #2 guard on the Osters, and began on the right side, shaving all the rest of the hair on that side, up almost to the parting line. I quickly worked my way around the back and up the other side, reducing all the rest of the sides to #2 stubble and a very high, short taper near the parting, just enough to call it a short back and sides and not an undercut. I didn't have to outline him either, the o guard on the Osters had taken care of that bit too. I was blending into the 0 guard lower part as I went along, so I didn't have to come back after he'd discovered what I was doing. This was shaping up nicely, I thought to myself.
I could still turn it into a bald fade if he decided he liked it and wanted to go shorter yet. Ha, that wasn't bloody likely give this lads attachment to his treasured locks. I noticed that Jed hadn't even protested much yet. Like a lamb to the slaughter I thought, how lucky can I get. He was more or less unsuspecting of the brutal shearing he was getting. Well, if he'd been visiting a barber shop on a regular basis, he might have known better what was going on. Oh, well, I said to myself, live and learn right. I was enjoying this immensely. OMG there was now a lot of beautiful, chestnut locks piled in his lap. I couldn't believe he didn't feel the sheer weight of the mass in his lap. He seemed somewhat distracted, despite his concern for his beloved locks. A fatal mistake on his part to be sure.
I know you seem to be cutting it a bit shorter than I anticipated sir, but could you leave my bangs on the long side sir, he asked meekly. Not to worry Jed, I'll be leaving you something to comb, we won't be cutting it all off. After all, I said slyly, we want you looking sharp for the wedding now, it wouldn't look good it was too short. Right sir, he replied quietly.
Now then, I thought to myself, do I turn him , and then cut the top and bangs, or wait till I've reduced them to a fraction of their current length before I let him see. Hmm, he hasn't squawked much, so I'll cut first I guess. I hadn't had this much fun cutting a lads hair in quite awhile, pity I didn't take before pics I thought to myself. This was going to be quite a transformation. An unwanted but necessary one to be sure.
I combed the thick bulky top and fore lock straight down again, Hmm it just brushed his chin, this was going to cause him to bark for sure, I thought. I slid the shears in just above his left eye, and started snipping up at a sever angle towards his right eye when he yelped. Hey, what's up with that, he yelled.
Ah Jed, lad, we couldn't have this huge forelock dangling down, what with the rest of you cleaned up so nicely, I said smiling. What do you mean sir, he sharply replied. I quickly finished snipping, the last of his former glory flopping down to join the big pile in his lap. Oh, God, sir, that's short!, he yelped. I turned the chair so he could see his reflection and said, well now Jed, I think it goes well with the rest of the cut, don't you? You'll look quite smart at the a wedding next week I think, I said with an innocent smile.
Jed's eyes popped as he got his first look at his freshly sheared reflection. He started to whimper, what did you do sir, I only wanted just a trim, sir. I don't have any hair left! There lad, it's not as bad as all that, I said, rubbing his shoulder a bit, I'm not finished yet. I turned him away again, got the thinning shears out, and proceeded to reduce the bulk on top by at least half. Great huge clumps of hair raining down in front of his face. Oh, god, sir, please stop with those sir, he moaned. Yes, lad, I'm about done with these anyways, I said, reducing the last of the thick locks down. Now, I'll just shorten this up a bit I said, switching scissors, and quickly shortening the top down to a much more manageable 1-2 inch graduated length.
Almost finished Jed, Just one more thing I said, grabbing a handful of warm lather from the dispenser on the shelf. I quickly slathered a bit on his high arches, and the shaved portion of the back. He was clearly in shock now, tears streaming down his face. Hold very still now lad, I said softly, using the straight razor to remove all traces of hair around the ears , and raising the hairline a good inch or so in back. OH, sir, was that really necessary Jed exclaimed, it was already so short, but to shave it too! Well Jed, I can't have you leaving my shop looking shoddy lad. A Barber knows best, right. I turned him to face the mirror again, squeezed a bit of Brylcream on my hands and began massaging it into the short hair remaining on the top of his head. Taking my comb, I gave him a knife straight left part, and slicked the rest of the short hair on top into place. Giving him a short bumper in the front. I had to admit, he had a bit of a baby face, and with no sideburns ( I'd shaved them clean off), he looked like he was about 12 years old.
There, I said, now you have a nice respectable summer clean up cut for the wedding Jed. Very handsome if I do say so myself. What do you think, I asked. It's a bit shorter than you first asked for but that's what a summer clean up cut is lad, and you agreed we could go with one, remember. Jed moved his head from side to side, tears gently rolling down his cheeks. This certainly isn't what I expected to look like when I walked in here sir, he said quietly. Well Jed, the summer clean up cut is nice and short, cool for the summer, I left it a bit long for you lad, being as though there the wedding and all. Jed, almost swooned at the mention of the wedding. But, seeing as how you don't frequent the barber shops much, I cut it this way so it'll look smart a good long while. I suspect your partner won't need to trim it any time soon. No sir, that's for sure sir, he said softly, shaking his head. Still not taking his eyes off his reflection in the mirror. I brushed him down, slathered a bit of witch hazel around the freshly shaved parts, causing him to jump.
There lad, all set I said, unsnapping the cape and pulling it away, the huge pile of hair sliding forlornly to the floor. Jed's eyes popped at the sight of his shorn mane. I've given you some nice high arches above those ears, and raised the hairline up a fair bit in back, you won't need to be back for 2-4 weeks if you decide you want to keep this look. Which I'd highly recommend by the way, you look very smart indeed. I haven't had my hair this short since I was 5, Jed said, moaning softly. He stroked the freshly shaved nape, then the sides of his head. God, buggers, but that's short sir. Yes, indeed it is lad, you were in desperate need of a cleanup, I'm happy to have been of service. He stood up, still rubbing the stubble in back, and got out his wallet to pay. Keep your money lad, the first cut here is always on me, I said, you can pay for the next one O.K.? Sure sir, he said, not sure when that'll be, but thank you sir.
He looked in the mirror again, sighing, wow, my partner and I will be quite a sight next Saturday, him with his blonde mane, and me looking 5 years old.