The Urge (part 1) by tightcutoz
(this story is my own version of a previous one that was deleted by the author. i get where they were coming from but it was one for my favourites and has inspired me greatly. this is only part one which is the lead-up the the actual haircut. i recommend you read because it provides the context. i would truely love feedback, and if you appreciate this story please say so - positive encouragement will lead me to write more)
The saturday started normally enough for me - bolt awake at 0700hrs as always, no matter that its the weekend and unable to stay in bed, already filled with energy. The house is quiet as I pull on my jogging gear and heads out before the day become too warm. gym was yesterday and i alternate running and weights every day.
A standard 5 mile run done, and dripping with sweat, i slip back into the house and head for the kitchen to rehydrate. On my way along the main corridor i turn to look at the pics along the left hand wall, mostly made up my parents from dating to now: my mum Sarah gently pretty as she ages in the pictures, my father Andrew always standing bolt upright and ruggedly handsome. But the thing that stands out to me is my fathers haircut, flattop from the first pic to the last even if the length varies. smiling or serious, the flat is in every pic. i don’t now when he first got it, but i can almost imaging he was born with a flattop.
Following my drink i return to my room and the ensuite, where i strip and shower, enjoying the warm water. Stepping out of the shower i inspect myself i the mirror: Luke, 16, solid build on the verge of muscular, though i would love a few inches on my shoulders and arms you can tell i enjoy my sports -rugby, swimming and track. My face is clean shaven regularly but just staring to hint at the shadow of hair that would grow if i didn’t run a razor over it. Dark brown hair, slightly wavy and pretty typical in length for a high school student - tapered but not short and a little messy even though i was at a barber not much more than a week ago. i brush my wet hair all the way back so see what i look like with more forehead, but then style it in it’s typical way with a bit of wax.
i don’t know when my interest in haircuts started, i think it’s always been with me though. i can remember going to the barber with dad as a young boy and being helped up into the chair. father-son haircuts on a regular schedule. but somewhere along the line that stopped, maybe 7 or 8. while my dads preference was for short and neat (especiallly of his own hair) my mom seemed to like me with more hair. ‘he has such lovely hair, i don’t like it so short’ i recall her saying. i’m not sure if i really sided with mum or not, but certainly longer hair than i usually has typical around that age and era and so slowly my hair lengthened. dad had less of a say in my haircut, i went to a salon by mom, before starting out of my own to get haircuts where i went back to a barber. a cheap chain, they did an ok job but certainly not many short cuts to be seen. While dad was regularly on me to get a trim, he would just hand over some money and suggest i get it sorted. i do miss going with him, but not something i can really ask for anymore
i envy the boys on my football team with genuinely short hair, but i am not sure how to ask to do it myself. i envy even more those with military type cuts and the best of those is the flattop that my own father wears, religiously attending the barber every 2 weeks. he's attended the same shop for some time now, well over 10 years. the overall length of his cut is a little longer and boxier than a few years ago, but it still looks amazing on him. after he returns from the barber i sometimes have to stop myself from staring, and have quietly taken a few pics of it when he wasn’t paying attention.
There is a family resemblance between us, though he remains slightly taller and much more muscular. our hair colour isn’t quite the same either, mine more brown to his black, but both quite thick.
a final check in the mirror and i put that thought aside and pull on some clothes.
my friends will not be awake yet, so no one to chat with and organise what we want to do yet, so i sit on the bed and play on my phone, awaiting the start of the iMessage ping pong.
there is a solid knock on the door
‘yeah’ i say
the door swings open slowly and my dad steps into the room with a laptop in hand.
‘hey buddy, you already gone for a run huh?
‘yeah dad. it’s hot out. whats up?
‘can i sit?’ he says
‘yeah ok’ i reply wondering what is happening ‘is something wrong or?’
he sits of the very edge of the bed near my feet.
he tilts his head a little while maintaining eye contact
‘not wrong, just have something i want to discuss’
‘yeah ok’ i honestly can think of nothing serious - i’m a good kid, my grades are fine, my manners are fine, i’m active, friendly, funny. i dont’ skip school or hang about bad influences. maybe this is something to do with college?
‘i know you probably think that all people over 30 are useless at computers, but thats not quite true’ he starts
‘i thought it was important that your mother and I kept a bit of an eye on your electronic use, so i have a programme that does track a few things’ he says
a tense feeling starts in my chest
‘now i’m realistic - i mean seeing that you are online when you’re meant to be asleep, thats ok as long as it doesn’t happen much, and honestly it happens less than i thought it might’
‘and porn….well….also fine, within reason’ he blushes a little and breaks eye contact briefly ‘and nothing i’ve seen really worries me about what you’re looking up there. and some of the sex questions, well i would have rather you were comfortable bringing them up with me, but I'm realistic about that one.’ he says again breaking eye contact.
‘but….looking over things this morning, there is some stuff i just don’t quite get’ he says quietly
with that he opens up the laptop and on screen is the history from last night
clicking on links, pictures of flattops of various styles come up.
loads of them. probably hundreds.
a pit opens up in my stomach, i suddenly feel quite weak
why why why did i use my laptop for that! i could have used my phone! but of course the pictures are bigger on the laptop.
i cannot keep eye contact and turn my head away.
i feel so very embarrassed.
‘so…..i know you weren’t expecting this’ he says gently ‘but i really should ask what this is about’
‘i don’t…i’ i say, then silence.
i really do not know what to say at all.
‘i mean it’s interesting. and it’s not drugs’ he says
‘i’m sorry dad’
‘why are you sorry?’
‘i don’t know. i just….i don’t know.’
‘you don’t have to be sorry. i just don’t quite understand. i mean there are a lot of pics here’ he trails off
i can’t say anything
‘is it that you like the look? i mean i would be flattered’ he kinda laughs a little and tilts his head forward a bit
‘yeah, i guess thats part of it’
silence fills the room, as likely neither of us knows what to say
‘and the google search for "father-son" haircut?’
oh f***, i forgot about that one. i can’t even remember what i looked up anymore!
‘its ok, you don’t have explain if you cannot or don’t want to. but if you do want to tell me, it’s also fine. i mean thats what i’m saying about all of this. you are pretty straight and narrow to be honest, and you don’t usually surprise me in this sort of way. i mean drinking half a beer with your friends is standard, you haven’t told me you want to drop out, or that you have a pregnant girlfriends. or worse that you want to be a vegetarian’
i almost laugh at the last line
‘i guess i miss our father-son haircuts a little’
‘that was quite awhile ago’
‘yeah i know’
‘ i do remember enough to recall you didn’t like it so much at that stage’
‘sometimes you didn’t want to go through the door the barbers, and when we were there you squirmed a lot’
‘is that why you stopped taking me?’
‘nah - your mum preferred to take you to the salon, and i was fine with that as long as you came out looking neat. you didn’t always actually, not at all, but not much point making a fuss about that. and once you were old enough i thought it was a good responsibility to take on yourself. show some independence’
‘your hair is neat enough these days. hardly short but neat’ he says.
‘so….given the searches…..you want a shorter haircut? was this just a search to see what was out there?
‘i guess so’ i say uncertainly
‘you’re undecided then’
i don’t really know what to say, but the anxiety is settling
‘don’t get me wrong, i think a flattop is a great haircut. clearly i do’ he says rubbing his bristles a bit.
‘but it’s not for everyone’
‘would you like me to have a shorter haircut?’ i say quietly
‘ha ha, thats like asking me if i think you study more. of course i’m going to say yes. but it’s your choice’
‘ we can go to the barber together you know, if you want that is’ he says
‘yeah that might be nice’
‘alright then’ he get up to go, but turns back around at the door
i blush again
‘oh it’s just, you know….neat, squared away. masculine i guess’
‘it’s also what i have’
‘yeah i had noticed’
‘so the fact i host a flatty is nothing to do with it?’
‘um….a little. or maybe more than i little’ i say again blushing
‘you would look nice in a flattop if you wanted it’
‘yeah yeah, you would’ he says
‘would you like it?’
‘it’s your hair buddy. but yes i would be proud of you if you did give it a try’
‘maybe i should then’ i say, almost immediately regretting but also not regretting at all.
‘lots less hair for you to worry about washing’
‘ha ha yeah’
‘no pressure though. we can go to the barber and you can decide on the day’
‘yeah true, but i might back out’
‘perhaps. perhaps not’ he says as he heads to the door
‘um, thanks dad…for you know being nice about this’
‘well no point getting upset. and you know i don’t get upset about much anyway’ he replies
‘well pull on some shoes, we can get to the barbers when it opens’
‘ah, what?’ i splutter
‘haircut time buddy - no time like the present’
‘i didnt really mean today’
‘ok, maybe later then’ he says
‘um…ok, i guess we could’
he nods slowly
‘shoes then’ he says as he leaves
i pull back on my runners and go back to the bathroom to look at myself
maybe wont look like this anymore. i turn my head left and right to get a full memory. thick brown hair, mildly wavey covers the head. i try to imagine things but i can’t really. it doesn’t seem real.
dad waiting downstairs to go the barber with me.
i head downstairs and dad is at the door
we go together to the garage and hop in. i don’t even ask to drive the car like i usually would, i’m too nervous.
‘we can go to Mr Faranelli’s you remember him? he will remember you, he does ask about you’
‘so are you certain about the flattop?’
‘no’ i say
‘are you a bit scared?’ he asks
‘yeah’ i say. ‘i don’t know’
‘it is just hair’
‘yeah i know. grows back’
‘what sort of flattop were you thinking?’
‘im not sure’ i say
‘all that research and not sure’ he says with a smile
‘well i…..short i guess’
‘real short or just short?’ he asks
‘whats the difference?’ i ask in return
‘how easy it is the see the skin on your scalp’ he replies
‘um….i don’t know.’
‘yours night be a little pale under that hair ha ha’ he says
‘what do you think’
‘not my hair Luke’
‘no honestly, what do you think’
‘you only get your first flattop once, so why not very short?’
‘ i guess’ getting mildly arroused
‘i don’t even know how to ask for one’ i say
‘oh thats easy: i want a flattop please….and it will happen; he says with a chuckle
‘hmm, i don’t know, he’ll have other questions’
‘and you can answer them’ he says ‘or i can’
my ears prick
‘you could pick my cut?’
‘like in the bad old days ha ha’ he says
‘they weren’t bad’ i say
‘alright…..be honest with me, you want to get a flattop, don’t you?’
‘then you will’
‘i’m still worried’ i say
‘i’ll be there’ he replies
we pull up at a carapace, the drive as not been as long as i thought it would
i get mild palpitations.
dad gets ready to get out of the car, the sees to stop
‘how about this: you can turn back now, if thats really what you want. but i don’t want you getting upset or making a fuss or chasing your mind once you're in there.
‘so as soon as you walk through the door of the barbershop, you’re committed’
‘you will get a flattop’ he says
‘you’ll even get a flattop of my prescription’’
‘i read some of the links you had clicked. dads picking haircuts for their sons was a component, no?
‘you want that?’
‘um well…..kinda. well ok, yes dad thats what i want’ finally more relaxed to have been able to spit it out.
‘so, like i said….you walk through the doors, it’ a done deal. a short, actually a very short flattop is on the cards’
‘you’re giving your word Luke’
‘yes i understand’
we hop out the car and walk slowly towards the shop. dad places a hand on my back, then reads up and gives my hair a rub.
closer and closer
my breathing getting shallow and fast
my vision getting more narrow
i can see inside now
an old fashioned shop the barber at the register, red leather seats, large mirror on one side and bench seating on the other.
the sign says open
i reach out with my hand and touch the door
it swings inwards and i step though the interface into the shop, excited but scared
(to be continued)