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A Police Story by Deke Cutter
“Jimmy, you are a nice guy. You’re handsome and I like you, but I won’t go out with you. You know how I feel about long hair on men. You have beautiful hair. You love it. Its well cared for and you look great with it. But the men that turn me on have short hair, very short haircuts." Lou pointed out several men in the student union with those kinds of haircuts.
“I’m crazy about you, I’m willing to try shorter hair."
“No Jimmy, I don’t want to go into a relationship because you are ‘trying shorter hair.’ First, of all, what if you don’t cut it short enough? Second, you know you will not be getting it cut because you want to. I would want you to keep your hair cut very sort and you would resent it. It would be an issue between us. I’m afraid we have to stay in the friend zone."
Jimmy was bereft. He believed they were meant to be together. But Lou knew him well. His hair meant everything to him. The very thought of trimming it from shoulder length to the bottom of his ears filled him with dread. He tried to imagine living life with a flattop, a crew cut, a buzz? Ugh! But life without Lou, stunning, amazing, makes my heart sing Lou!" What could he do? Finally, a crazy idea came into his head. Graduation was coming and while his plans were to attend law school, what if? No, it was a risky, maybe even dangerous idea. He spent the next few weeks making sure that all the details of his plan were possible. The law school would grant him deferred admission for up to three years under the circumstances he described, or he could start taking night classes sooner. He only saw Lou occasionally, and kept things casual. Lou was excited to be graduating and starting work in the family business, a very lucrative investment firm that specialized in long-term planning for retirement estates. Jimmy mentioned casually that he would be doing some self-exploration for about 5-6 months before starting the next phase of his life, but he hoped they would keep in touch.
The week after graduation, Jimmy woke up, did his recently enhanced morning work-out, showered and went through his usual 45-minute ritual with his hair-shampoo, condition, blow drying, brushing to perfection. He got in his car and drove to a small strip mall nearby where he saw the revolving red, what, and blue pole of a place he still couldn’t quite believe he was going to enter. He walked into the shop and saw a barber of about 40ish, sitting in a chair, quickly get up and greet him. “Good morning sir, how can I help?"
“Well, Jimmy began, I’m about to enter the police academy and I need to get a pretty major haircut." There, he said it, and he hadn’t passed out or turned and ran.
The barber smiled. “You know sir, I work up there sometimes when it’s a big ‘intake,’ and they’ll be taking care of that hair for you."
Jimmy looked a bit embarrassed, but replied, yes, I know, but since my hair is so long, I thought, I would give myself a running start, the academy is going to be enough of a shock to my system."
“I think I can take care of that, please have a seat." The barber quickly, asked Jimmy to hold his hair up so he could put a towel around his neck and then threw the white cape over Jimmy, covering him completely. “So, have you thought about how short you want to go today?"
“I’d like something that will just make me look like a regular guy, you know. Pretty short on the sides, nothing fancy on top. But, enough left for ‘the big chop’ at the academy on Saturday." At this point, Jimmy’s stomach was doing flip-flops. He knew what today might bring, but Saturday was the real commitment to a big change.
The barber turned Jimmy away from the mirror and picked up his scissors. “Well, if your sure about this, lets start by getting rid of some of this bulk. Snip, snip, snip-Jimmy could hear as the barber removed a good foot of Jimmy’s lustrous hair, moving quickly around his head. Had he been facing the mirror, he would have seen himself with a center parted bob reaching to about mid-ear. The barber then combed the hair on top forward and cut a blunt line about mid-forehead. “Now then, sir, I should have introduced myself, my name is Vito. I am going to give you a quick view of where we are, before I get down to the serious business."
“Thanks Vito, I’m Jimm….whoa" was all Jimmy got out as his reflection appeared in the mirror. “Holy cow!" Vito quickly turned Jimmy around and went back to work, scissor over comb, beginning to rough out a tapered neckline and completely uncovering the ears and cutting the hair close to the head. Jimmy started to feel the strange but pleasant sensation of air flowing around his ears and neck.
“OK Jim, I’m going to be using the clippers now to clean up these sides a little better. Don’t worry, I’m not going to take them down too tight. Then I’ll tidy up the top and blend in the sides."
“Hmm," Jimmy thought, “I like the sound of Jim. I think that’s what I’ll go by at the academy, it sounds a little more grown up."
“O.K., Jim, I’m just going to outline your neck. How, about I take these side burns up to about mid-ear for now?"
“Yes sir, Vito, that’s fine." A few moments later, Vito turned Jimmy around and he saw Jim, the soon-to-be police cadet staring at him. Gone were his luscious long locks. In their place were tightly cropped sides. He reached behind his head and found a stubbly, velvety back of his head. He now had short brown bangs combed straight forward and looked pretty much like a regular guy. “Gee Vito, I look like a different guy! Thank you. You did a great job."
“I have to say, Jim, I like the haircut on you, but don’t get too used too it. It will just be a memory in a couple of days." Jim smiled and nodded. He realized that for the first time, he was not dreading the prospect.
Three days later, Jim arrived for his intake into the police academy. “Men to the left, women to the right. Come on people, lets get this done, and get yourselves settled in the dorms. We have a long day ahead," the no nonsense training officer barked. Jim found himself third in line for the barbers, making him in the first group of 4 to be shorn. He was pleasantly surprised to find himself sitting in Vito’s chair.
“Well, hello again Jim, the academy called me just yesterday. I was hoping I’d see you. This won’t take long. Vito quickly went to work on Jim’s Zero buzz cut and expertly had him cleaned up in a few minutes. This was not one of those 30 second military induction cuts. This was very similar to the Number 1 cut that Jim and the rest of the men would wear for the first three months of their training, returning every two weeks to a barber for the cut before graduating to a Number 2 on top High and Tight for the rest of their training period.
Jim got out of the chair, looked at himself in the mirror, smiled sheepishly and said: “thanks Vito, see you in two weeks." As he “doubled timed" to his dorm, he was rubbing his shorn head and quite liking the sensations. For the first time in a week he thought about Lou and began to understand Lou’s fascination with short haircuts. He wondered how he, himself, would feel in two weeks when the newness wore off. He reached his dormitory room and saw a similarly shorn young man staring forlornly into the mirror. “Hey baldy, I’m Jim, looks like we’re stuck with each other for the next six months."
“A little less of the ‘baldy’ man, I’m suffering here. My name is Michael, but everybody calls me “Mac," short for MacNamara. I saw you in the line, your hair was already short, but I lost over six inches of my crowning glory."
Jim was laughing on the inside at this funny turn of events. “Well Mac, you’re lucky you got me as a roommate, I’ll make sure my barber Vito keep us both nice and tight during our training." Mac looked like he was going to cry. Jim started laughing. Mac said: “what?"
Jim pulled out his phone and scrolled through the pictures. He held up the phone, “here Mac, take a look at me, last week."
“Dude! Is that really you?"
And so, Jim told him the story. “I decided that it was time for me to make some changes and one was going to be my hair. I figured I’d beat the hang man at the academy, so I got the big chop a few days ago."
“So, has this Lou seen you yet?"
“No, Mac," said Jim, rubbing his head with both hands and still being surprised at how much he enjoyed the sensation. “It was Lou’s slap-down that caused me to realize that I was way too attached to my “girly locks," but that just lead me to come to terms with all the implications that had, and that led me to making some decisions. I want to do this training and, also prove to myself that my ‘long-hair thing’ is in the past. I got to tell you, I am loving the way this feels. You need to give it a chance. Let’s face it man, if we get picked up by the city or county, we won’t be growing it out too much until we’re out of uniform or under cover." At that point, an announcement came over the PA calling them down to the gym to start training.
Two weeks after training had begun, Jim and Mac left the academy early on Saturday morning to enjoy a weekend off. As Jim promised, he was taking Mac to Vito’s barber shop for their clean up. Vito was his normal friendly self and welcomed both young men warmly. Jim got into the chair and told Vito, “you know what to do." And Vito went to work. Vito quickly dispensed with the surprising amount of stubble that each of the police recruits had grown during their rigorous training. After their haircuts were paid for, Mac and Jim stood looking in the mirror, each, frankly admiring Vito’s excellent clipper-craft. “You know Jim, I hate to admit it, but the haircut’s starting to grow on me," said Mac.
Jim reached up and gently rubbed his friend’s head. “Yeah buddy, no one is more surprised than me." The young men bade farewell to Vito telling him they’d see him in two weeks ‘if not before.’ They then went their separate ways, Mac to see his girlfriend Mindy to ‘get her take’ on his new look and Jim to run some errands before going back to his apartment for some rest in his own home. After a few stops, Jim found himself sitting in his favorite coffee place with his Kindle reading an old Joseph Wambaugh novel. He felt a presence before he looked up. Lou was standing there looking as hot as ever.
“Jimmy, is that you? You didn’t? What happened?"
Jim carefully marked his place and turned off the reader. Very coolly, he smiled and said “Lou, ‘my friend,’ so good to see you. Yes, I cut my hair, but don’t worry, its not for you. I’m in the police academy. I do have to thank you for waking me up to the need to think beyond my long hair, though. Please sit down and join me if you have a moment. Since I started the academy, I’m going by Jim, but call me whatever you feel comfortable with." Lou sat down feeling somewhat tongue tied. Not seeing Jimmy for several weeks had made Lou realize that what was between them was stronger than friendship and now Jimmy, excuse me, Jim, seemed to have accepted Lou’s friendship edict. “Go ahead Lou," Jim said, give my head a rub, I know you want to." Lou, definitely wanted to and had almost literally jumped at the chance, reaching across the table. For Jim it was heaven, for Lou, it confirmed that this was no friendly pat on the head.
“Jimmy, uhm, Jim, it looks great, you look great and its freshly cut isn’t it? Are you keeping it?" (Oh gee, thought Lou, pressuring him, just like I told him I didn’t want to do.)
“Yep, just got it cut this mornin.’ That’s an academy requirement," said Jim running his hand up the back of his head. And you know what our local cops are like. It won’t be getting much longer if I make it through the academy and get picked up here. With that, Jim looked at his phone and added, “Lou, its been great seeing you, but I have to run. I hope to see you again soon." And he was gone. By the next month, they were meeting every other Saturday at the same café. After the third meeting things progressed to Jim’s apartment and an incredible game of “cop and robber" that involved a great deal of head rubbing on Lou’s part, hair play on Jim’s and much exploration. Jim found some of Lou’s body art, particularly a tattoo of the clippers running up the back of a man’s head quite a turn on.
A month before graduation, an engraved invitation to the police academy ceremony arrived at Lou’s address. Lou accepted and looked forward to meeting Jim the following weekend. When the Saturday came, Lou surprised Jim by waiting for him at Vito’s. Lou was holding a box. After Jim’s high and tight, Lou got up and sat in the chair. Jim, startled, said “Lou what are you doing?"
Lou told him, “I started this process going and I am so proud of you. I no longer have any doubts about you and as much as I love your short hair, I’ve held on to mine. Today, I am giving you a chance to experience what you let me experience, making love and feeling the incredible sensuality of a buzzed head. Vito, as we discussed, a nice crew cut for me, after all we don’t want to look like twins." That afternoon, Jim and Lou had one of their wildest afternoons ever. So spent was Jim that he fell asleep. When he awoke, Lou was sitting on the bed with a full head of hair, as if the morning’s haircut had never happened. It was Jim’s turn to be tongue tied. “It’s a wig, you big goofball. This is going to be our secret for a while."
And so, when Probationary Officer James Napolitano received his badge and gun, applauding him were his parents and, in a lovely sun dress with a lovely head of blonde hair, Ms. Lou Anne Brady.