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The Chairs All Yours by P.J.
School had been out for a week now for summer vacation. I was hanging out at Jamie's house. We'd both been commenting to each other about how it had been a whole week and our dads hadn't taken us for our summer butches yet. We'd been allowed to grow our hair out for the entire school year this year too, all the way from our summer cuts last June, a whole year. We both had an amazing amount of hair now, thick and heavy, hanging down our necks, and past our noses, ears more than completely covered. Our dads didn't know it but we'd each given the other a trim before Christmas, just to keep it from looking too shaggy, for fear the dads would make us cut it for the holidays.
Jamie's dad had just finished making over their basement into a huge rec room to hang out in. It had a pool table, ping pong table, wet bar, and home theater area. He'd also bought this cool old fashioned barber chair.
I'd come over after dinner to shoot some pool with Jamie. I flopped down in the barber chair to try out. Wow, I said, this is cool, Jamie said, yeah, it reclines too, and pulled the big lever on the side and pushed me back.
Jamie's dad came down the stairs just then, looked at us and laughed. Well, I thought that Jamie would be the first one to try out the chair, but since you're sitting in it Chip, I guess you can go first. We both looked at him and asked , what do you mean sir, at precisely the same time. His dad laughed again. Well Chip, I told your dad about the new barber chair I'd gotten, and how I planned on cutting Jamie's hair at home from now on. He thought it was a great idea and said, fine, you can get some practice in on Chip too if you like. I won't have to run him to the barber shop and listen to him whine. Let me know if he gives you any trouble and I'll stop over. Just give him the usual butch like we always get for the guys unless you have something else in mind. Whatever you decide is fine by me. At that moment I decided I might just kill my dad and suffer the consequences.
Jamie and I looked at each other and almost passed out. Uh, sir, thanks for the offer , but I think I'll go with my dad to the barber shop if it's all the same to you. Now Chip, Jamie's dad said, holding up his hand, how about you give me a chance, and if you don't like the outcome I'll take you myself. I'm not planning on butches either by the way, just so you know. Jamie raised me up so I was sitting again. HIs dad went over to an old dresser and got a new cape, and all the rest of the gear necessary to cut hair. Jamie looked at me again panic stricken, sorry dude, he said quietly, I had no idea this was coming.
His dad laid out clippers, shears, comb, spray bottle, and thinning shears on the dresser. He unfolded the cape, and looked at me inquisitively. Well Chip, what do you think, he asked. Um, well, ah, hmm , sir. What kind of a haircut were you going to give Jamie sir. Jamie was wide eyed, staring at his dad expectantly. You boys are older now, going to be seniors next year, I think the butch is getting kind of old, don't you? Well, sure, I guess, we said in unison, can't we just get a trim? HIs dad laughed , you gotta stop doing that boys, it's getting king of spooky. You'd think you were twins or something.
Well, I was thinking about something along the lines of what I have, a nice business man's cut, short on the back and sides, and a bit to comb on top. Certainly better than a butch, wouldn't you say? Or I can just cut Jamie's, and your dad can take you this weekend for that butch. I was trapped, Jamie looked at me pleadingly. I knew he didn't want me to leave him to his fate alone down here with dad the barber. His dad had cut his hair before and done a passable job, it was hard to screw up a butch, though.
Well, um, gee, I guess it's O.K. sir. Feels kinda weird though, there's no mirrors down here sir. I guess you'll just have to trust me son, his dad said, smiling. If it doesn't come out to your liking, you'll still be able to have me shave it all off, or go to the barber and get it shaved off.
With that, he shook out the cape and draped it over me. Yikes! He pulled out a couple of sterry strips from the drawer, wrapped one around me, and snapped the cape. Double yikes!
Hmm, he said, has he combed out my long thick locks. My, I guess we should have taken you boys for a cut Christmas time instead of letting you go all year. This is a lot of hair son. I grimaced. Not really sir, most of us guys in our year at school have long hair now sir. I'd really, really like it if you could just give me a bit of a trim for the summer sir, tell my dad you thought it would be a good change, maybe.. Nonsense Chip, you need a good cleaning up at least, not a trim. It'll be hot this summer, and you need to look presentable for those summer jobs you both scored too.
I took a hard look at Jamie's dads hair. He had a crisp taper in the back, and around the ears. No white walls at least. The taper blended into longer hair up at the top of the back and sides, and then he had a thick long pomp, that he combed back, kind of like a pompadour, only longer.
His dad reached for the clippers, snapping a guard on them, and lifted up my thick mane in the back. Sir! I barked, sorry sir, but, what guard do you have on there sir. Why, um, a #2, why Chip, can you change it out for a #4 to start, please sir! At least I won't look completely scalped sir. Why, son, afraid I'm going to make a mistake. No sir, I'd just like it to be as long as possible if you have to use the clippers sir. Hmm, O.K. I guess, he said, switching it out. I'm not going to be giving you boys any type of fancy layered haircuts. We're still going nice and short for the summer. You can let these cuts grow out for the next year if you want, kind of like this past year. On the other hand, now that I have this chair handy, I might be able to keep you both looking sharp all year. We'll have to see. I could see Jamie sag in the chair sitting opposite me, he looked like he was going to puke.
His dad lifted a huge section of hair at the back of my head, snapped the clippers on, and plunged in.
The pitch of the clippers changed as they made contact with the long thick shank at my nape. I could feel his dad drive them up, up, up halfway up the back of my head at least. Thick heavy handfuls of my beautiful hair began to slide into my lap. Mound after mound appeared after each pass up the back. I watched Jamie cringe with each pass of the clippers.
This is looking good Chip, we're off to a good start I think. I now had a huge pile of my sandy blonde hair in my lap. Jamie sat across from me transfixed. A look of abject terror on his face. When his dad wasn't looking he mouthed I'm so Sorry dude, all your cool hair". My beautiful Emo like do was being slowly destroyed clipper full by vicious clipper full.
His dad combed all the thick heavy bangs and the long locks on top over to the right, giving me a rough left part, and plowed in behind my left ear with the clippers. More mounds of my precious locks sailed down into my lap. Ah, so, you do have an ear under there, his dads said playfully, giving it a gentle tug. He proceeded to remove all the long hair on the left side. That done, he moved to the right, combed the thick top mop over to the left, and repeated the process. now, most of my treasured locks lay in my lap. This wasn't a butch, to be sure, but a short cut none the less, and no more desirable than the butch would have been. Jamie was almost crying, he was pawing at his dark blonde mane, running his fingers through it, pushing the huge bang shank off his face.
I was in semi shock, and didn't realize that his dad hadn't completely shaved all the hair off the sides and back, he'd only gone a good way up. He clicked the clippers off. Well now, that's a good start. Jamie whimpered quietly looking on wild eyed. I just sat there in stunned silence, looking at the huge pile of shorn hair in my lap. I pulled a hand out from under the cape and ran it forlornly though the pile.
His dad said, quite a lot of hair there isn't it son. Don't worry, I haven't butched you though. O.K. good sir, was all I could squeak out. As it turned out, he proceeded to do a passable job of scissor over comb to cut the longer hair on the sides and back , and blend it into the clippered portion. That only left the huge mop on top, and my treasured bangs. He took the guard off the clippers, and gave me a very slight tight taper around the bottom first, all the way around to clean it up, and shaved my neck.
Almost there Chip, he said cheerfully. Looking good son, you'll see. Now he dampened down the remaining long hair thoroughly. Hmm, there's quite a bit here son, I think I'll thin it out a bit first. I was looking pleadingly at Jamie, he'd almost fainted at that comment. Please no, no, dad, he barked, don't do that to him, please. Wow, this must be bad if Jamie was coming to my defense. Alright, alright Jamie, no thinning, yet, we'll see. I'm surprised you're so concerned about Chips hair. It's just that what you do to him, you'll do to me next dad, Jamie said with a groan.
Well, I'll do my best to angle cut it so the bangs are longer than the hair on the top in back, like the barber does mine, but your hair is much thicker Chip, I'm not sure how it will look when we comb it back. Yikes, I was going to have to comb it back like his too, oh, god, this was bad, almost as bad as a butch. Maybe the butch wasn't such a bad Idea after all.
Then all I could think of was now I would have to submit to not one, but two brutal sheerings before summer vacation really started. Nope, I'd stick this one out and see how it turned out first.
His dad started combing and snipping, long thick damp locks started raining down into my lap. He was working his way from back to front. Amazingly when the front bang section was cut, it flopped back into my face. It was probably between my eyes and nose, I couldn't really tell yet with no mirror. Jamie's look had gone from stricken to wrinkled brow surprised.
His dad now started to comb everything back, giving me a crisp left parting. He made a couple of adjusting snips towards the back, and looked expectantly at Jamie. Well son, what do you think.
Jamie started to open his mouth to speak. His dad jumped in, and remember, be nice, your next.
Well sir, outside of the fact that compared to what he had a few minutes ago, its freakishly short, it does look a lot like your cut sir, just a bit longer on top. His dad said, run upstairs and get moms hand mirror off her dresser. Sorry Chip, that'll have to do till I uncape you and you can have a look in the new powder room mirror. I think it looks good son, I hope you do too, I really don't want to have to snap a #1 guard on and shave it all off. Jamie was back in a flash, handing me the mirror, and getting a close up look at the carnage himself. No doubt in anticipation of his own impending doom.
If it looks passable, I'll uncape you and you can take that mirror into the bath, and have a look at the back, like we do at the barber shop, mirror to mirror.
I looked like a semi geek. All the thick heavy locks framing my face, and the treasured bangs were gone. My face was fully exposed. Wow. I had a crisp taper, on the low side, graduating up into longer hair , probably an inch and a half to two inches long, and long slicked back bangs on top. They were piled up and pushed off slightly to the right, the sharp part evident on the left. I sighed, well I guess it's still better than the butch, I said to myself. O.K. sir, can I have a look in the bath room mirror? He unsnapped the cape, and the huge mound of my former glory slid to the floor. I sighed again, a bit louder this time. Chip, it's not that bad really, his dad said. Tell him Jamie, will you.
We both practically ran to the bath together. I stood with my back to the big mirror, facing Jamie, holding the hand mirror up and moving it all around. Jamie was on the verge of tears, pawing at his long locks again. Dude, I am so sorry man, he said. It's so short! I looked at him, then back at the mirrors. Yes, your right, its freakishly short, to be sure. BUT...it's not a butch either! And if I'm being honest, your dad did a passable job. I wouldn't want to go and get it shaved off. Do you think I should , I said, looking at Jamie. No, No, dude, no. I guess you're right, it really doesn't look like a home hack job. It'll pass as a barbers shop job. Jamie looked at me again, panic in his eyes. He reached out and touched my fresh clipped nape, running his hand up the back. Oh, man, sure feels like that butch man. I gave Jamie a look. ( it felt really great to have him stroke the back of my head, whoa, where did that thought come from)What's that look for man, Jamie said, dropping his hand. Then he got a shocked expression on his face. Please, please, don't tell the guys that my dad cut your hair, please. I smiled for the first time tonight. Don't worry, I won't. Unless of course, they all want to know where I got this hot new fashion trend haircut from. Jamie smirked. Yeah, right, fashion trend, ha, ha. I reached out and stroked his long soft hair, pushing his bangs back behind his ear. Man, you are so screwed, I said sadly. Your next, all this is going to go. I shouldn't have said that. The water works started. Hey, hey, calm down man. If your dad hears you , or worse yet sees you its butch time for you for sure man. He quickly stopped, drying his eyes. His dad was outside the door. Well Chip, you guys O.K. in there, he inquired. What do you think son?
I fluffed Jamie's hair again, wow dude, was all I could say. I popped the door open before he could reply. I guess its O.K. sir, thank you, I think. Well, I guess I can't expect a rousing hooray from either of you, his dad said. I know you aren't amused with the cut, but do you want to keep it or have me shave it. No, no sir, I'll keep it, It's O.K. It's not you, It's just that getting all that hair cut off really sucks sir.
O.K. Jamie, your turn son, his dad said, patting the chair. Jamie practically crawled over to the chair. Flopping into it, and slouching down. Hey, I said, sit up. I dug in my pocket for my cell phone. I grabbed the comb off the dresser. Don't move, I ordered. Jamie's dad looked at me like I was an alien that just landed. I gave Jamie's hair a quick comb, then before he could protest, I snapped 5 shots off on my camera on the phone. Dude, what's that for!, He roared. Posterity man, I wish I'd thought to have you take some of me. These are the last shots while you have this amazing mane man. Jamie dad had a raised brow , oh brother, look on his face. You guys really love this long hair look, he said, kind of disgustedly. Yes, I said, yes we do, sir. We're teenagers, we're not in the running for chairman of the board yet sir. This is just the age old father son fight over dominance, sir. His dad looked incredulous, dominance huh, wow, was all he said. Sir, we're off to college after next summer sir. When do we get to decide how we look, I asked, sounding dejected.
His dad draped the cape over Jamie, sterry stripped him and snapped the cape. Now I got the ring side seat for his brutal shearing.
As his dad combed Jamie's hair out, snapping the #4 guard on the clippers again he asked, so given the option, what kind of haircuts would you have gotten if we'd have let you boys get anything you wanted this time.
Jamie and I looked at each other and laughed. What's so funny his father inquired. Well sir, I offered, we wouldn't' be getting haircuts at all sir. Not till probably fall sir, and then only a trim sir. His dad didn't know it but earlier today we'd both discussed the fact that we'd have to wait to have shoulder length hair till college now. You wouldn't cut it at all boys, his dad said disapprovingly. Sir, look at us, our hair is neat, clean, and combed, it's just longer than you approve of, we don't look like slobs, do we. No, he replied, just sheepdogs, but not slobs, he said, smirking. You have to admit sir, even though this isn't a butch sir, it's pretty geeky looking by today's trends. I probably won't take more than a week of ribbing from our friends, but only because in today's world, almost anything goes. it's just that this isn't the look I want. I'm sure someday I might wind up back with this cut, but when I'm ready for the boardroom sir, not now.
His dad shook his head sadly, lifted up a huge handful of Jamie's dark blond mane, and plunged in with the roaring clippers. Jamie sighed, like all the air went out of him. It was his turn to watch as huge hunks of his treasured mane slid off his shoulders and accumulated in his lap. Jamie just sat there shell shocked as the back and sides of his mane were sheared off. I watched with interest as his dad did the scissors over comb work on the upper portions. He was actually pretty good at it, I wondered how he'd gotten that good cause Jamie had never had this type of haircut, that I could remember anyways. It had always been annual or semi-annual butch cuts, for both of us. Jamie went from a gorgeous dark blonde head of hair sticking up through the opening in the cape, to someone looking small and vulnerable as his precious locks were reduced to a fraction of their former glory. I watched sadly as mounds of his dark blonde mane were transferred from his head to his lap. Finally his dad finished up with the clipper work, edging around the bottom just like with me. The it was time to tackle the thick heavy top and bangs. god, I almost didn't want to watch this part. It was the final injustice. His dad sprayed Jamie down getting it evenly damp, and proceeded to hack off huge long locks as he started the graduated cutting of the top from back to front. Jamie's bangs almost touched his mouth when this all started, now they'd been reduce to just below his eyes like mine.
Sadly, we'd started out the evening with just about the same cuts. Grown out butches for a year, except for the trims we'd given each other . Now, we had virtually the same cuts again. All we needed was white button down shirts, plastic glasses , and pocket protectors to complete the look. Nerds as far as I was concerned. It would be a baseball cap summer once again. While watching Jamie's divestiture I noticed that my hair had dried, and the thick bangs were sliding down. I'm sure with a bit of prompting, they'd slide into my eyes just as my long bangs used to do before. Maybe this haircut wasn't a total disgrace. I realized we'd have to start using some sort of product to keep the bangs slicked, but when we didn't need them slicked, we still had a bit of hair to play with. O.K. maybe this wasn't a total train wreck.
His dad was now done with Jamie. He handed him the hand mirror and unsnapped the cape. Jamie's pile of dark blonde hair now joined mine on the floor. I noticed he couldn't bring himself to look at it as he stood up and slowly walked to the bath to inspect the carnage. Jamie, his dad barked. It's not that bad. If you want, you can come back and sit down, I'll snap the #1 guard on and have a go at what's left. No, dad, that's fine, it's just that I already know how bad it'll look. He waved a hand at my head. Jamie knew if he got lippy, he'd be back in the chair regardless, getting clippered down for back talking his dad.
Thanks a lot I barked back. Just being honest dude was his terse reply. He walked into the bathroom, I slid in before he closed the door. He didn't even hold the mirror up. Why bother he said, looking at me, ready to cry. He ran a hand up the back of his crisply tapered neck. The tears started. Stop, I said, just stop. We can cry about it together later, do not give your dad the satisfaction of knowing he got to you. It'll grow out man. We have ball caps, just like every other summer, right?
Jamie hugged me sagging. I can't believe I look like a geek for another summer man. I know, we'll be geeks together though, alright? He smiled sadly and popped the door open. Who knows, we can cut each other s hair again next year if we need to, we have all the gear now, I said smirking, even the chair.
We're good dad, do I need to help you clean up? We'd like to go over to Chips and let his dad gloat, I mean have a look at the carnage, I mean at our fresh haircuts. That's enough Jamie, and no, I'll clean up. Come here for a minute though, both of you.
Chip, what you said earlier didn't sit well with me. What sir, the boardroom comment, I'm sorry sir, It's just that I'm frustrated having to get sheared like a ten year old every summer, I'm going to be 17 in a few weeks , geese. No, son, I'm not mad about the comment, it got me thinking, just as you stated just now. I'm going to have a talk with your dad. I don't know how he'll feel, but I can tell Jamie for sure, right here and now, this is the last time I'm insisting on how your hair is cut and cutting it for that matter. From now on it's your decision and your responsibility. One request though. Jamie was looking at his dad, slack jawed. What's that, dad? Please continue to keep it neat, clean, and presentable, and no ponytails, at least not when your around me, O.K. his dad smiled sadly and patted his shoulder. I guess a neat, clean sheepdog is better than a cowering dejected one. Dad, Jamie said sounding exasperated, you couldn't have decided this before you clippered off a year's worth of our hair? His dad sighed, sorry son, small consolation, but won't happen again, at least not to you. From now on,
The chairs all yours.