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When Dad got Mad (True Story!) by Jake
There I was, sitting in a waiting chair of Roger's barbershop. As a 17 year old with chestnut brown hair to my eyebrows, it was clear that this was my first experience, at least in a considerable amount of time, in an old fashioned barbershop. Despite my nerves, I actually felt slighty relaxed. The sound, smell, and overall warm and intimate feeling of the place was actually quite comforting. The shop was small, with only one chair, but it wasn't busy. A man in his late 50's or early 60's, who I assumed to be Roger, was cutting a man's hair. Watching the clippers glide up the back and sides of the gentleman's head kept me in an almost trance-like state, with my mind focused on nothing except the barber completing his work. Another man was also waiting. He appeared to be about the same age as the barber. After a short while, the man in the chair stood up with a fresh, short business man's cut, had some small talk with the barber, paid, and began talking to the other gentleman waiting.
The barber, Roger, turned to me with a friendly grin and said, "You're next!" For the first time since I'd walked through the barbershop door, I actually thought about what I was here to do and why.
I could hear my father's voice in my head yelling, "Don't even BOTHER trying to come back in this house until your hair is as short as I want it!"
We'd gotten in another fight.
The day before I had a friend over named Chris. Chris was one of those people who just seemed to be perfect at everything. He did well in school. He, like me, was active in the drama department, but unlike me, he was also a player on football team in the fall and played soccer in the spring. He had a great girlfriend whom every guy wanted, and he was never seen looking less than his best, which meant keeping his golden hair in a short and tidy buzzcut: a number 2 on the back and sides and a number 3 on top, as he once told me. We'd been friends since we were young and my father LOVED to compare me to him. He'd always say, "Why don't you do that like Chris" or "Chris would never say something like that to his father" or "I bet Chris isn't having problems with that teacher."
After Chris left my house that day, my dad started up with his comments.
"Chris sure is a great kid. You should strive to be more like him."
"Well if you like him so much why don't you just ask HIM to be your son instead of me?!" I screamed back at him, "Gosh, it's like nothing I EVER do will earn your respect like he has."
"Well it would be a heck of a lot easier to respect you if you did what I ask of you!"
"What you ask of me?! No! The issue here is that you'll never be satisfied until I'm a picture perfect football jock with great grades, a hot girlfriend, and a buzzcut!"
"Well, you KNOW I can't stand that hair of yours!" he replied. I knew this was ture. He had made many comments in the past. "Getting rid of that mop wouldn't be a bad change!"
"I'm NOT going to cut off this 'mop' just to make you happy and look like a f**king Chris clone!"
Dad stared at me with a somewhat shocked and cold look in his eye. He HATED curse words. Not cursing was always his number one rule.
"...What did you say!?"
"I... I'm sorry," I started to mutter, but he put up his hand to stop me.
"Come with me!" he roared.
I followed him upstairs to his room.
"Drop your pants and bend over."
I did ask he asked and squeezed shut my eyes in fear. I remember hearing this command when I was younger. If I ever disrespected him, this was his favorite treatment. I heard him walk up behind me. For a moment it was silent, then Twack! The stick his my rear end with enough force that I began to tear up, he repeated this about eight more times, and finally told me to pull up my pants. He grabbed my wrist and brought me down stairs, saying, "Perhaps that will teach you how to speak in your father's presence."
I silently nodded. As we reahed the bottom of the stairs.
"Now," he continued, "I'm making some changes around here. You clearly can't be trusted in making decisions on your appearence, so I suppose I'll have to do that for you. I don't care what barbershop you go to, but your getting that hair cut off today! Like Chris'! I don't care if you look like a 'Chris clone'. At least HE looks respectable"
He opened the front door and pushed me out.
"Don't even BOTHER trying to come back in this house until your hair is as short as I want it!" he yelled at me, and slammed the door.
"Young man? You're next!" the barber said, bringing me back to reality.
I got up and followed him and took a seat in his chair. I shifted uncomfertably in the seat; my bottom still hurt from the "lesson" my dad taught me.
Roger put a paper strip around my neck, clipped on the cape, and began combing through my hair. "You've got quite a lot of hair, son. How are we cutting you it today?"
"My dad..." my voiced cracked from my dry throat. "My dad told me to get a buzzcut. A number 2 on the sides and back and a 3 on top. He doesn't like my long hair."
"That's quite a short haircut," he replied. "Well, don't be angry with your father. Whatever he wants you to do is probably for the best. Besides, it's getting warmer every day, and you'll want short hair in the summer."
I hadn't thought about it this way, and though I didn't want to admit it, this was true.
"Let's begin" Roger said as he sprayed his clipper blades with something, and snapped on a gaurd. He turned me away from the mirror and said, "Just relax. You'll look great," and pushed my chin to my chest. He placed the clippers on the back of my neck, and pushed them up my head. Instantly, I could feel the breeze on the back of my head. He continued clipping the back of my head. He then proceeded to pull my head to left, so he could buzz the right side of my head, and he pushed my ear foward to buzz behind it. He then did the same on the other side. After completing the back and sides of my head, he stopped the clippers and turned toward his counter to switch the guard. While he was doing this, I looked over at the others in the shop. At some point another man had entered the barbershop, and I noticed that all eyes were on me and the transformation that was occuring on my head. I felt a little awkward, especially because I was still faced away from the mirror and had no idea what I looked like. I had little time to think about it though, because Roger came back to the chair. He put his hand on my forehead, slid my bangs back, and plunged the clippers into my hairline, clipping a stripe down the center of my head. He continued making this passes back across my head, until I was completely shorn. He turned off the clippers, and grabbed another pair to fix my back hair line and sideburns. Before I knew it, I was being powdered down, and the cape was unclipped.
With a smile Robert asked, "Are you ready to see the new you?"
I nodded, and he spun me around. My jaw almost hit the floor. I couldn't believe how different I looked. Eyerything about my face somehow looked different. I reached up to feel it and feeling the fuzzy buzzcut compared to my longer locks was a bizzare sensation.
After staring in the mirror for a while, I stepped down off the chair, and went to the counter to pay.
As I walked up, the men waiting all started giving compliments.
"Quite the nice change, young man," one said."
"Great work, Roger!" exclaimed another. They all nodded and commented in agreement."
"Alright, alright, boys!" Roger responded with a smile.
I tried to give him the money for my haircut but Roger insisted that this one was on him, as long as I promised to come back and see him the get trimmed up. I told him I'd be thrilled to come back and I'd see him soon.