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Stories from my chair: Sign of the times by Kingfordian22
(This is the first in a series of stories featuring a new mens barbershop/grooming lounge from behind the chair. In this story you may recognise the character Dan from "At The End Of The Day". Due to the popularity of the story I decided to do a story with him as the client)
Today was the day I opened "The Mens Grooming Lounge" a new mens hair and grooming lounge which offers haircuts and a range of other services including colour. For 30 years my father ran a traditional barbershop in this shopspace. I have memories as a child of reluctantly being dragged into my fathers chair and being given a short back and sides. My father believed that men should look like men and couldn't stand it when he saw a male in the street with those shaggy haircuts and those "awful metro-sexual coiffed styles" that he claimed looked girly.
But in recent times, the traditional barbershops were struggling to stay afloat as the office workers who once would pop into my fathers shop and get their haircut had now begun going to the salons where they would walk out with perfectly-coiffed modern fashionable hairstyles instead of just coming in and having it all chopped off and given a short back and sides by my father like they used to. My father being his stubborn self refused to give into the metrosexuals and refused to change any of the services he offered. Finally he handed over the keys to me, who had plans to re-launch the shop as a mens grooming venue offering the modern hairstyles the office workers craved plus colour, highlights and a bunch of other grooming services. Hoping to open us up to a whole new clientele. Of course that meant ditching the traditional barbershop concept entirely and turning it into a modern mens grooming lounge. This meant a complete overhaul of the shop to shed the barbershop image.
So now the wooden panelling and traditional barber chairs were gone and in place was a modern setup with comfortable chairs, new sinks and even the installation of a bar which served the clients a drink whilst getting their haircut. My father thought this was too fancy and I could tell didn't approve but it was my shop now and he only came in 2 days a week to make sure his old clients could still get their haircuts.
Now 28, I had trained as a hairstylist specialising in mens hair and had also employed another 2 stylists and was looking for another two to fill the other two vacant chairs. Now the shop was finally ready to open! I proudly flipped the open sign for the first time.
The first day so far was busy and to my delight the shop was a hit! Throughout the day I noticed a man who looked about my age walk past the shop several times. each time glancing at the front window analysing the busy shop. Finally at 3 pm I was sweeping up a pile of shorn golden locks from a previous client when I noticed him at the window again. This time he came inside the shop.
He had thick collar-length chestnut brown hair which was slicked back and well styled. he sat down in the waiting area and he ran his fingers through the thick chestnut locks as he sat down. I saw my father giving a disapproving look at the sight of the collar-length locks and an obvious metrosexual in his old shop.... or now my shop. Luckily for this guy, my father was busy with a client and I had the only free chair. I went over to greet him and take him over to my chair.
He introduced himself as Dan and explained he was getting married on the weekend. I took him over to the sinks to wash the product out of his hair. And there was a lot of it too. As I washed his hair he explained his fiancée was a stylist and would usually cut his hair for him but due to the wedding she couldn't. The conversation continued as we proceeded to return to the chair where I draped my cape over him and fastened it and began combing his chestnut locks.
"So what are we doing today Dan?" I asked him.
"Well I usually have it cut into some quiff of some sort but I thought I'd go for something different for the wedding" Dan answered.
I rubbed my hand over my buzz cut. Only yesterday I had let my father cut my hair for the first time in 10 years. And he had been itching to put his clippers to my own quiff for years. He had despised the metrosexual his son had become and had made fast work of my hair until it was a brutal #2 buzzcut. I had wondered why I'd let him cut it and had regretted it yesterday, but this morning I decided It wasn't so bad and I could work it until it grew back (and I wouldn't let him near my hair again any time soon).
"Well you said you'd thought of going for something different... how about something like mine" I suggested.
Dan jumped at the mention of giving him such a brutal shearing. As if he'd let me rob him of his beautiful locks. Judging by the way he looked after his hair, I doubted Dan would part with it.
"I bet you've never had a buzz cut all over have you?" I said.
"I have actually... And I would never want one again" he muttered.
I was shocked. I tried to imagine a Dan without those chestnut locks. But somehow I couldn't. It was hard for me to believe Dan had once had a buzz cut and for some reason I was intrigued to know more.
Eventually we decided on a new style for Dan for his wedding. a "peaked-side crop". A complete departure from the quiff and he seemed onboard with it.
I picked up my shears and comb and combed out a long clump on the side of Dan's head. I snipped off half of the length of the clump and the clump of chestnut brown locks dropped onto the floor. I did the same thing with a second and third clump and snipped off the bulk of that side of his head. The clumps fell onto the cape and slid into Dan's lap. I then picked up the shears and placed the open blades against the side of Dan's head. Slowly I glided the shears up the side of his head, cutting the chestnut locks close to his head. Clumps of his hair fell onto the cape and floor.
"It is a bit of a drastic change compared to the length it is right now, but it'll look great on your wedding day and change is good" I told him.
"No... you know what drastic is... the last haircut I had was drastic. And the change wasn't good either. It was a buzz cut to stubble" he replied.
"What made you choose that?" I asked, intrigued.
"I didn't" he said.
"It was forced. I had been late back from lunch at work as I was actually getting a haircut and my boss conspried with a co-worker of mine named adam to shave my quiff off that afternoon after work... they had clippers ready and everything and I helplessly had to sit there while they shaved it all to stubble" he told me.
At this point, one of the other stylists came up to us. "Did you say the guy's name was Adam?" she asked.
"Yes.... why?" Dan asked
"He's my brother" she said.
"Oh so they were your clippers that he used that day?" Dan asked.
"Sorry about that... I had no idea he was going to do a forced haircut. He bragged about it for weeks afterwards though... until..."
"Until what?" I asked. as I proceeded to begin cutting the other side as I had done with the other as Dan's lap began to pile up with more clumps of his chestnut locks.
"Until Dan got his revenge... weeks later" the stylist said.
"Yep" Dan said with a smirk on his face.
"Taught him a little lesson he hasn't forgotten fast" he added
"Dan ended up shaving off Adam's hair too at the office christmas party" the stylist said.
I was shocked.
"Really?" I said
"Yep... it was down to his shoulders and everything. He wasn't expecting it! and his hair is still growing back from it" Dan said.
"which is why he hasn't been into see me for months" Adam's sister said annoyingly.
"And you didn't like the buzz cut?" I asked Dan.
"Hated it... couldn't wait for it to grow back. After that I just kept growing it for the last few months... just to annoy Adam too. But because of the wedding I decided to cut it. But I have no desire to go back to the buzz" Dan said.
As I began cutting the bulk off the back of Dan's head, I could see him watching the amounts of hair cascading onto the floor as I snipped off the locks. "Gee, I hadn't realised I had this much hair" he said.
My father had finished his client and walked over to join in the conversation. I knew poor Dan was going to get a lecture about having such styled hair and not "a real mans haircut" like my father would say.
"Well good riddance to it I say..." My father ranted.
"If you'd ended up in my chair I'd have given you another buzz cut. Men should look like men, not with this mop you have" he ranted.
I could tell Dan was offended at my father calling his treasured hair a mop. And I decided to remove my father from the conversation. I apologised to Dan. "My father dosn't accept the metrosexual male I'm afraid" I explained.
"Well it's just how things are now" Dan said. "Men actually want to care about their hair and the styling products and all that make it a lot more possible and I think they want to make the most of it, before you know... we lose it." he said.
"It's just a sign of the times... I guess. Men don't want to just get a short buzz cut or short back and sides anymore. They follow trends and all. My father ran a traditional barbershop here before I took over today, so he is from a different era and type of haircut. You're lucky you got me... I'm afraid if you'd ended up with him you'd have lost all this again" I told Dan.
"I don't want that. I love my hair" he said.
You could tell it too. Such care was put into it. Even the cut hair that was now on the floor gleamed beautifully, even though it was lifeless. Dan really was lucky and I was really enjoying having him in my chair. He was a lot of fun and reminded me a bit of myself. It was a shame he had a stylist fiancee. I would've liked to have cut his hair all the time.
Dan gazed at the now finished sides and back in the mirror. I couldn't read his facial expression as to whether he liked it or not. But there weren't tears at the amount of locks I'd cut off so that was a good sign. He seemed to be enjoying his haircut actually. I picked up the clippers and outlined the edges.
He shuddered at the sound of the clippers. "Sorry brings back memories" he explained. Part of me was fighting an urge to run the clippers through the middle of his head to see what he looked like with the buzz. but instead I got out my shears again and began to cut the top.
3 inches of chestnut locks fell to the ground as I cut the lengthy top of Dan's chestnut mane. The haircut was really taking shape now and it was looking great on Dan. I chipped into the tips of his hair adding some texture which Dan approved of
"It's different to the quiff I usually have. I think it'll be hard to get it back to the full bodied quiff again. My hair grows so slowly" he said.
"It'll grow back like your hair did from the buzz.... and look at how that grew back" I said reassuringly... pointing to the piles of chestnut locks on the floor and on the cape. "Why don't you like this now?" I asked concerned.
"Oh.... no, I like it! I was just saying its different that's all. You know, eventually I want to go back to my quiff because it's just a signature of mine now and I love it like that, but it requires the locks to be so full bodied and long and it would require sometime to grow. But like you said... if I can grow it back from nothing like I did. Than this is nothing. And I'm actually excited about this new style. I think Rebecca will love it too!" he said.
"Rebecca is your fiancee?" I asked.
"Yes. like I said she's my hairstylist. So she'll have an opinion on your haircut no doubt. Plus the bride has to like the groom's hair dosn't she?" Dan said.
"Like I said it's a sign of the times. Men caring about their hair like this. It's one of the reasons I opened up this concept. I knew men were wanting this sort of thing. I still need two stylists though. Your fiancee wouldn't be interested in applying would she Dan?" I asked.
I had finished cutting Dan's hair and I walked over to the stack of styling products I had on a table. I picked up a tin of wax and carried it over to my chair. I blow dried his hair and then added the wax and styled his hair. When he was satisfied I removed the cape.
"So what do you think?" I asked Dan.
"I love it! I think Rebecca will love it too. It's a great haircut!" he said as he stood up. He ran his fingers through his locks. I could tell he loved it. I knew he would. He would look great on his wedding day and Rebecca sure was one lucky woman.
"So do you think Rebecca will be interested in a job here?" I asked Dan.
"I don't know... I'll ask her. If she is then I might be seeing you more often" he said.
He paid and walked out, running his fingers through his new haircut once again. Confident and looking great. I'd served another happy customer who I hoped I'd be seeing again.