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A Greaser Always by Jim


I watched this shop for weeks. A lot of school kids go here and the barber is alone doing one head after another. All come out looking the same. He closes early and seems to cater to the pre-teen set. The barber is older with a thick head of solid grey hair, combed into a modest pompadour with a semi ducktail hitting his collar in back. I like the look of him. I am a greaser at heart. Even though I missed that generation I keep my hair as authentic as I can in a 50`s tradition which I can only wish I had been a part of. My hair though brown is very similar to the barbers except I have a high part on the left and comb it straight back on the sides for a longer DA. As I walk in I time it to be the last one in at 25 minutes before closing. I take a seat and the barber comes out from the back. He greets me saying,`Hello son, have a seat. I`ll only be a minute. As I sit in the red leather chair . my hands hit the white porcelain arms. I am transported to my childhood and the bi weekly trips to the barber. Even then I was bulging to see the guys get sheared. I always hoped to see the rare flattop or other period cut that was so rare. Now the barber was suiting me up in a traditional pin striped cape and paper collar. What can I do for you, my boy?, he smiled. I`d like a little trim, i replied. I like to look a proper 1950`s type haircut, I added. We talked about the 50`s for a while and he said he enjoyed the haircuts too. He said he would cut my hair in style and proceeded to use scissors and comb on the back. He went slowly and although I could not see, I was not worried since he had a slow, relaxed pace. He came around to the side and continued his slow, easy pace. As he started the other side, he said I would look the proper young man.You know the goatee is not really typical of the time, He said. I can make you look more period without it. I said no but he could trim it as he needed to to make it look in place. He next worked on my goatee. After some time he moved on to the top of my head. I noticed he had switched scissors several times. He stood back looked and then went back to cutting. After some more time passed I heard the sound of electric clippers. He pushed my left ear down and carved an arch around it and repeated on the other side. I was shocked. I said `wouldn`t that spoil the look of my DA? DA!, he said. No boy, you`re a little young for that sort of style. With that, he took a large bottle of O`DELL`S HAIRTRAINER FOR BOYS from the shelf and poured a handful out , rubbing it in a swirling motion into the hair. As his hands circled my head my head swung in small circles with them. He finally stopped and pulled out a long narrow-toothed comb. He parted my hair low on the right and combed straight across and down the side. He swung the chair in a semi circle combing my hair straight doun on all sides. Then he click on the clippers and lightly went up the sides and back again. `Now your looking sharp, boy` As he swung me around to the mirror, he said, next time don`t wait so long between haircut. I was numb. My sideburns were gone to the top of my ears. In place of my thick and painstakingly styled goatee, was a pencil mustache and a nub that covered the very tip of my chin and the neck under it. The top was plastered flat and my ears hung out with hairless arches above them. He raised a mirror behind me to reflect a top and back thinned to reveal the combed ridges separated by white scalp lines. At eartop level the hair became too short to hold comb ridges and formed a fluffed out line around my head , 2 inches above my ears.This fluff rapidly tapered to nothing, revealing 4 inches of white hairless skin at the base of my skull. Your hair should be solid now he chuckled. I didn`t think you`d want that cowlick sticking up. I really think you should drop the facial hair, it looks very beatnick. He also was saying I should come in every friday to stay looking sharp. Then suddenly he swung the chair around and with clippers in hand pushed my head back and removed my nub hair in one movement. I`m Sorry, he said. It just looked too out of line. He left me with a Don Amiche mustache. I was still a greaser in the 1950`s tradition and looked my age now, he continued. I looked 13 and felt like a child. As he removed the cape and I got up , I noticed a huge pile of my hair on the floor behind the chair. He was penciling me in for an appointment in one week. In the book I could see as he wrote. `boys who likes to be greased- attempted a quiffed DA. As I paid he reminded me giving me a card with the time and date for my appointment in a week. As I walked out I felt my head. The hair was as hard as rock and so short it felt like a bowl cut. As I turned to look back , The barber was watching me and smiling. As I walked down the street I looked in the shop windows a the reflection of the new me. I was ill with what I saw, yet I wondered what the barber could find to cut in one short week. I felt my head again, but felt no movement, just cold hard marble-like carved ridged and sandpaper fuzz. So this was the 50`s!



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