Won't back talk again. by frakme
My dad would always take me to the barber when I was little & I'd get whatever haircut he told the barber to give me. Usually, it was just your typical kid’s haircut with bangs. Never anything really short; but “proper”, using his words. I didn't particularly care for em, but it really was no big deal. I had the same haircut most kids my age had.
I had never been great in school, having been held back a few years, so that may have played into some of my rebelliousness.
By the time I reached junior high school in the 70s, he put the responsibility on me for getting haircuts. Despite some long arguments, he allowed me to let my hair grow so it covered my ears for the first time. He didn't like it one bit, but he was cool with it so long as I kept it clean. Every now and then he'd make a snide comment that he was having a hard time distinguishing me from my sister from the back. Whenever he'd read about hippy protesters, he'd often say all they need to snap some sense into them is to round em up can give em haircuts.
When I got to High School, I would spend a lot of time on my hair. Conditioning it and brushing it. I started to wear it like many other guys at the time, with a center part and feathered. I’d go to a Unisex salon and would have my hair styled by a really nice Korean lady. She came to know exactly how I liked it, and every time, she’d do her magic with the scissors, never using clippers. I hadn’t been to “an old man” barbershop for quite a while, preferring the trendier salon. Besides, barbershops seemed to only cut hair one way, and I thought they’d just butcher hair like mine with clippers. Nearly all my friends went to similar salons. The idea of going to a barbershop was just not in the cards.
After leaving the salon with my perfectly feathered hair one time, I decided to stop by friend's and play some pool. We played for a few hours then I remembered I was supposed to meet my dad at the house to help move some old furniture. I ran home as quickly as I could; my hair flowing away from my face. When I got there, dad had already moved the furniture with the help of our neighbor. My dad was livid about me being late. One thing led to another, and we seemed to be arguing over a lot of minor things. He complained about my room, this and that, and then started hammering in on me about my hair. I said something he didn't like (I think I cursed or something) and this look of pure anger came over his face as it turned this bright red. We just looked at each other eye to eye. I could tell his temper was rising to a new level. I thought, “Oh sh*t, he’s going to get the belt after me for sure.” Instead, he walked very deliberately over to the coffee table where he put his keys, grabbed them, grabbed me by the neck, and threw me into the car and off we went.
He said nothing as we drove. I asked him a few times where we were going, but he didn't even acknowledge me. His face was still red and he had a determined look on his face as he just looked ahead as we drove. He made a turn, and then drove into a parking spot. Imagine my shock when he pulled up in front of his barbershop.
“What the hell?”, I thought.
He got out of the car, not uttering a word, came over to my side, opened the door, and grabbed me by the arm. He walked me towards the barbershop where he opened the door and in we went.
The shop had two barbers; both busy with customers and a couple others waiting. He said “Hi” to one of the barbers, and then motioned me to have a seat in one of the waiting chairs. He sat down beside me.
I grabbed a magazine to read and began plotting how I would make a run for it. It would be hard since my dad was sitting right next to me and there was no clear shot of the door. I felt completely trapped.
I got rather absorbed in a comic and didn’t much notice the activity of the barbers. Perhaps they’d be too busy to get to me since it was already getting late. Maybe they’d say they couldn’t take anymore customers and we’d have to leave. I hoped. Then I heard the barber called out “Next!”. My dad looked at me with piercing eyes and said: “You’re up”.
I refused to get up. I just sat there ignoring him reading the magazine. He grabbed the magazine out of my hands, tossed it on the table, then grabbed me out of the seat by the back of my hair, walked me over to the barber chair, and said “Sit you’re a$$ in that chair” as he threw me in the chair.
I was about to get up when he shoved his finger in my chest and said: "You sit in that chair until I tell you to get up!"
The barber, trying to comfort me, put his hands on my shoulders and said: "So, how would you like it cut young man?"
Before I could utter a word, my dad blurted out: "I want all this long hair gone. Give him a respectable haircut”.
I blurted out “No! I don’t want a stupid haircut here.”
Like before, we looked at each other eye to eye. I could tell he wasn’t moved by my protest.
“On second thought, I think a high and tight like a marine would be more suitable on him”
“What?” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe what he just said.
“Yea, I think a nice high and tight would do nicely.” he said, still not taking his eyes of me.
As I sat there, I could see my dad and the barber exchange glances in the mirror. The barber smiled and said "Ok dad. You’re the boss."
With that, the barber wrapped a tissue around my neck and secured a pinstripe cloth cape around me.
“Oh crap! This is really happening” I thought to myself.
It seemed like an eternity anticipating what was coming next while I could hear him moving things behind me at his counter. I was just sitting there feeling helpless, nowhere to, and all the while, my dad glaring back at me. His look was enough to instill fear to keep me from bolting out of that chair which is all I wanted to do.
I couldn't help hold back nearly crying. I felt a tear start to descend just as my dad said: "Just relax and take it like a man. It'll be over before you know it."
Then I heard them - the sound of electric hair clippers - the distinctive sound of those Oster clippers rattling to life. "Oh sh*t!" is all I could think about.
My dad stood there with his arms crossed; watching me as if poised to react if I showed any sign of trying to get up.
The barber placed a firm grip on my head thick head of hair and shoved my head down.
“Say goodbye to it” my dad said with a smurk.
I felt the clippers at the back of my head and I couldn't do a thing about it. I felt imprisoned - held there wrapped by the barber cape and my dad standing there as if standing guard. I couldn't see what the barber doing as my head was being shoved down and chin was pressing into my chest, but soon enough, I began to see long clumps of hair falling into my lap as the barber moved from the back to the sides of my head. The barber held a firm grip on my head throughout, and moved it in the direction he wanted. He tilted my head to the side and ran the clippers up and around the ear as mounds of hair fell onto the cape and slid down into my lap.
“Well, well, there are ears under all that hair” my dad said.
I could barely see much at this angle, but for the first time in along time, I could see in the mirror my ears exposed. The barber seemed to be taking delight in clearing the hair from covering my ears, as he tossed them off the clippers and onto the cape.
"Oh sh*t" again consumed my thoughts. There I sat, helpless as my dad still stood there enjoying every minute of it . All my hair, that I just got perfectly styled earlier in the day, was being clippered off while the other men in the shop got a nice show at my expense. I felt naked and vulnerable and there was no place to go. All I could do is, as my dad said, "just relax and take it like a man.”
The haircut seemed to go on forever. Just when I thought it was over, the barber took out another pair of clippers and went around the sides even shorter making them very high and tight. Finally he finished the top, trimming it off super flat.
All I wanted was for it to stop. Fighting back tears was very hard.
After dusting off the hair, the barber then smeared some kind of grease into the hair on top which made it stand up and was slick and shiny. He then went over the top with the clippers again. He finished up, dusted me off again, loosened the cape that was full of my hair, shook it off, and removed it from around me. I got up and saw all my hair in mounds on the floor. My dad paid, thanked him for "giving his son back", and we left.
The ride home was as quiet as the ride to the barbershop – my dad did not say a word.
When we arrived home, he told me to head straight to my room and he’d be up in a few minutes after I’ve had a few minutes to think about things.
I ran to the bathroom so I could see the damage. I couldn't believe how I looked. My hair had never been this short. I couldn't recognize myself in the mirror. The sides and back were pretty much shaved leaving only a shadow of stubble. The top was trimmed off so flat it looked like a laser cut it. I compared the new look to a picture I had taken just earlier that week with my cool hair. It was so severely short now. I couldn’t run my hands through it as I used to when it would just fall perfectly into place. The top now felt bristly an greasy from the wax the barber applied. I looked so ridiculous with my ears exposed like this.
As expected, within a half hour my dad came into my room. He already had his belt in hand. I knew what was coming next and these whacks were some of the hardest I every received.
Needless to say, I never backed talked again. He took me back to the barbershop every two weeks for couple months to get haircuts. Each time, he told
the barber it’ll be a high and tight.
After a couple months, without any arguments, he said I could grow it back if I agreed to do my jobs around the house and never to back talk him again. There was one other caveat: I was not to have long hair cover the ears or collar, and I was to wear it like an adult – no more center-parted feathered salon haircuts. It would be a regular side parted barbershop haircut tapered up in back and off the ears, or nothing. So, that’s what we agreed to.