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A New You by CrewMan
"James! Hurry up or we'll be late!," Stuart shouted to his son, who was taking an age to get ready. Jamie knew that it was time to hurry once his dad called him James. He ran downstairs and said "OK, dad I'm ready to go now". "Well at least comb your hair before you go," said Stuart. "Actually, you could do with a trim by the look of you. I'll take you to the barbers after school tonight". "Aww, dad!", replied Jamie, but he was answered with a look that he knew not to argue with.
Stuart and Jamie had been on their own since Jamie's mother died a couple of years previously. The pair had always been close, but helping Jamie deal with the loss at such a young age (he had only been eleven at the time) had, if anything made them even closer. As they were driving to Jamie's school, Jamie said "Dad, can I ask you something?" "Go on", said Stuart, wondering what important question could need to be asked at such an early hour of the day. "You know you said I was going to get my hair cut tonight . . ." Stuart interrupted, "Yes, and I meant it and I'm not going to argue about it". "Yeah I know," Jamie replied. "What would you say if I asked you if I could have it cut short?" Stuart was taken aback by this. Jamie's hair had always been pretty long - covering the top of his ears and onto his collar at the back and falling into his eyes if not combed to the side. Jamie had always seemed to be happy with this so Stuart had never made an issue of it, other than insisting on the occasional trim to try to keep it reasonably tidy. "What do you mean by short?", he asked. "Well, kind of buzzed really short on the back and sides and a little bit left to comb on top" said Jamie. "What's brought this on?", said Stuart, "You didn't want to get it cut at all fifteen minutes ago and now you're talking about getting it all chopped off!" Jamie thought for a moment. "Well I've been half thinking about it for a bit. A few of the lads have been getting short haircuts and I'm starting to get fed up with it being in my eyes and the weather's getting warmer, so I just thought I might try it". "Well, it's a bit sudden" said Stuart. "I'll tell you what, have a think about it during the day and if you still want to get it done when I pick you up tonight, we'll see what we can do."
Jamie spent a bit of time in the morning trying to decide what he wanted to do for certain. Part of him wanted to go for the short cut but another part of him was scared to make such a drastic change. At lunchtime, Jamie mentioned what he was thinking about to one of his best friends, Robert. Robert had had his hair cut short a couple of months previously and although his hair had never been as long as Jamie's, he had still had a lot cut off. "Go for it" said Robert. "I was worried before I did it but I like it now. And if you don't like it, then it will always grow back." Robert made Jamie's mind up for him. He was going to get the short cut tonight before he got the chance to think about it more and back out.
The rest of the afternoon passed by as normal until it was time to go home. Jamie walked to where Stuart was waiting for him and got into the car for the drive to the barber shop. As they were driving along, Stuart asked Jamie if he had made his mind up about getting his hair cut short. "Yep," said Jamie. "I want to give it a try." "Well, if you're sure that's what you want, that's fine with me," replied Stuart. "You're really going to look different though!"
When they arrived at the barbershop, both barbers were working and there were also a couple of people waiting, so Stuart and Jamie both sat down on a bench against the back wall of the shop to wait. Jamie was now feeling distinctly nervous and he fiddled with his school tie as the minutes passed. It was one thing to decide to get a short haircut, but it was another thing altogether to be sitting in the barber shop waiting to sit in the chair and actually get the short haircut. He was shaken from his thoughts by Stuart asking him "So do you know what you're going to ask for then?" Jamie had wondered about that previously and had asked Robert when they had their earlier conversation and Robert had mentioned that he should ask for an attachment number. Robert's cut was a number two at the back and sides and he explained that the lower the number, the shorter the hair would be cut. Jamie had decided that if he was going to go for it, he was really going to go for it and he had made his mind up that it was going to be shorter than Robert's. "Yeah," he replied, more confidently than he felt. "I know the kind of thing I'm after."
Finally, after about twenty minutes waiting, one of the barbers called "Next!" and Jamie realised it was his turn. His stomach was churning by now and as he stood up, took off his school blazer and handed it to Stuart, he could feel his legs starting to shake. He walked over to the barber's chair and sat down. The barber draped a towel around Jamie's shoulders and asked "What can I do for you?". Jamie knew the time had come to put what Robert had told him into action and he replied "Number one on the back and sides right up to the top and take the top right down - just enough to comb and gelled up at the front". The barber looked at Jamie's mop of dark hair and said to him "You know that's going to be very short don't you? Are you sure you want so much cut off?" Jamie turned round and looked at his dad for confirmation, as if to give him the final push. Stuart looked back at him and said "If that's what you want, Jamie, go ahead." Jamie looked at the barber in front of him. "Yes, I'm sure. Go for it."
After hearing the confirmation, the barber covered Jamie in a bright blue cape and tied it at the rear and pumped the chair up ready to start cutting his hair. Jamie stared at his reflection in the mirror and waited. The barber put an attachment on to his clippers and Jamie heard a click followed by a humming noise. He had never had his hair cut with clippers before and did not quite know what to expect. As the barber came towards him with the clippers, Jamie realised that he was gripping the arms of the chair tightly. The barber moved the clippers towards Jamie's right temple, put them into his thick hair and pushed them upwards. As he did, a large clump of Jamie's dark hair dropped down on to his shoulder and slid down to his lap. A couple more passes and Jamie could see his right ear. Jamie soon felt the barber's hand on the top of his head as he moved Jamie's chin towards his chest. At the same time, Jamie felt the clippers on his neck and then as they steadily moved right up the back of his head towards the crown. This was repeated several times as the barber cleared away all of the collar length hair from the back of Jamie's head. Once this had been done, he moved round to the left side and cleared the hair away as he had done on the right. The cape was by now almost covered with chunks of Jamie's shorn locks. Jamie glanced at himself in the mirror. Although the long hair on the top of his head had still not been cut, he could see already that the sides were very short, perhaps even shorter than he expected. In a strange way, this made him more relaxed and he thought to himself "Oh well, no going back now!"
Stuart watched as the barber reduced the hair on the back and sides of his son's head to stubble. He wasn't sure what to think and whether he was going to like it or not and, more importantly, whether Jamie was going to like it or not. Unlike Jamie, who could only see the sides of his head in the mirror, Stuart could see how short the hair at the back of Jamie's head was, as the barber was by now using the edger to tidy up around the neck and ears. "Oh well," thought Stuart, "it's all part of growing up I suppose. It might even become a regular thing".
Jamie became aware that the clippers had stopped and the barber began to wet the remaining hair on the top of his head. Once he had done that, he started pulling large strands of hair straight upwards with a comb and cutting off what looked like more huge pieces. As the bulk of the hair on top of his head began to come away and was blended in to the much shorter hair around the sides, Jamie began to get an idea of what he was going to look like. The biggest shock to him came when the barber lifted his long fringe up with the comb and cut it smartly off with three quick snips to leave it much nearer to the top of his forehead than to his eyebrows. The barber put down the scissors that he had been using and changed to a smaller pair and began to snip more of the length from the top of Jamie's head until he finally had left slightly less than an inch of the four inches or so that had been there previously. Finally, he came to what remained of the fringe and asked Jamie "How short would you like me to take this?" Jamie was already starting to get used to the look and replied "Just leave a little bit so I can gel it up at the front". The barber then cut the fringe even further up until it looked to Jamie that it had gone right to the top of his forehead and gelled it into a short bumper. The cut was now almost complete and Jamie looked at the new him in the mirror. It was going to take some getting used to, but his first thought was that he liked what he saw.
The barber unfastened the cape at the rear and applied shaving cream around the edges of the haircut. Jamie was slightly worried when he saw the barber coming towards him with a razor, but thought that he may as well relax and go with the flow. The barber shaved around the outline of the haircut and then cleaned the excess cream from Jamie's neck. Finally, it was time for Jamie to see his new haircut in all it's glory and the barber brought out a hand mirror to show him the back of his head. Jamie could see his scalp through the short clipped hair and he took his hand out from under the cape and ran it up the back of his neck. He was amazed by the feel of the short, coarse stubble and wondered why he had not done this before. "So what do you think then?" asked the barber. All Jamie could think of to say was "Cool."
The barber brushed the loose hairs away from Jamie's neck and ears and removed the cape, dumping even more hair on the floor than had been there before. Stuart paid the barber while Jamie put his blazer back on and stared at himself in the shop mirrors. He also couldn't stop running his hand up and down up the back of his head. As they left the shop, Jamie said "So what do you think then, dad?" Stuart was determined to be supportive whatever he thought' although as it turned out, he thought the short cut really suited Jamie. He ruffled Jamie's hair and replied "Looking good, what do you think?" "Yeah, I like it, I think," said Jamie, smoothing down what Stuart had ruffled. "Or I'm pretty sure I will once I get used to it properly!" "It's just like having a new you," said Stuart, as they got back to the car and got in. "And the new you is just as great as the old you. And if you want to keep the new you or go back to the old you, I'll still be just as proud of you either way." Jamie turned and looked at Stuart. "Thanks, dad," he said and Stuart drove home.