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New Family, New Haircut by RJ

A few years ago, I had an interesting experience. I have a friend who was a representative with a student exchange program. She had a German boy who was very bright and came from a very affluent family in Germany. He had been placed with a family in the US that was not at all affluent and--more important--was not at all intellectually oriented. Needless to say, this 17 year old boy was out of his league. He was very nice about it and never complained, but it was obvious that he was unhappy.

He had nothing in common with this family. The representative decided that it would be important to move him to a family with which he would have more in common. But there was a problem. The boy had long hair. It was fairly neat. In fact, it was quite beautiful hair--light brown with blond highlights, very thick and silky with a lot of body, reaching just to his shoulders it turned under at the ends from the body it had.

I would say it was about 20 inches long, or so. When combed straight back, the hair from the front hairline reached his shoulders in the back. He never tied it in a ponytail but secured the long sides of his hair behind his ears on both sides.

He was very proud of the hair. He teased about cutting it. The first time I met him he jokingly said he thought he might get a buzz like mine, but he really had no interest in having short hair. In fact, I think he had in mind to let it keep growing longer and longer. The family he was living with had never said anything about it--even though the responsible thing probably would have been to encourage him to cut it since he was living in a very conservative area and his hair clearly was out of the ordinary.

The boy was so unhappy that his representative decided that it might be good for him to have a weekend away from his host family before moving in with his new family, so she asked if he could come and spend a weekend with me. I have an interest in soccer and could take him to a game, and there was a German restaurant nearby which she thought he might enjoy for a change. In addition, she knew that I cut hair, and the new family had told her that they would not consider having him as a part of their family looking the way he did.

The father in this family was a very respected physician in this very conservative community, and neither he nor his wife felt comfortable having a boy with shoulder-length hair as part of their family.

The rep told me that she wanted me to give him a short haircut while he was with me that weekend. The Friday came when I was to pick him up. Since the family with whom he lived had their home nearly a 2 hour drive from me, we agreed to meet half way. I took off from work a couple of hours early on that day and drove over to meet them.

He said his goodbyes to the old family and got in the car with me. He obviously was very excited about the weekend. He was very talkative and wanted to know all the things we had planned. We talked about the soccer game and the German food and some sight-seeing. He chatted a great deal as we drove toward my home.

About half way there, I said, "Magnus, there is one more thing we need to do while you are with me. The family that you are going to move in with will not accept you with such long hair. It has to be cut." He looked at me with surprise and disappointment. He immediately started telling me that it was silly for them to be othered by his long hair and that he should be able to wear his hair any way that he wanted.

He said that it's what's on the inside of a person that is important--not the outside and that hairstyles really are not important. It was his argument that because hairstyle was unimportant he should be allowed to keep his hair long; but I turned that arguement around with him and told him that since he believed that hairstyles were superficial and unimportant, then it should not bother him to cut his hair to fit into his new family.

He was hoisted by his own pitard. He looked at me and ran his fingers through the full length of his locks from front to back pulling it all together at the nape of his neck and said, "Well, I guess I would use a trim." I responded, "Magnus, you are getting more than a trim. You are getting a short haircut." Magnus was very quiet for the remaining 20 minutes of the trip. I noticed that on several occasions he seemed to be trying to make his hair a little neater--pulling the long sides behind his ears so nothing fell over his face.

He probably was bargaining for less of a "trim." When we got to my house, I helped him carry in his bags and showed him to his bedroom. He seemed delighted to be in an environment more similar to that of his natural family.

By this time, it was a little after 5:00 PM. I told him that we had dinner reservations for 8:00 at the German restaurant, and I thought we had just enough time to give him a haircut before we left for dinner. He argued that we should wait until later in the weekend for the haircut, but I prevailed. I told him that it was something that we had to do and we might as well get it over with.

He looked a little anxious but relented--not really knowing, I think, what was to come. When I took him to the room where I had the chair set up for his haircut, he looked increasingly nervous--espcially when he saw the four sets of electric clippers nearby. He sat in the chair in front of the mirror and swallowed a dry swallow as I placed a striped cape around his neck and fastened it firmly with a clip.

The long hair was trapped under the cape and I had to pull it free. I picked up a brush and ran it through his hair to remove any tangles that might be there. The brush ran through smoothly. His hair was very pretty. The light brown color had golden highlights and was very blond on each side of his forehead. It was very thick hair but not coarse--in fact, it fell just past his shoulders like strands of silk.

Although it was straight, his hair had much body and turned under where it fell at his shoulders--and had a little "bounce" when he walked or moved his head. With wide eyes, Magnus watched in the mirror every move I made. I brushed his hair for a while--letting him see it glistening in the sunlight that was coming through the window next to the chair. Finally, I reached for my Oster 76 clipper.

As I snapped into place the #2 (1/4 inch) blade, Magnus made one final attempt to control the situation. "I'd like it just trimmed around the sides and back." I turned on the loud clippers and said, "Magnus, you are going to get a nice short haircut that will make you look like a man." With that, I placed my left hand firmly at the back of his head holding his head in position while I moved the clippers toward his forehead. He looked up at me in the mirror with painful resignation. I placed the clipper at his front hairline and ran it over the top of his head to the crown.

Well over 20 inches of glistening silk fell in his lap. A look of shock befell his face as I continued to cut--first the top and then the sides. Piles of hair fell onto the cape, in his lap and rolled onto the floor. Small tears welled in the corners of his eyes as his precious hair fell victim to the powerful Osters--like a hot knife passing through butter.

Within minutes all the long hair was gone. He had a beautiful head beneath the hair--nicely shaped with no scars or irregularities. After it was all cut down to 1/4 inch, I took my Andis clipper and tapered the sides and back to the skin producing a perfect crewcut. When I looked at him in the mirror, he was beautiful. A very handsome boy with the long hair, now his eyes appeared bright and shining.

He was gorgeous and so masculine looking. I shaved around his ears and his neck, powdered him and set him free. Magnus had a wonderful weekend, I think. He was gregarious at dinner and seemed to delight in the soccer game. I returned him to his new family a new boy--no, a new man.

I hope you enjoyed the story of Magnus. He was a very nice boy that I turned into a man!

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