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Dads and Fathers in law by Deke Cutter


My father in law is a great guy. I always felt that I had missed out on having a father because my own dad had been killed in a hit and run accident when I was only three. So, I felt like I was doubly blessed when my wife Mary and I got together and I got "dad" in my life too. I felt like things were going really good for me, work was good, and when Mary and I had our first kid, well, I was on top of the world. Life didn't change as much as I thought it would. Mary took the night time feedings and in the morning, I still had time to pamper my hair every morning when I got ready for work. I should say, my hair has always been important to me, thick wavy and on the long side. I would spend the better part of half an hour getting it to look good. I was considered something of a fashion plate at work and liked to look good top to toes. The one thing that sort of yanked my chain was how Mary seemed to be letting the side down. Some days I'd come home from work and she hadn't even had a shower yet. Or else she had on a jogging suit bottom and a tee shirt. Her hair wasn't even combed. I tried to gently mention it to her once or twice. That is where this story really begins. It was a Saturday morning and Mary got up and left a note saying she was going to her sisters and for me to expect a visit from dad.

Dad arrived just as I was finishing up my morning routine. He gave me a bear hug, looked me up and down and said "son, we need to have a talk." He proceeded to tell me that Mary was so stressed out and angry with me that she was going to spend the weekend with her sister. He also said, "if you don't make some big changes now, you may lose Mary and your child!" I had no idea what he was talking about. He said to me, Johnny, you are putting all the burden of this baby on Mary. Look at you, dressed to the nines on a Saturday morning, while Mary is so exhausted she almost fell asleep in the shower this morning. Son, you have to change." I asked him what I had to do. He shook his head sadly and told me that that was what today was all about. He walked me through what I needed to do to help Mary around the house and with the baby. Wow, it hit me hard, I suddenly understood what a jerk I had been. "OK, Dad, I will do all you have asked, can I go tell Mary?" "Not so fast, big fella. We have some more changes to make."

Dad then told me to look into the two bags he had brought in with him. In them were what can only be described as "dad jeans," a blue and red checkered short sleeve shirt and a pair of penny loafers. "Johnny, you need to show that it is no longer all about you. Go change into these clothes, for a starter." I hated the clothes, they were so average. As I came downstairs, my mother in law arrived and said, she was going to do some cleaning and rearranging "while you and dad are out." With that, dad, picked up his car keys and said, come on son, lets go.

We got into his sturdy old sedan and headed into town. "Where to now, Dad?" Johnny, I am taking you to the barber. You are going to get a haircut that will not take as much time to manage. I tried to protest, but dad said to me, "this is very important. You really hurt Mary's feeling when you commented on her appearance. This change is going to show her that you are really sorry and that you are starting anew."

I hadn't been to a barber since I was a little kid. When we arrived, dad introduced me to the barber who seemed to be expecting me. "In the chair, Johnny, Tony opened an hour early so we wouldn't have to wait." I got into the chair and was caped up. "As we discussed, Don", the barber asked my father in law. Dad just nodded. "Dad, I don't mind trimming it up a bit, but my hair, its who I am." "No Johnny, what you are is a father and a husband and you are going to start looking and acting the part." The barber took his clippers and started running them up the side of my head. "That's the way a nice medium taper" dad said. I wasn't sure what that meant, but could see a good deal of my hair falling to the cape. Tony continued around my head and actually made about three passes around adjusting her, trimming there. I felt scalped, but at least I still had my gorgeous thick locks on top of my head. But not for long. Tony put down the clippers, wet down the top and started cutting the top with scissor. Lifting with the comb, chopping with the scissors, my wavy long locks were cut down severely. Next he picked up some thinning shears and went to work. He completed his assault with these. Then came the routine with the shaving cream during which my sideburns were reduced to just at the top of the opening in my ears, sort of even with my eyes. He created a part on the left, then trimmed that side a bit more with his clippers, her combed the very short hair that was left over. I looked like a stranger. My hair was flat against my head on the top and sides. The thinning shears had tamed the waves and the clippers had left the sides only about an inch or so long. Dad looked at me grimly and said, "this is it Johnny. You should be in here once every for or five weeks. This is a no muss-no fuss haircut. In fact, you can comb the top over with your fingers in a pinch." I looked at myself in my dad clothes and my dad hair and just said "yes sir."

When we returned home I noticed a minivan in the driveway, I wondered whose it was. When I got into the house, Mary was standing there. "Baby," I said, "I am so sorry, what an idiot I have been." Mary looked at me from head to toe and said "I like what dad has done for you, but you have to accept this change and that includes, a wardrobe full of appropriate clothes, the minivan that replaced your convertible and, especially a regular trip to the barbers."

It has been three months now, and I just got back from the barber shop. I have fallen in love again, this time with my baby and I absolutely adore my wife for working so hard to make our home. I'm getting used to my dad haircut and am even thinking that I might get a crew cut this summer so that I won't have to mess with it so much. Wow, what a change in my life. I owe it to my father in law. Thanks dad.



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