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First Flattop Part 1 by htflatnc


Part 1
So how did I get my first flattop? From a young age, I admired flattops and thought they were the ultimate clean-cut haircut. And a freshly clipped, wide landing strip is amazing. I can remember finding my uncle's high school yearbook when I was 8 or 9 years old and looking through it. There I saw pictures of flattops and it seemed like every other guy had a flattop. Then I got to my uncle's picture. And there he was with a flattop. At the time, I didn't know the name of the haircut and asked my uncle about it. He told me it was called a flattop and he had one back then. He told me he thought they looked good when a guy was young and had a thick head of hair, but now that his hair had thinned, it would be impossible. He said you also needed straight hair. Because mine was curly I thought it would never work so put it out of my mind about getting one. Besides, it was mainly police and military who had flattops when I was growing up and even then they were rare. Nobody my age had a flattop. I would see one every once in a while and fixate on the flattop and the person wearing it.
One time when I was about 13, I was in the barbershop and there was a policeman getting a flattop. It was the first time I ever saw a flattop being cut. The barber was extremely meticulous and spent a long time getting the flattop to perfection. As the policeman was leaving, he told the barber he would see him again in two weeks. The barber chuckled and said, "Yeah, you're like clockwork. 4 o'clock every other Thursday. So now I knew how to watch a flattop being cut when I wanted to. I didn't get my hair cut every two weeks, but every four or five weeks. So I knew I was going to go on a four week haircut schedule so I could watch the barber perform his sculpture magic. That went on for 3 years, but then the barbershop that was near my house closed. I was going to have to look for a new barbershop. Fortunately, I was 16 by then and had my driver's license. So I got to do something that turned out to be exciting looking at barbershops and trying out different ones.
My first stop was the phone book. I looked up all the barbershops in town and wrote down the names and addresses of about ten. I got out a city map and looked up the ones where I didn't know where they were. Then Friday, I went exploring these. I drove by five of them and was able to look in them and get an idea what they would be like. Most of them were empty with no one waiting. One was busy with three cars parked outside. I decided the barber must be good and decided to park and go in. As I was about to walk in, I noticed that there was only one barber in the shop. I pushed the door open and walked in. I was slightly apprehensive, but nothing major. The barber greeted me and told me to have a seat and he would be with me when it was my turn. I sat down and then I saw the barber had a flattop. He was about 30-35 years old I guessed. He was tall; about as tall as I was, which was good, because for the last two years the barber I had been going to had me slump down in the chair so he could get at the top. That could be uncomfortable after a while.
I began looking around the barbershop. It was filled with football and basketball paraphernalia from the local college. There were mirrors both behind the chair and directly in front of the two barber chairs in the shop. Though there were two chairs, there was only one barber at the shop.
I don't remember anything about the haircut that was going on when I walked in, or the haircut that followed. They were businessman's haircuts no doubt but I wasn't paying attention to the customers, just the barber. Then one more customer came to the seat. It was the policeman with the flattop from the barbershop that had closed. I had not noticed him, which is pretty amazing considering he had a flattop. But he got up in the chair and nodded to me. In three years of going to the other shop he had never said a word to me or acknowledged me. Things were about to change.
The barber and the policeman got the flattop talk out of the way first, with the barber noting that he didn't get a chance to cut many flattops anymore and the policeman saying he hadn't seen a barber with a flattop in many, many years. Then the barber asked the policeman where he had been getting his flattop cut. So the policeman told him about the shop closing. Then the policeman said that it was the barber's lucky day since he might be getting two new customers from that shop and nodded my way. The barber then started talking to me to confirm the policeman's story. I told him that I had been going to the other shop and was sorry to see it close since it was in walking distance of my parents' house. The policeman then said, "Yeah, I think he has a thing about flattops. He's been watching me get mine cut for the past three years. And now he has a barber who has a flattop as well. Don't know if he will ever get one himself, but you do a good job on my flattop and he'll be in here every four weeks watching me get mine cut.
Then the barber wanted to know if that was how often the policeman got his cut. Policeman told him it was every two weeks for him but every four weeks for me. We were both regular as clockwork. All this time, the barber had been cutting the policeman's flattop. This barber also was a great sculptor of flattops. Short, precise, freehand flattop cut to perfection. Again, I was intently watching the barber perform his magic. The barber said he understood what the policeman had been saying about me and flattops. He then started in on me. Did I like flattops; had I ever had a flattop; did I want to get a flattop; was I ready to finally get a flattop. I told him yes, no, yes but I doubt I would. Then they wanted to know why not, and my answer was that I didn't know anybody my age with a flattop. Weak, but there it was. Peer pressure.
The barber and policeman continued talking about their flattops and about their lives. The policeman was about five years older than the barber, but both had started getting flattops when they were teenagers. The policeman said he had kept his since then for the most part and the barber said it was the same for him. The only time either of them didn't have a flattop was when they were in boot camp. The barber had been in the army and repaired helicopters. The policeman had been in the Marine Corps and a grunt in the jungles in Vietnam. He said he felt lucky to be alive. I listened intently to these two talking.
When the barber had finished with the policeman's flattop, he said he would pay for my haircut as well if I got a flattop. I thanked him, but said that the time wasn't right. Maybe someday it would be.




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