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Conversation in a B Yard Oct 78 Pt. 3 by Archon 2

Here's the last part of the first "conversation" in this series. Be sure to read them in chronological order. Sorry it's so long, but it needed to set up some back history for the stories to follow. Note: While these haircuts actually happed, please remember that names of course have been changed, and dialogue has been added or edited for to move the story along...and because it's been a long time, can't remember everything. Hope you like it.

Conversation in a Back Yard, October 1978, Part 3:

"Again, I'm all ears” said Steve, who proceeded to settle back into his chair while at the same time roughly rubbing Dave's head and announcing as he pointed towards Dave's ears, "of course, so are you.” "By the way, he added as he sat back in the chair and started to laugh, "what's wrong, that was too easy…you would think with your baldie that you'd be able to move your head faster…being that it's aerodynamic and all,”
"Bah, I let you cop a feel” Dave said, and then continued, "plus, I'm not at school, so I'm not on guard.” "By the way, why did you come over?”
"Oh yeah…want to go see Grease again? "My dad said he'd take us, if it's ok with your dad.”
"I'll ask…pretty sure I can go later” replied Dave.
"Great” said Steve, "I'll be busy watching Olivia sing and dance.” "Just love the final scene, when they're at the fair” he added.
"Oh yeah, that reminds me, the kid at the fair…let me finish. I had managed to shake off Matt and was looking inside one of the helicopters when I hear this voice from behind, ‘hey, hoped I would run into you,' so I turned around to see this other kid.” Dave continued, "but before I could say anything back, he said ‘yeah, I got shaved as well…sucks, doesn't it?'” "Sure does, I said.”
"Then he says, ‘I was in line with my dad when you were in the chair…he almost made me get mine cut as short as yours…really glad he didn't.'”
"'Sorry that my haircut almost got you the same', I told him…”
Just then Steve started to laugh.
"What” asked Dave?” After laughing a little bit more, Steve replied "you remember that some dads have taken their sons to the barbershop after seeing you.”
"Yeah dude, I know I have been accused…” replied Steve.
"What were their names…those twins that lived on the base…their father took them to get crewcuts after he saw you at the barbershop?”
"I can't remember their names,” and besides, my dad's the one who decides what haircut I get, so it's not my fault that I have to wear it and someone else notices. So yeah, I used to see them at the base barbershop…with their dad. I always saw them wearing and getting the short tapers. Then one day they came in—obviously their last haircuts were crewcuts—and sat down next to me in the waiting area. One leaned over and whispered that they were going to kick my ass if they ever caught me alone on base because they were forced to get crewcuts now because their father used to see and my brothers get ours in the barbershop.”
"Dave, dude, you know that you looking like a little clean-cut soldier is too much too resist. And they weren't the only ones.”
"Dammit, shut up Steve,” retorted Dave. "Ok, maybe it was a haircut I had before , but when they accused me in the barbershop I still had a short taper like them, and had been wearing it for some time. Actually, that was the last time I saw them, because right after that my dad started taking me to that new barbershop for the boot cuts...and…”
"Good thing they didn't find you at the fair…that is, if they recognized you in your Kojak disguise, blurted out Steve suddenly.”
"AND,” Dave resumed, "It's not like there aren't other boys that live on base that also had crewcuts or whatever. So their dad could have been seen others, just like when my dad got the idea to give me the boot cut from seeing some other soldiers on base with them.”
"Nope, it's you…and now there will be a whole bunch of them with induction cuts, all because their fathers saw you get shaved.”
"Wow Steve, you really don't listen, do you? That kid at the fair…in the line…dad didn't make him get one as short as mine, remember?”
"Whatever…go on, tell me what was so interesting about your conversation with this kid. And make it fast, like the time it took to get your induction cut….actually, take more than a minute” Steve said, laughing again.
"You're in rare form today, Steve. I guess I'll make it quick so that I can get you …”
"Out of your hair?”
"Yeah, whatever, Steve…HA HA.” "What was interesting was that just before he found me, he was with his dad, and they ran into my dad and had a conversation about me.” Or rather our dads had a conversation about me.” Thinking for a minute, Dave continued, "First, let me finish relating my conversation with the kid. It went like this:”
"Kid: ‘My dad was actually going to take me to get my head shaved at the barbershop because of some low grades I got on my last report card. And then today I came with my family, and there was the Boot Camp Haircut booth. Crappy coincidence.'”
"Me: Yeah, just like me, already having a really short haircut, crappy coincidence.”
"Kid: I hadn't been to the barbershop for the longest time, used to go to a salon. I was always giving the others who had to go to the barbershop a bad time. Now it's my turn I guess.'”
"Me: That's tough.” "Of course, I wanted to say ‘serves you right.'”
"You should have,” interjected Steve.
"Shut up Steve!” Continuing his narrative:
"Kid: ‘Well there's actually a few kids with crewcuts or whatever at my school, but they're in other grades and I don't seem them much. But there's no one at the school—or at least not till Monday—that has anything as close to as short as an induction cut. I was kind of wondering what we're in for…there's two others that I know of in my grade that got induction cuts today. I don't know what's going to happen to us. I know you live off base…are you the only one that goes to your school that has a crewcut or shorter? And how do you put up with the teasing.'”
"Me: Yeah, I'll say it again, IT SUCKS. It was usually just my brothers and I who were the only ones in school with anything like a crewcut. But we're all 4 years apart, and so when I was in grade school with my older brother, I was so young. I really didn't care what kind of haircut I had—even though I remember how much my older brother complained about all the teasing we got because of our haircuts; and then when I was the older brother with Matt at the same school I was the one who couldn't stand being teased about our haircuts, even though Matt couldn't care less…still doesn't, in fact…I so wish I didn't care about what others thought about my haircut! Yeah, it really sucks that Matt doesn't have to get an induction cut, and wouldn't even care if he did.”
"Kid: ‘Yeah, your kid brother was there when my dad and I ran into your dad. Your dad said he was too young to get an induction cut…I guess that sucks as well, you having a younger brother that gets to wear a longer haircut than yours.”
Just then Steve said "Yeah, I know how that pisses you off, dude…that, and him being such a big pain in the ass to you…or at least that's what you always tell me
"Oh yeah,” Dave said emphatically, "Matt is a pain in the ass, almost as much as you, Steve. But as I was talking to the kid I realized that even though I might get some satisfaction with my kid brother finally getting a haircut as short as mine, I wouldn't want him to suffer as much as I did from all the teasing once he started caring about how he looks compared to others.
"Makes sense,” offered Steve as he thought it over.”
"Yeah it does; and so I told the kid that though he has it easier than I do because he wouldn't be the only one with an induction cut at his school, you just have to ignore what your classmates think. And then I confessed that up till now I didn't follow that advice too well, but was going to do so come Monday.”
"I think for me,” Steve interjected, "it's more that your classmates and others know that your parents are the ones who decide how you are going to look.”
"Ok, there is that,” agreed Dave. "And I did warn the kid about it. The conversation kind of went like this:”
"Me: I'm sure that you remembered all of the ways you can tease someone about a forced haircut. And I'm warning you, not only will you get the ‘did your daddy make you get a haircut' a lot, but because some of your classmates saw you here getting your hair cut, it will get around the school in no time, and then who knows what kind of crap they'll be saying about that.”
"Kid: ‘Will it really get around the school in no time?”
"Me: Yes it will, faster than you think.”
Breaking off from the narrative, Steve then recounted "I told him about that time in the 4th grade, remember Steve?” "It was like the 2nd or 3rd week of the school year and we were walking to school, and I had my beanie on, and Joey Hall ran up from behind me and grabbed my beanie off and threw it into the street?” "Then he laughed so hard at my new haircut before he ran off ahead of us.”
"I remember that,” started Steve, and then continued with his recollection, "You had just got a short butch that weekend…wasn't that when your dad had been on maneuvers, and you didn't get a haircut for about a month or two?”
"Right, and just like other times when my dad couldn't take us, for whatever other reason, my mom took us to the barbershop,”
"All three of you, right? I remember Mike getting a butch—did Matt get one, asked Steve.
"Well, all three of us went, but only Mike and I got butches. Matt only got his regular boys cut. Now that I think about it, it was one of the first times that I remember being just as upset as Mike about we two older brothers having to get shorter haircuts than our kid brother.”
"And before that you guys had crewcuts—kind of grown out by that time,” said Steve, who then asked "Why did she make you two get the short butches?”
"Don't think she set out to make us get short butch cuts,” answered Dave, who then continued, "I remember that day well though, since I got my first ‘butch' haircut, and because my mom kept reminding us as she drove us to the base that she had to do her grocery shopping at the commissary, go to the PX, and then take us to get our overdue haircuts, so we had better not cause any trouble—So she was already in rush when she decided to drop us off at the barbershop in the NCO club to get our haircuts so that she could start her shopping at the commissary, which was nearby. When we got in the barbershop, she had Matt go first as he was too young to leave with us— and nothing seemed out of the ordinary except that she was in a rush. But I heard her tell the barber to give Matt a trim, and she waited till he was done. Then she took Matt and left us there. I think Mike and I were just expecting a trim as well, but who knows what haircut she told the barber to give us. Maybe as she left she just told the barber to give us a short haircut…I don't remember hearing ‘crewcut,' ‘trim' or ‘butch' at that time—and it's not that she waited with us, and the barber asked that stupid question ‘short enough' and we ended up with short butch cut. Probably…or maybe she was in a rush she just told the barber to give us a quick haircut…maybe it was just that the barber suggested a butch and she said whatever…don't know or remember, though I remember her paying before she left, and telling us that we had BETTER behave, and then after we got our haircuts to walk over to the commissary and find her and Matt. I remember Mike being called up to the chair by the barber first, and then watching the barber fiddle with the vacuum attachment to the clippers, which took him a little while. Remember those, Steve? I've only seen them at that barbershop,”
"You know that's the barbershop that my dad takes me to,” answered Steve. "They still have the vacuum hoses.”
"Whatever …so there I was, watching the barber start Mike's haircut, waiting for him to grab his comb to use as a guide as he tapered the back first with the clippers, and use that method for the entire haircut like the other barbers do. Mike and I were both surprised at the same time, when the barber made the first swipe down the middle of Mike's head. I had seen that many times, so I knew what was coming…and Mike did as well. It was that first pass of the clippers, watching it mow a path from front to back, leaving his hair short enough to have his white scalp almost show through, that made me want to watch the whole thing, swipe after swipe taking his hair off. Then the barber finally did that clipper over comb technique to taper the hair over the years and at the back, and then gave him an outline shave with a straight razor. Looking at Mike's haircut, it just looked…I don't know, too regular…same opinion that I still have of a butch. Mike and I didn't say a word as we walked past each other; me to chair to get my haircut, and Mike to the waiting area; we were stunned into silence by what had just happened. I was still stunned into silence as he put the cape on me, but I was actually interested if the same would happen to me—or maybe more interested in seeing my scalp almost being exposed, row by row, the same way as Mike's. I was facing the mirror as he started, and as I saw the barber make the first swipe down the middle of my head I knew I was getting the same butch haircut as Mike, and so I guess I just relaxed and looked into the mirror to watch the clippers do their job.” Suddenly laughing, "Dave continued, "I remember I imagined the clipper and vacuum combo like a lawn mower, only my hair was the lawn being sucked into the catch bag…probably that image would have been more appropriate if I had a flattop…or maybe not. You know, I knew that I was getting a short haircut, but it really sank home when I watched the barber use his comb to taper the hair around my ears…the comb was so narrow and thin at the small end, that he really had to push the comb flush with my scalp and couldn't really angle it away from my scalp at all so that he could taper it—the clippers looked close to my scalp behind my ears that at I thought that he might cut them off. And the outline arches around my ears that I watched him give me also made it seem to me that my haircut was really short…and dorky! "Then, Dave continued, "I think we were still both in stunned silence as we left the shop, and we probably gave onlookers and passersby's who saw us as we walked from the barbershop something to talk about: two young boys with fresh butches walking as if in a daze, seemingly looking for something. I think we were still in a daze when we found our mom.”
"Well what did your mom say when she saw you,” asked Steve. "I'm thinking,” he continued, "that if she was shocked or said something like ‘what the hell happened to you' that would mean she didn't tell the barber to give you both butches.”
"Nah, still can't say” answered Steve. "When she saw us she just said ‘nice haircuts,' and we didn't ask or say much, as we were still dazed, and we also knew not to start any trouble or make her mad, as we need what kind of mood she had been in when she dropped us off. After that first butch haircut she took us a couple more times to the barbershop, where I heard instructions like ‘same but shorter,' so we ended up with butches that whole time. So I can't tell you if she thought we'd look better with butches…you know she's just like my dad when it comes to our haircuts…how good we look with them.”
"I've heard her. And I remember how short your butch looked…she must have kissed you and told you how handsome her little boy was” kidded Steve.
"Yeah, yeah, that's what I told that kid—about how short my butch looked, not about my mom, and then what happened next, which he couldn't believe.
"I couldn't believe it myself, If I hadn't been there myself” added Steve.
"Remember we couldn't have been more than 5 or so minutes from the school,” Steve. "And then when we turned the corner it seemed like there was a crowd of students just waiting to confirm what they just heard from Joey Hall, that I was ‘butched.'”
"I remember the group of bullies who came and tackled you to the ground and took of your beanie again…and then one of them put you in a headlock and they started to parade you around the school to show everyone.” "Too bad,” Steve continued, "that I couldn't find a teacher to help you out.”
"NO, you just ran away,” replied Dave…”but telling that kid that story, one of the humiliating episodes in my life, sank in. I told him, "news like a kid with a new short haircut travels quickly, and kids can be really cruel.” "He was kind of shaken after he heard that story.”
Steve continued the narrative:
"Kid: ‘yeah, you're right, everyone will know at school on Monday, or if they don't they'll know soon after I get to school. Man, I really don't want to get as much s**t from the others that you got, or that I gave them. I wonder if my dad knows what a terrible punishment he chose for me.'”
"Me: Well, that's still not as bad as my dad, you heard him basically say that having a short haircut is a privilege. I'm still like, come on, an 8th grader with a short military haircut? First it was that crappy Boot Cut that you saw me with, and now this even shorter induction cut…and have to get them all the time. And then I have to go to school on Monday to face classmates who've never had the pleasure of teasing someone who is practically bald. I mean, my classmates took it to a new level with the Boot Cut—teasing me about being a soldier and all, so after all these years you would have thought that I have been teased every way possible about my haircuts, but now I just don't know. But remember, from past experience I'll probably be forced to get an induction cut for a long time to come, but you'll get to grow your hair out again, and it will go by quickly.” "That's when the kid told me ‘I don't think so.'”
"Why did he say that to you,” asked Steve.
"Because based on what the kid heard when our dads discussed our haircuts, he doesn't think I have to worry about having to keep this induction cut for a long time to come. And I was wrong about his haircut being just a one-time punishment cut…remember, like what's his name whose father shaved his head last year because he caught him smoking cigarettes?
"Yeah, Jimmy Tyler—And I know what a punishment haircut is, he wasn't the only one that got one, but certainly he was the most interesting. There he was down by the creek before school, letting whoever was gathered around him rub his head, telling them his dad had shaved his head when he got home from school yesterday as a punishment because someone from the school reported to his father that they had caught Jimmy smoking…and that the reason his head was so smooth this morning was that when his father told him he was going to school to make sure everyone could see his punishment, Jimmy went into the bathroom and re-shaved it himself to prove he didn't care! Everyone thought he was so cool.”
Dave laughed, and then said, "I remember—and he was smoking a cigarette at the same time!”
"What happened to him,” asked Dave?”
"His family moved, but I heard that his parents sent him off to some reform school,” responded Steve, who then added as an afterthought, "I can picture him wherever he is, with his hair long again, smoking joints.” "But seriously,” he added, you should be like him: Basically gave his shaved head the finger—along with his father—by freely telling everyone that it was supposed to be a punishment, and then inviting whoever wanted to find out how a bald head felt to go ahead and give it a rub because he didn't care that it happened, or whatever.”
"I've told you already, Steve, that in his case, people thought he was cool for being a rebel, and his shaved head for getting caught just added to it. That he kept smoking certainly helped to further the rebel image…so that even though it may have been a lie that he decided to re-shave his head in the morning, it doesn't matter—he said it, it fit in with his rebel image, so it must be true. But in my case, everyone knows that I don't get forced haircuts because I keep getting caught for doing something cool like smoking, no—it's because I somehow allow my parents to decide what haircut I have to wear, like a good little boy. As for lying about the reason for a haircut? I used to make up excuses, remember? No one believed me—I'm just not as cool as Jimmy. Take these induction cuts as an example. Say we were both at the fair—don't ask me how Jimmy was allowed on base—but just say we both were forced to get induction cuts, and he was the one that with the shorter 200 ticket induction cut. So we both go to school—remember, off base where probably none of our classmates where at the fair and didn't know what really happened—and we both decide to tell everyone that in the spirit of experiencing boot camp and getting a haircut, along with free tickets, we both thought, ‘what the hell.' In fact for me, I would suggest that it was an even easier decision because I already had the boot cut…but the story would be that we both got them willingly. Guess what? No one would believe me, in fact, I think no one would believe me even if it really WAS my decision. But Jimmy? They'd believe that not only did he get the boot cut willingly, he also had enough balls to bargain with the barber and get 200 tickets.”
"Yeah, I think it's too late for you to start trying to lie, no one is going to believe you because of your forced haircut history, but you can have a better attitude,” offered Steve, who continued with "starting with the news from the kid that you might be able to start growing your hair out?”
"I hope so,” replied Dave. "The conversation the kid told me about was just that his dad commented on me getting the induction cut, and asking my dad if I was going to keep wearing one now that I had it. Apparently my dad said something like ‘probably not, I never thought about having him get an induction cut; and you know, I really liked the haircut he had before.'” Then his dad told my dad that he should be proud to have raised a son that is so respectful of his father's wishes on hair length by getting a short haircut without complaining.”
"Ah gee, did you blush, Dave?”
"Eh, I just kept listening, especially when he told me my dad replied by laughing first, and then stating that ‘I complain a lot about my haircuts, but that I understand that my dad wants all of his sons to look clean-cut…and that my grades are pretty good, but that he wanted them to be better…but that he was proud of me.' Then the kid kind of got all sad again, because that's when my dad asked his dad about him. "So the kid relates the rest of the conversation which sort of went like this:”
"My dad: ‘Your son looks great with his haircut.'”
"His dad: ‘I like it, but he doesn't. I used to let him wear his hair long, but when he flunked some classes last year and had to go to summer school I was going to have his head shaved, but he begged me to give him another chance, so I made a deal with him. No shaved head till his next report card, on which he couldn't receive anything less than a C grade—then he would get a haircut every month—my choice—and as you can see, his grades on the last report card didn't pass muster, so he's got the haircut that I chose.'”
"That's brutal.”
"Yeah it is, Steve. But to continue:”
"His dad: ‘Now he has to get all A's and B's on each and every report card to be able to wear his hair how he wants to again. An F on any report card is an automatic head shave. I think he's motivated.'”
"My dad: ‘That's a novel way to motivate someone to get better grades. Too bad I can't use it to motivate Dave to get straight A's.'”
"His dad: ‘Actually it works both ways. You can offer him a deal where he gets to choose his haircuts as long as he gets straight A's on every report card.'”
"My dad: ‘Well, I actually expect all my sons to do their best. And Dave, especially, would probably want to wear his hair long. That's not going to happen.'”
"His dad: ‘Then you put conditions on the deal. Maybe it's that you set the maximum length that he can wear, or choose a couple of haircuts that would be acceptable to you. It might be worth a try.'”
"My dad: ‘I'll think about it.”
"Geez,” interrupted Steve, I have to leave soon.”
"Actually, that's basically about all of it. After telling him about all the things that happened to me, and from his own experience of teasing others, he kind of knows that to expect, and perhaps how to handle it better than I did. With that said, I'm going to try to handle it better now that I have this induction cut. And I'm going to try to make a straight A's deal with my dad.”
"Starting Monday at school” asked Steve.
"Nah, starting tonight when we go to the movies, replied Dave. No more trying to hid my haircut, so no wearing a hat or beanie—unless it's too cold.”
"And,” Steve interrupted, "take my advice, deal with it like Jimmy Taylor,”
"No, Steve, I'm not going to start smoking and shave my head bald.”
"Heh, you know what I meant—copy his attitude, and show everyone you don't care what they think about your haircut. Be cool about it, and if someone even just mentions your haircut, go ahead and start rubbing your head—and say something like ‘yeah, my dad makes me get short haircuts…this is the shortest it's been, feels pretty cool. And then if they ask, go ahead and let them rub your head…or ask them if they want to.”
"What about everyone at school, asked Dave?
"What about them?
"I just can't start pretending I like my haircuts,” replied Steve, who then added, "like I told you, they wouldn't believe it.”
"Damn, now you're the one not listening. You don't tell them you like it or that you asked for it, of course they wouldn't believe you. Just tell them that your dad makes me get short haircuts…”
"Steve, they know that!”
"Ok then,” Steve answered, "then tell them that yeah, your dad really went overboard this time while you're rubbing your head, and then let them rub it if they want. Make a joke about it, like if you tip your head down or turn it around to face them, say something like ‘sorry if I blinded you with the reflection,' or ‘at least I'm not bald.' Hell, now that I think about it, be a rebel and really convince everyone at school—borrow some shaving cream and some razors, and when you shower after P.E., shave it in front of everyone. You can tell them that you were tired of your dad making you get a haircut that you decided you'd rather just be bald!
"Might work, probably only have to do it once then I bet no one would bother you again. Try asking your dad if you can do it, since you're nearly bald already.”
"Might work, and you bet? Nah, I think my dad is open to discussing me being allowed to choose my own haircut, and I'm certainly not going to ask him if I can shave my head bald,” Dave said with a gravity in his voice that showed he was determined to get his way.
"Just shave it bald without asking him. And it might just be enough to convince him that you're really serious about making that deal with him.”
Dave stood up to continue his chores, he replied, "Not going to happen. Sorry Steve, got to finish my chores if I have chance of going to see Grease tonight with you. ”
Steve got up to leave as well, informing Dave that he as his dad would pick him up later at 6 pm, and as he walking towards the gate, he added "seems like interesting times are ahead for you, can't wait till Monday, after school…I know I gave you good advice.”
"I'm sure I'll let you know,” replied Dave.

End of this chapter. More to follow.

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