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Conversations, Nov 1978 Part 3 by Archon 2

Author's Note: Please make sure you have read Parts 1 & 2 first! This is the last part, with other 'Conversations' coming soon. Please leave comments, even if you don't like the stories. I want to make them better. You can also email me, club.poster@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Conversations, Nov 1978, Part 3 (Final Part of the Conversations for Nov 1978)

So there they were in Dave's backyard, waiting for Dave's father to come home to inspect the wood pile that Dave and his best friend Steve had just re-stacked. Steve had been promised $5 for helping Dave, though he would probably just have helped without any payment. Dave's backyard was his home away from home, and he felt comfortable around Dave's entire family. So he came often, and was always welcome, especially by Dave, as Steve was the only one with whom he could talk about his past haircuts comfortably. Well, they showed a common interest in haircuts as they were both army brats, and suffered through a lot of teasing from their classmates over their various haircuts, so it was something that they could share. Tonight's theme, however, was Dave's plan to thwart his father's seeming desire to keep him wearing the shortest ‘military haircuts' ever devised. And, as usual, Steve was very skeptical of Dave's plan.

"Hold on, Dave,” said Steve as he held up his hand for silence so that he could continue "Are we or aren't we going to tease Matt about his new flattop?” Then, with a sly look he turned to Dave and said "Hey, let's use some of the new put-downs you must have received this week to make your little brother cry.”

Dave couldn't help himself but laugh at Steve's suggestion, even though it was meant to piss him off. But in answer to Steve's question, Dave had to stick up for Matt first by telling Steve that Matt was off limits, period. Dave then addressed what the reactions were from his classmates to his new induction cut. He had to admit that "There wasn't actually anything new, as I had feared, just more of the same. I guess to them my new induction cut is no better or worse than my old boot cut. I'm still just the little soldier that couldn't grow his hair. As much as it pains me, Steve, I guess you were right—I was spending too much time on worrying about what kinds of awful things I would have to hear from everyone at school…just needed to take it, and deal with it.”

"Told you so, told you so,” sang Steve in his annoying voice, which once again made Dave laugh again.

After a bit, Dave stopped laughing, as he remembered about Monday, the first day of school for him with his induction cut. He had woken up, and took a shower, and then spent some extra time in front of the mirror. Of course, unlike other teens his age, it wasn't to towel off his hair and then perhaps blow-dry it into the long and feathered hairstyle that was so prevalent. No, it was a different ritual, where he put on his beanie, taking the time to position it so that a maximum amount of coverage was achieved: Down past his ears and pulled down as far as he could in the back. Today he really took his time to make sure as much as his head was covered, even though his previous haircut was clipped just as short on the sides and back as his current induction cut. While this meant that no one could tell that he had a different haircut even with the beanie pulled down as far as possible; to him it didn't matter, it was a security blanket of sorts that hid his shame.

During their walk to the bus stop, Steve suggested that Dave take off his beanie—his security blanket—as the others would find out eventually, and that he might as well just take the initiative and not try to hide anything. But Dave would have none of it, especially since both Jr. High and High School students waited at this particular bus stop, and both groups were picked up roughly at the same time. So he didn't want to expose himself to ridicule from the high schoolers, who were, as a whole, much worse to him than his classmates.

But he knew Steve, so he told him that he did have a plan "Yeah, I know—I'm just not ready to hang out at the bus stop with a ‘baldie' that will attract attention from the high schoolers,” Dave said with a face that looked like he was deep in thought. He continued after a bit "I think, though, that I'll take off my beanie in bus. And then I'm going to just not care what others say…maybe let them rub my head. Just don't say anything yet, Steve. Hopefully no one has seen me on the weekend.”

So, Dave was relieved that as he and Steve got to the bus stop and waited, no one came over to tease him with the knowledge that they knew he now had an induction cut, and he and Steve just spoke about the usual things that were of interest to them and the two or three friends that they knew: Movies, TV, etc.

Then their bus came, and Steve even behaved himself as they sat down near the back of the bus. But then, in a characteristic "Steve moment,” he decided that he would just have to show his best friend that he was right (and get a laugh out of it at the same time—hey, he was Steve after all); so in a loud voice aimed at those nearest Dave, Steve asked "Hey Dave, I heard you went to that fair at the Base Saturday…I heard you brought something home…don't keep it under your hat, let us know!”

Dave had been expecting something like this, so there was no immediate reaction from Dave, like putting his hands protectively over his head in an attempt to keep his beanie on. Instead, he had forced himself to put a smile on his face as he pulled off the beanie with a flourish, and announced, "Yeah, my dad made me get a baldie, compliments of Uncle Sam.” Dave then said to the others as he bent his head down and around for everyone to see, "go ahead, let me have it.” Dave then invited those around him who were interested to rub his head. That out-of-the ordinary behavior from Dave actually kept the others somewhat quiet for the ride. The rest of the day went reasonably well, with the usual characters making the usual remarks. But Dave had been emboldened by the bus ride, so he continued to let everyone know that yes, his ‘dad made him get a baldie,' and they were invited to see ‘how it felt' by rubbing his head. Monday was therefore a mix of good and bad. Tuesday was a little different.

Thinking about Tuesday, Dave broke off his train of thought and turned his attention to Steve, and then signaled his irritation about what happened that day by smacking Steve upside his head. Which of course got Steve's attention.

"Hey, what was that for” Steve asked as he returned the favor.

"Tuesday, you asshole,” replied Dave.

"What did I do?” asked Steve, who then continued with a quizzical look on his face, "I don't remember getting to laugh about anything.” Steve fell quiet, though, when he saw Dave's the irritation on Dave's face.

"The bus stop…you remember, some of the high schoolers came over and one of them asked if my ‘dad had shaved me bald,' and you replied that ‘no, it was Uncle Sam, take a look.”

"Hey, I told you already, I thought you were going to just show them, like you had been doing already at school. Instead you get all defensive, and so they make you take your beanie off and give you the ‘noogies.' Steve then started to laugh, remarking that "boy, you should have seen yourself…your face was all red and flustered, along with the top of your head.”

"Yeah, you've told me already…many times, so glad I could provide you with entertainment, Steve.”

"Not just me, you gave everyone a laugh,” retorted Steve,

With a sigh of resignation, Dave let his irritation at the event subside, as he reflected, "I guess I should have handled better. But you know what, Steve? That's the kind of behavior that I am afraid of…and we'll be in high school next year. I just can't go to high school with an induction cut. It will be bad enough that even if I convince my dad to give me a ‘haircut deal,' it will still be a short haircut. You would think by high school you wouldn't have to put up with these kinds of problems.”

Somewhat subdued by Dave's apparent distress about high school, he simply asked "well, have you been thinking about what kind of haircut you can persuade your dad to let you have now…you know, before you get to high school so you don't have your induction cut?”

Suddenly smiling at the Steve's question—as if he really thought he had gone over every possible scenario and weighed his decision carefully, Dave's answer was simple: "Flattop, kind of like what Matt has now, but a little boxier…but short.”

Genuinely surprised, Steve shouted "Flattop…are you serious?”

"Yes, flattop,” I've thought a lot about it responded Dave.

Settling down, Steve, in a serious sort of way reminded Dave that "you're probably doing it again, thinking too much about your haircuts. And let's not forget that you thought your way into an induction cut.”

Dave then, in a matter-of-fact way, gave the reasons that he chose a flattop, starting "Well, I had been thinking about how I could approach my dad; you know, I needed to start by remarking that I thought it was time I grew out my hair a little into something else that I could wear. I thought of the boot cut first—it was cut as close on the sides and back—with just the top area gradually getting longer over the crown and towards the front, but that was the problem, my quiff at that time was about 3 inches, so that would require about 6 months for it to look ‘right.' Then, when I saw Matt get his flattop today which the barber shaped out of fairly short hair…and that my dad really liked his flattop, I thought, hey—won't take too long for me to grow out my hair into a flattop, and my dad would most likely be ok with it, especially if it was really short on the sides. Then from there I could try to convince him to let me get something longer.”

"Yeah, but a flattop,” Steve said in an incredulous voice. "Why not just a crewcut” suggested Steve…”I mean, from there you just let it grow out into a taper cut. That's what happened with me—if you think about it, I really just have a long crew cut now. It couldn't have taken that long to grow out.”

"I think he's stuck on this ‘military look' for me, now that I'm a teen. And a crewcut looks clean-cut, but not ‘military,'” reasoned Dave. Then Dave continued "But remember when we had our first flattops, then when I went to the taper cut my hair was just sort of allowed to grow out to that short taper cut—you know, before my boot cut. So to me, it's a logical progression to go from this induction cut to a flattop, and then to a taper. Anything but an induction cut; and come to think of it, anything but a butch or burr as well, with all your hair the same length. I always looked better with the top longer than the sides…and with the flattop, it looks like your front is longer. So I think both me and my dad could live with a short flattop.”

Steve then chimed in "Yeah, that's why the crew cut looks better, it gradually gets longer in the front. I liked how your quiff stood out when you had the boot cut.”

Yep, Steve and Dave knew their haircuts, and it was simply a fact—or at least it seemed to them—that since they thought they looked better with haircuts that had some varying length to them—especially a longer top and front—it must be that everyone else did as well. So not only were they keen observers of short haircuts, they also commented every now and then on what current hairstyles their classmates were wearing, as well as the rock stars and actors that so influenced the fashions of their generation. And Steve's last remark reminded Dave of a conversation he actually had with another classmate, who had a ‘hairstyle' that had interested him.

First though, he agreed with Steve about his boot cut's quiff, "Yeah, the quiff really stood out, and looked cool, all combed into place with everything else clipped short.” Then stopping for a bit, Dave recounted to Steve "Just yesterday, I fact, I was telling Doug… You know, Doug Swartz…”

"Doogie!” Exclaimed Steve. He's so cool.”

And Doug was cool, with his dirty blond hair that would actually be classified as short-to-medium on the haircut length scale of the time, and which was expertly cut into layers that made him look like a young Shaun Cassidy. He was popular with everyone, not only because of his good looks, but because he was one of those kids who were genuinely nice to everyone—or at least not overtly mean. Doug ‘teased' Dave whenever he—that is Doug—got his hair cut at the salon, reminding Dave that his layered haircut took a long time, and how careful his stylist had to follow his instructions exactly; whereas Dave's haircuts…well, perhaps if the barber took his time…However, that was the extent of it, and in fact Doug was the only other one of Dave's classmates who told Dave that he thought his boot cut looked sharp. Doug, though, was probably only interested in how his beautiful haircut compared to others, and didn't make it a habit of thinking too much about the haircuts that others wore. Interestingly enough, though, one thing Doug and Dave had in common was that they both had parents who wanted their sons to look their best, so they both had frequent haircuts, sometimes as frequently as every two weeks; however, one took his son to the barbershop, and the other one went to a Salon with his mother.

"Yeah, Doogie!” mimicked Dave, "he was walking over my way, out in the yard with some others. And when he saw me, he came over and said ‘hey Dave, I hear you've been letting everyone rub your head,' so I told him that I would let him rub my head if he wanted to, but that it had grown out some, and no longer had that freshly-cut feel. That made him laugh a little, as well as the others that were with him. He tells the others that he would catch up with them, and they leave. Then he looks at my head, gives it a rub and says ‘I liked your other haircut better…what happened, did it take too long for the barber to give you your other haircut?'

Steve then piped up, saying "I noticed he got his haircut as well. He used to have that full-blown feathered & layered look, though the hair on the sides only covered maybe half his ear. Now it seems like his stylist only cut the front bangs and sides shorter, and maybe just trimmed the back. Looks out of proportion to me.”

"Yeah it kind of does, but I like it,” replied Dave. Continuing, Dave compared Doug's haircut to a few "rock stars like David Bowie who have short bangs in relation to the rest of their haircuts. Exactly the opposite of what we think looks good,” Dave finished, laughing.

"Maybe the trend will continue,” offered Steve, who was by that time also laughing. Can you imagine it, boys and men growing the hair at the back longer, and cutting the front and top shorter?

Dave stopped laughing at thought about it for a while, and then said with certainty "Never, that would look pretty ugly! I don't think anyone would want that kind of haircut. No, a shorter back and sides with a longer top is the best for a man's haircut.”

"I guess you're right” offered Steve…it will never happen.

Dave then continued, "Maybe I should have asked Doug what he planned to do with his haircut. But as it was, he had just got his hair ‘styled' on the weekend, and then he did his bit where he tells me that if I ever wanted a great haircut like his I would have to find another barber who took more than a minute or two to give me my haircuts…you know he points to his hair and says, ‘look at his haircut, it took close to 30 minutes and that his stylist takes his time and does what he is told so that he can get a good tip.'”

"Doogie kills me; of all the other kids who have teased us, he's the only one that I have never hoped gets a forced crew cut so that I can laugh at him.

"Me too Steve,” agreed Dave. "And I couldn't resist telling him that while my current induction cut only takes a couple of minutes, most of my haircuts took longer than he thought. And that in fact, the boot cut usually took about 30 minutes in the barber chair. He couldn't believe it, but I told him the experience was just about the same. Our conversation kind of went like this:”

"Doug: ‘Do you make an appointment first?'”
"Me: No, so sometimes you have to wait a long time to get into the chair.”
"Doug: ‘So you wait for the same barber?'”
"Me: Again, no…you mostly wait for whichever barber is available. But when I got the boot cut, it was at a barbershop off-base, with just two barbers, so I did actually get the same barber most of the time.”
"Doug: ‘Well, I guess a crew cut is a just a crew cut, so any barber will do.'”
"Me: Yes, a crew cut means a certain kind of cut. But like a stylist, the barber will ask questions like ‘how short?' and ‘how long do you want the top,' just like a stylist. A butch, burr and induction cut, though, are just defined by how long the hair is left. Flattops take a lot of time, and there are lots of variations, so the barber may ask lots of questions since they too want their clients to like their haircuts.”
"Doug: ‘Except for you, it's that your dad has to like your haircut.'”
"Me: Yeah, he's the one who chooses how I look. But I'm interested in my haircuts. And like you, I watch as I get it cut. And so I'll tell you why it takes so long…”

"Wait a minute, just wait, hold on,” interjected Steve, "are you telling me that Doogie has replaced me as your confidant?

"Calm down Steve,” responded Dave…, who with a smirk on his face continued "you know you're irreplaceable. I just gave Doug an overview of when I had my boot cuts, and how much time it took to blend the sides into the top; and how much skill it must have taken to ensure that the top went from long to short. Mostly just so that he would know that haircuts at the barbershop were not inferior to those done at the salon.” Reflecting for a while, he told Steve something that had been on his mind for many months, "You know Steve, I have to confess that when my dad first ordered up the boot cut at the new barbershop…well, I watched most of my hair get cut off, and I was really pissed off. But then after each time I got the boot cut, I think I became more and more interested in how the barber re-cut it…and…well, let me just tell you…ah….first I have to do something.”

Breaking off his narrative, Dave told Steve to hold on for a bit, as he had to go into the house to check on his younger brother Matt, who had been left home with Dave as their parents went out to dinner, having left a pizza for the boys to devour earlier. Coming back a little later, Dave continued his narrative.

"I don't mind telling you this, Steve,” started Dave as he looked around just to make sure that he and Steve were alone, which was another reason why he went into the house. Now reasonably sure that they were alone, Dave continued "I know I complain a lot about my haircuts, but when I got the first boot cut I sort of became even more interested in watching how the barber cut my hair. I think it was because I had never heard of a ‘boot cut,' and I didn't want to lose my taper cut that I had. So I was both pissed off that I had to get a ‘boot cut,' but intrigued at what I was going to look like when it was over. I guess the boot cut wasn't the first time that I watched the barber work, but it seems it was the one that affected me the most.”

"Ok,” said Steve, who with a devilish look on his face proceeded to say what had been apparent to him all these months, "I knew you got excited every time you went to the barbershop.”

Dave just missed slapping Steve's head as he explained "Not excited in that way, you dumbass—I never wet myself. I was more like I watched the barber as he worked, and I tried to guess what a ‘boot cut' would look at the end, based on what the barber was doing, and how the cut looked as it progressed. ”

"Not understanding, Dude.” Steve then continued, "And don't tell me you were not interested in how the barber cut your hair until then…because I had to listen all these years.” Then taking a little time to reflect, Steve made one of this usual wry comments, "But I'll confess that I get excited when the barber doesn't give me a boot or induction cut.”

"You're funny, Steve. And you'd look good with a boot cut which I would be happy to tease you about,” announced Dave, who then explained further about his first boot cut experience, "Up till then, of course, you knew I had always had a short haircut, and of course you know that there were many times that I just didn't want to go to the barbershop, even though it may have just been to get a ‘trim' or whatever. It had to do with how much teasing I had been getting at that time, or when I knew beforehand that I was going to get a different haircut, or a shorter one—and once when I knew that I was getting a short butch—which turned out to be a burr—before a company Christmas Party I protested so much that my father came down hard on me, he was so angry. I can't remember having to stand so long with my ‘nose in a hole,' and to top it all off he threatened me with a whipping that I would never forget if I ever disrespected him by acting like a child over getting a haircut again.”

‘Nose in a hole' was what Dave called his father's way of punishing his sons, which was basically the old disciplinary tactic of making an unruly child stand in a corner facing the wall, though with an added twist. The ‘nose hole' was an innovation that was sometimes used at school with a chalkboard where a circle was drawn with chalk, and the unfortunate student had to keep their nose in it the whole time. Dave's dad, however, took it one step further, as the unfortunate child was made to stand at attention, with his hands clasped behind them, facing a wall while their father decided just how much discomfort he would inflict by affixing a paper with a circle drawn on it to the wall at a location below where their nose would have hit the wall if the child was upright. Dave's punishment this time? The ‘nose hole' was put about half a foot down from his nose, so he had to back up a step so that he could bend down to get his nose at the right level, then he had to twist his head sideways so that his nose hit the paper. Needless to say this made him very uncomfortable after just a few moments. He had to stay in that position for a long time before his father came out to find out if his attitude had been adjusted sufficiently.

"Oh YEAH, the old ‘nose in a hole,' I remember you getting punished that way…I'm sure that's what taught you to stand at attention whenever your dad laid down the law to you; and of course, how to stand and salute every time your dad made you get a haircut,” Steve said as he laughed and then proceeded to goose-step to the nearby side of the house, where he stopped and smartly saluted the wall before he stuck his nose to it.

Dave laughed while he watched his friend, and then said "Keep your nose there for a moment, Steve, while I get the Super Glue; that would let me finish the story.”

Steve, at hearing this, turned to Dave, and with fake sincerity in his voice said "Yeah, I knew it, you will try anything to keep your good buddy Steve around, even super gluing my nose to your house.”

"I was going to super glue your lips together, actually,” replied Dave. "Now shut up so I can continue.”

Saluting Dave and barking out "Please do,” Steve settled down in his chair again.

"The point I was trying to make is that there were many times when I risked being punished big time because I didn't want to go to the barbershop. And it was usually when my dad took me aside to tell me that I was going to get some new haircut. So I had time to think about how much more awful the haircut was, instead of it just happening at the barbershop Same thing with the boot cut—perhaps I wouldn't have thought anything of it if my dad just took me to the new barbershop and told the barber to give me a boot cut. And just like this induction cut…just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But it wasn't that simple. We were out here, actually, cleaning up…something, can't remember. I do remember, however, that my dad asked me to sit, and I had the feeling that I was not going to like what he was going to say.”

As usual, Dave broke off for a bit to collect his thoughts, then continued "Now that I think about it, perhaps my dad really thought I would appreciate that I was finally going to get a ‘grown-up' haircut, one that he thought looked great—so he wanted to assure me before we got to the barbershop that I would like my new haircut. So we had one of those awkward conversations, not unlike the talk about the birds and bees. It went like this:”

"Dad: ‘Haircut for you tomorrow, Dave.'”
"Me: Same time?” – ["I was actually really nervous, knowing that this is when he usually told me I was getting a new haircut.”]
"Dad: ‘Let's leave about an hour earlier…we're going to a new barbershop, off base.'”
"Me: A new barbershop, and off the base? Ok, anything different about this barbershop?” ["So at that moment I was thinking that this was good news, free from the army barbers. I deluded myself into thinking that I had to go to a non-army barber because they were sure to not cut my hair too short.”]
"Dad: ‘It's a barbershop, not much different than the others, except that barbershop is where these young soldiers go to get what they call a boot cut, it's what I want you to get from now on. It's a lot different from other haircuts that you've had, so I wanted to make sure you knew beforehand. I sure wish you could have seen how great it looks on these soldiers in my company.'”
"Me: A ‘boot cut'…what's a boot cut? And, I like this haircut that I have—why do I have to get something different? I don't want to keep looking so different!”
"Dad: ‘Dave, we've had this discussion before. I want you to look like a sharp and clean-cut young man, so just by that fact you're going to look different from others. Just remember how I expect you to act tomorrow.'”

"Well,” said Dave as he broke off his story…”it went downhill from there. Let's just say that dad gave me my attitude adjustment, and that I went off to the barbershop the next day. Waiting there in the new barbershop—not sure why I thought it would different—I saw that it was basically the same as the base barbershops: haircut charts on the walls, clippers hanging near each mirror, and soldiers waiting to get their hair cut. I looked them over as my dad and I sat down, trying to figure out if anyone had this ‘boot cut' that I was supposed to get. As far as I could tell, there was one solider in the first chair getting a crewcut, and another soldier in the second chair getting his taper cut cleaned up. One other soldier was there, and he seemed to have a high-n-tight haircut; I couldn't believe how short it was, and then it hit me—maybe the ‘boot cut' was just another name for a high-n-tight! I seriously considered running out the door!”

"Yeah, sure you did,” said Steve with a laugh.

"I did think about it! Exclaimed Dave, who continued in a reflective voice, "but I guess, as usual, I just accepted my fate. Turns out that there was this flyer that the barbershop had put out, since they were catering to soldiers from the base, which had a section on the ‘military haircuts' that they offered, and also a section on recommended short haircuts for teens. Well, the ‘boot cut,' it turns out, was a ‘military haircut' that the barbers had basically come up with for both soldiers and teens…apparently it was supposed to look good on everyone. But not knowing any of this, when I was called up to the chair—as I told you before—I was both horrified at getting some kind of new ‘military haircut,' but also intrigued.” Picture it; there I was, caped in the chair, desperately hoping that I would not end up with a high-n-tight. My dad is there, telling the barber that I was to get a boot cut; and yes, as short as the other boot cuts that are given to soldiers. My heart was beating so fast, and I was desperately holding back the tears, as the barber snapped on a guard and started on one of my sides. Unfortunately, my chair had been turned away from the mirror, so I couldn't see how short he was cutting the side. Yeah, I felt the steel blade right there against my scalp and a slight ‘bare' feeling as the barber cut my hair; but, I couldn't see the mirror or the hair that was falling off, so I was basically dying to know how bald I was going to look, and if indeed I was getting a high-n-tight. However, as the barber swung the chair so that he could work his way around my head, I nearly fainted when I realized how much skin was showing! At that moment I knew how those others felt when they saw that they looked bald—I mean, I saw that happening a lot at the barbershop, and I was no stranger to short haircuts, but this was the first time that it happened to me. I calmed down somewhat, though, when I saw that the barber wasn't running the clippers high up to the very top; instead, the sides were only ‘shaved' maybe ¾ of the way up; at that point, I noticed how long the hair that I had looked on the top in contrast to the sides, and then I guess because it looked like my hair was long, I got really upset that I was going to lose it all. So when the barber was done with the back, he turned me towards the mirror and I watched as he snapped on another blade and cut my crown area down. I couldn't see how short it was, but it didn't feel that short…to tell you the truth, I was too intent on watching to see if he was going to move the clippers to the front so he could take the top down short as well. Then I would know that I was getting a high-n-tight! But I had to wait; it was if the barber knew that I was dying to find out if a ‘boot cut' was another name for a high-n-tight and he was teasing me, because he started to work on the sides and back again, blending the top part into the bottom by cutting it almost as short—you know, sort of tapering the top into the sides, and that's when I really felt faint, as I saw how short it all looked. It seemed to take forever, as he used his comb and clippers all around my head, making sure everything blended together. Then, in order to extend the torture, he started to taper the bottom of the back and took the hair even shorter around the ears, blending it with whatever stubble there was a little high up—at that point I felt how close the clippers were—and at that time the blade was actually warm, from being used for so long. Finally, he moved to the top, cutting the hair from the crown to the front. He was in front of me, so I couldn't see how short he was cutting it; and though I felt the comb lift the hair from the scalp, I didn't see how far the comb was from my head, so I was going insane at this point. Then the moment of truth, as the barber combed my bangs up, and to the side…and got out of my way as he moved to the back of the chair. I think I closed my eyes for a second, as I was too scared to see the top, and I was really worried that my bangs were still going to be chopped off when the barber got a better ‘angle' on how short they should be from his back vantage point. So it was like I was watching in slow motion; I saw him comb the bangs up and held them there as his other hand moved towards them with the scissors open, waiting to snip them off…and then he just trimmed them a little. I mean I thought my head was going to explode.”

Suddenly interrupting, Steve asked "Wouldn't it have been funny if you had fainted as he combed up your bangs just to trim them—so that you could have your beautiful quiff—and as your held fell over he snipped them off…and you had to get a high-n-tight after all!”

"Yeah,” reflected Dave, I'm surprised that with my luck it didn't happen.” "But you know what,” Dave continued, "I think that's what I was expecting each time I got my boot cut ‘re-shaped' or whatever you want to call it. Because when I saw myself for the first time, as the barber finished giving me my first boot cut, I liked how I looked! Not so much that the boot cut made me look like, well, a teen with a ‘military haircut;” it was more that I liked that I didn't have a high-n-tight, and I wanted to make sure that I looked like this every time. So each time I went to the barbershop when I had the boot cut, I watched him closely, thinking that I could stop him if I thought he was doing something that would mean I would end up with a high-n-tight. As an example, when I once saw that the clippers had gone up a bit too high on the sides, I got really angry and wanted to say something—but then, when I saw that the sides would still blended in to the top, I was ok with it, I kind of liked how the sides looked ‘shaved' further up the sides—and then there were other times when I noticed some other part of my haircut was shorter than usual, and I would imagine what it would look like if my boot cut could somehow been even shorter all over, but was relieved that it didn't happen; and sometimes I just imagined things like how it would look if my quiff was longer. Mostly, I guess, it was like how excited you get by facing danger, and surviving. In my case, I was in danger of ending up with a high-n-tight each time I was in the barber's chair, but I enjoyed the haircut and got a rush if I saw that something might go wrong; and I was ecstatic that, in the end, I ended up with another boot cut.”

As Dave ended his story, Steve had been sitting with a stunned look on his face, and only after some time of silence managed to say…”Wow…just wow. You know that I basically go through that each time I get in the chair as well.”

"I think it happens, at least for us, every time we get in the barber's chair. We're gambling with our haircuts. And when we have very little hair to lose, like when I had the boot cut, the stakes are higher, and it affects us more.”

Then Steve became Steve again, and actually stunned Dave with his announcement that "It's time for your best pal Steve to give you something to look forward to besides your next haircut. Turns out that my dad has been making some noise about me getting a ‘military haircut' soon…not sure if it will happen, but I'm sure I'll let you know…”

Just then Dave's father called from the house, so before they left to collect Steve's payment and to read their novels, Dave told Steve "Yeah, I'll be here…and then you can also hear about my plan to get my dad to let me choose my haircuts.”

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