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Coda: Conversations, Dec 1979 Pt 3 by Archon 2


Please read these chapters in order!

"Yes!” said both Dave and Steve, enthusiastically. Dave then continued "Yeah, we gave it a week, but these horsehoes…”

"Stevie Shoes,” corrected Steve, we had "Stevie Shoes.”

"Whatever they were, we don't like them…”

"Well too bad, Dave,” retorted Steve, who added "they just didn't fit properly, maybe next season.”

Mike then interrupted to let them know he decided as well, "Three baldies for Christmas, and then we can decide what haircut to have afterwards. Deal?”

"Deal.”

As Dave got up to bring a bowl of hot water and some towels, he reminded Mike about the school newspaper.

"I'm reading it now,” replied Mike, who then turned to ask Steve, "so why is Dave so eager for me to read this?”

Feigning ignorance, Steve just said "don't know.”

With that, Mike opened the newspaper and found the article titled ‘Goodbye to long hair on boys?' And then he noticed the subtitle which he read with amusement, "'One kid's BALD statement.'” "Oh boy, he remarked to Steve…this should be good.” With that, Mike read the article.

[After a summer spent with friends trying out new things; perhaps a new job, or hanging out at the mall, or just spending time together, a few things usually happen when school starts. Students come to school perhaps a couple of inches taller, armed with the latest gossip, and most definitely wearing the newest fashions. And in many cases, the newest hairstyles. Well, if you look and ask around, the hairstyles on both girls and boys didn't change much…unless, of course, your name is David G., who started school with what he described as a ‘crew cut or short butch with flat top,' but was just recently spotted by this reporter with a shaved head. Yes, that's right all you feathered-hair boys, David has made a BALD statement, and we've got all the details.]

[I ran into David, on purpose, actually, as I had heard on a Monday about a kid who was dropped off by his brother Mike (a former student who spent his senior year on Maui, Hawaii) who had joined the Marines. It was quite a scene, apparently, as this Marine with a high-n-tight haircut (guys, you know, it's the ultimate Marine haircut) dropped off David at the front of the school, just minutes after apparently shaving David's head. David had started school last week with a short haircut, but now he was BALD. Well, upon hearing this, I had to find David, and luckily I did the very next day. He wasn't hard to find, actually, and it was my good luck that I ran into him as his brother once again dropped him off, so this reporter can verify that his brother was a Marine with a high-n-tight, and David was, well, BALD. I mean smooth shiny head BALD. The following is a conversation that I had with him later on that week.]

"Oh boy, this might just be interesting,” Mike said to Steve and Dave as he came back with his bowl of hot water. "Why don't you let Steve shave your head, Dave, while I finish this article?”

Dave agreed, and so sat in the designated chair, smiling as he did so since Mike was reading the article. Then he prepped himself by taking off his shirt and draping himself with the towel. "Go ahead, Steve.” As Steve started the process by using the clippers with the 5-zero blade on Dave's head, Mike read on.

[We sat down in the school library first, but with all the attention the librarian gratefully allowed us the use of the small conference room, where we had several hours together. I found David open about his bald head, and he graciously related the interesting story behind him getting it. At first I assumed that he was some free-spirit who like to experiment, a kind of person that didn't conform, and didn't care what others thought. Well, read on and discover what I did—this is a complicated story.

[First, what do you think of the long feathered hair that so many other boys have? Did you ever have long hair?]

[David (laughing): Actually, I never had long hair. I'm an ‘Army Brat,' which only means that my father is in the Army. But on another level, it means that my father insisted on his sons avail themselves to the base barbershop, which was subsidized by the Army, so my dad didn't pay much for our haircuts. What being an Army Brat doesn't mean is that your parents make you get short haircuts to make you look like you're in the Army.]

[What does that mean?]

[David: Just that Army Brat parents are, as a whole, basically like other parents. Some parents allow their sons to wear their hair anyway they want—some may not even like how long hair looks; some parents insist on something not as long, and some—like mine—insist on the classic ‘short' haircuts. And then my father recently went a step further, when he thought I need to look more clean-cut, and I ended up with a very short ‘military' style haircut.]

[And now I notice that you're just as bald as you were a couple of days ago when I first asked you for this interview. Does that mean you shaved your head today again for the interview, or that you shave it every day?]

[David: I shave it every day now; well, I ask Mike to shave it, or my best friend Steve Somers is always happy to help give me a haircut. Steve actually does a pretty good job of shining my head.]

[Steve gives you a ‘haircut' and ‘shines your head?']

[David: Yeah, a shaved head is a haircut. Well, at least to me…and Mike was the first to shine my head. He was kidding, using a clean shoe-shine rag after he put some baby oil on my head…but it actually worked. So Steve—being Steve, took it further by once using the shoe shine brush first to ‘brush away the hair dust and make sure my ears were clean' before he shined my head with the baby oil and shine cloth. Maybe I'll shave it myself tomorrow]

[How long does it take to shave your head?]

[David: About 15 minutes, tops. Steve takes about another 3 minutes for the head shine, and charges 50 cents. Oh, by the way, I also shave my face every day…by myself.]

[Okay…So you said your dad insisted on a short military haircut for you, recently. Was that when your brother shaved your head?]

[David (chuckling now): Well, no. First, though, I'd like to say that I like my head shaved—or rather I think my shaved head looks great—now, but that was certainly not the case before. And if I had my chance, I'd probably grow my hair out a lot…but not ‘long' like some of the others. Maybe just back to a taper cut, you know, with a side part and bangs long enough to comb into a quiff.]

[By the way, what do you think of boys with long hair? Are you jealous?]

[David: Well, it's time to admit that while I really don't have any opinion of others with long hair, I am jealous of the fact that they're allowed to wear their hair long. When I had enough hair to comb, I would do so, often…so I never thought it was silly to see all the other boys spend so much time in front of the mirror. Well, maybe that was why I spent so much time in front of the mirror, I wanted the same experience of being able to ‘style' my hair in the way that I wanted to look. But instead, I spent most of my time trying to convince myself that I didn't really have that short of a haircut. And when I had enough hair to comb into a quiff…well, that was just great to me.]

[So you were talking about how your father insisted on short haircuts for you. Tell me more.]

{David: Not just me, but for my two brothers as well. Mike, you know…he's the Marine. And I have a younger brother, Matt. We're all four years apart, but we all went to the barbershop. You would think that we'd all be marched into the barbershop and come out looking the same. But, while my father insisted on short haircuts, a lot of the times we had different haircuts, because of our ages…at least that's what he said.]

[Meaning?]

[David: Well, that while I supposed we could basically all get the same butch, or crew cut, or flat top or that matter, and I remember that our ‘basic' haircut was a short crew cut. But, every now and then we'd get a butch, or my dad thought that at some age boys looked better with flat tops, so we might have received a flat top when our brothers had something else. For a long time Mike got to wear a ‘regular' tapered haircut, as did I, because it looked good on us, apparently. Then recently, as I said earlier, my dad decided I'd look even better with a short ‘military' haircut that he saw on some young soldiers. So I got what was called a ‘boot cut,' which was basically a skin tapered extremely short crewcut with bangs in the front just long enough to comb over into a quiff. You should have seen it…the bottom of the back and sides were nearly bald, and there wasn't much more hair on the rest of my head! Even though my father made me get it—and I had it for almost a year—I look back and think that I actually looked pretty good with it.]

[And now we can get back to your dad having your brother shave you bald? What's the story about that?]

[David: So Mike, my brother, well he's my best friend after Steve, and like other younger brothers, I look up to my older brother. He's actually the one who taught me how to use wax in my hair, and helped me with my first part after I got my first taper cut…I was pretty young then. So I always close to Mike. In the beginning, he was the one who used to complain all the time about our haircuts. You know, when you're young, how you look doesn't really matter till maybe you turn 8 or 9. Anyway, Mike was trying to help me come to terms with having to get short military haircuts…wait, I have to back up and tell you about my induction cut.]

[Induction cut? Tell us about it]

[David: Well, as some student here know, last year about this time my father took me to the base fair, where there was a ‘Boot Camp Barbershop' booth, set up where kids could get an induction cut—you know, get the boot camp experience by apparently just getting your head shaved, no physical training—and was given one. At that time, I had the boot cut that I just talked about, and an induction cut is what Marines get at boot camp. At the fair, I learned that my dad had talked to another father, and they had discussed ‘haircut deals,' where the parents allow their sons to choose their own haircuts, as long as they get good grades, as defined in the deal. So I made a deal at that time…or rather my father offered me a deal. And for the rest of the year I was allowed to choose to grow my hair out. But then I broke the deal with my last 8th grade report card, and I had to face the consequences. That's why I started the school year with what I called a ‘short butch with flat top.' It wasn't because I chose that haircut, or that I was some anti-hippie young man who thought everyone should have short hair. That haircut was the result of me not earning good enough grades. And that's when Mike stepped in.]

[So it was Mike's idea to shave your head?]

[David: Yeah, can you believe it? At first, it was like ‘I can't believe my own brother is making me shave my head.' But that's what happened. When Mike came home from boot camp not too long ago, he had a discussion with my dad about my ‘haircut deal.' So Mike, knowing all of my hang-ups about having to get short haircuts, asked my dad if he could handle it. Basically my dad gives him permission to decide on my haircuts. So Mike tells me last Saturday that ‘he's in charge' and that I'm going to get a haircut. (David paused for a bit) Let me tell you, I was actually thinking how cool it would be to look like my older brother, and get a Marine High and Tight like he was wearing. But Mike said I had to earn the right to get a high and tight; and besides, I broke my deal with my dad, and so now they've decided I was going to get another clipper shave, apparently since my current haircut wasn't punishment enough. Well that happened Saturday, and then Monday morning came, and Mike—to teach me another lesson—shaved my head and took me to school. So yes, it was Mike's idea to shave my head. And now, a couple of days later, I'm OK with it, especially since everyone now thinks it's cool, and they haven't teased me a bit. It's actually fun to be the object of attention now. But I'm also aware that Mike did it for a good reason, and he was right that I should get over it]

[So if you're OK with your head shaved, is it really a punishment now?]

[David (thinking deeply): Well, it is in the sense that although my classmates aren't teasing me—that they thought I wanted to shave my head bald—they will know when they read this article that I don't shave my head by choice. I still have to get excellent grades so that my dad finally allows me to choose my own haircuts. And that's leverage, because I can't wait for the day that I can truly say that I chose whatever haircut I went to get, and was wearing at that time. By the way, my favorite short haircut is the boxy flat top. And I'm also looking forward to ‘earning' my high and tight haircut…I'll probably look better—or wear it better—than Mike, so everyone look forward to it!]

Now laughing, but also filled with pride at his little brother, Mike looked up from the paper and good naturedly rubbed Dave's now clipper shaved head, stating "Ok, bro, I'll admit it, you rocked the high and tight…but like we figured, the shaved head is better.”

"Hey, I looked the best with the Stevie Shoe, admit it,” Steve said to the two brothers as he started to rub some baby oil into Dave's scalp, making it ready for the shaving cream to come.

Dave shifted in his seat so that he could turn his head towards Steve, then reminded Steve that "You're next, buddy…no more ‘Stevie Shoe' for you. What are you going to call your shaved head?”

Steve couldn't think of anything at the moment, so he just told Dave to shut up and sit up straight so he could put on the shaving cream. As that was happening, Mike continued to read the article.

[By the way, can I rub your head, David? David then politely bends his head over and says ‘sorry for my bad manners, I forgot to offer you a rub.' And as he does so, I see the lights shining off his chrome dome, and how, well he has the beginnings of 5-oclock shadow, so I hurry on with the interview.] [Note: By the way, it was great fun to rub David's head, I must admit. Dave is such a sport that he lets everyone rub his head, that asks. Back to the questions, though]

[So you're not angry at your brother about your shaved head?]

[David: Nope, just angry that I have to earn my high and tight. And that's a little victory, because I am actually asking for, and want it!]

[How about your dad? Does he approve of Mike's decision to shave your head? Are you still angry with him about your haircuts?]

[David: My dad, I think, was quite surprised. But like me, he thinks I look good with it. And he specifically told me that he never thought to shave my head; but, that Mike was in charge, and it was up to him if he would allow me to get a high and tight. And that afterwards, we would go over our haircut deal. So I'm hopeful that next year I might be sporting a boxy flat top. Whatever happens, I know I have to honor my dad's wishes. It might be ‘nerdy' of me or whatever, but I still want to make my dad proud of me, even though I also wish I didn't have to get a military haircut. I'm just going live up to my agreements, and trust that he and Mike knows what's best for me.]

[Well, I have a surprise for you. I actually went out to get some comments about your shaved head. Guess what? Everyone asked thought it was ‘cool,' and some even admitted that they were ‘thinking about shaving their heads.' You're actually a role model now, what do you think about that?]

[David: Well, it would be great to see some others with shaved heads, we could start a club! But truthfully, I don't think of myself as a role model, just a kid who told the truth about why his head was shaved. My brother Mike, and my father are the only role model I have now. And I'm hoping that in the near future I can make them proud.]

[Any last thoughts?]

[David: Yes, please keep thinking my shaved head is cool!]

Swelling with pride as he finished the interview, he looked at the picture in the newspaper. The picture showed a teenager who thought enough about the interview to come dressed in nice slacks along with a sweater, wearing a wide smile that almost drew your attention away from his shiny bald head. Mike couldn't be more proud of his little brother.

As he turned to face the two, he saw that Steve had almost finished the first shave of Dave's head, and though Dave had shaving cream on his towel, Mike reached over to give him a hug.

"What's that for” asked Dave, as he hurried to compose himself after being somewhat flustered by Mike's impromptu hug.

"Just thanks for making me read the interview,” replied Mike. Then he added, "hurry up there, Steve. I want my brother to shave my head next. You can be last, OK?”

"Yeah, sure,” responded Steve, adding that he was going to read the city newspaper article about their high and tights when it was his turn, you know, "nonchalantly reading it while you two give me a haircut.”

"Whatever, Steve…but wait, now that I think about it, Steve should get something special, you know, for making us late and being seen by the reporter. Something to remember, said Mike with a mischievous look.

Intrigued, Steve asked "What else can you do with this Stevie Shoe but shave me bald?”

"Well,” started Mike…

End of Part 3




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