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Conversations: May 1980 Part 2 by Archon 2
As always, please make sure you have read all of the "Conversations" series so that you understand everything that's going on.
The first part of his ‘salon' haircut struck Dave as pretty much the same as a barbershop haircut. He was perched on a barber's chair—or rather, some kind of chair that was like a barber's chair—with a cape draped over him. There was one thing different, however, as Frankie (his ‘stylist') had put a small towel around his neck first. That's right, Dave was going to get his hair washed before he got a haircut!
As Frankie turned the chair around so that he could lower the chair to wash Dave's hair, he saw the tentative look on Dave's face, and asked him if "you want me to skip the shampoo? I can always just cut your hair dry, which it will probably be soon after I towel it off, since it's pretty short already.”
As Steve and John chuckled at Frankie's comment, Dave made the decision to "have the full experience, since it might be the first and only time.”
When the warm water touched his head, the new experience of having someone else carefully wash and rinse his hair brought on a flood of older memories. Like the first time he got a butch—the water felt different on his head, somehow; and then he remembered how much fun he had when he got his first flat top, and he had fun flicking the water off of his landing strip in front of the mirror—boy did he make a mess with all the water spots on the mirror and counters; and, of course, the sensation of the water cascading over his bald head, unimpeded by any hair…yes, he would remember this haircut. As Frankie sat him up and turned the chair to face the mirror, Dave watched as Frankie took out the small towel around his neck and used it to pat his hair dry, and he said "thanks for the tip” when Frankie told the boys that they should pat their hair dry with their towels. Steve remarked that if they ever shaved their heads they would certainly pat their heads dry, which elicited a laugh from everyone.
"It's beginning to rain again,” John announced, "Now my hair will get messed up!”
"Don't worry about your pretty haircut,” said Steve mockingly, "besides, your mom is going to pick us up, and it's just a short walk to the car.”
"Thanks for reminding me, Steve,” said John as he got up to call his mother. I'll tell her about 30 minutes? Then she can drive us to the barbershop, since I want to see what it's all about…hopefully she can take us and wait.”
Frankie now stood alongside Dave's chair, and Dave saw him in the mirror with his scissors in one hand and the comb in the other, as he asked Dave "ready?”
"Remember, as short as you can at the nape and the sideburns up through a little bit of the temple area. Then just let it get a little longer as you go up the sides and over the crown. Now that I think about it, I'd like the "Caesar” effect where the hair is short on top and brushed forward. But I have to have my quiff!”
Frankie was impressed, saying that "I can tell you know your haircuts, Dave. It's always good when my clients know exactly what they want. But, I also like it when they ask me for advice…so I might offer some suggestions as I give you your cut, OK?”
"Absolutely!” Dave agreed.
As Frankie worked, John and Steve worked the only ones watching; Dave, of course noticed every flick of the comb, listened to the snipping noise of the scissors, and kept a watch to see if enough hair was falling on the cape. And when Frankie went to taper his sideburn and temple area, he enthusiastically approved when he was shown that his sideburns were nearly skinned and the temple taper was just perfect; not too short that it stood out a lot and blended seamlessly into the longer hair on the sides, but short enough to look ‘cool.' Frankie did a perfect job on the sides, taking them down shorter than John's, with just enough skin showing. If a clipper blade had been used, Dave would have guessed that a #1 had been used. Frankie took it really short up the back and over the crown as well, with much of the top cut short as well, erasing Dave's previous left part—a little shorter than John's haircut, which had enough length to suggest a part. But following instructions, Frankie kept the length of his bangs intact, but advised Dave that they should be thinned out a little, and needed some length to be cut off. Dave reluctantly agreed, as long as the front looked like there was a lot of length. However, Dave enthusiastically agreed with Frankie that he should use his clippers to take the taper at his nape a lot shorter.
"Hey, Dave, now that Frankie has the clippers out, why don't you have him give you some tram lines?” asked Steve. "I know the sides are probably too short for them to stand out, but maybe you can start a trend by having some lines cut at the back just above the taper line, kind of behind your left or right ear?
"Kind of like that,” Frankie said as he pointed to a black and white photo of some kids who had short butches with ‘team marks,' three vertical lines starting at their napes on the right side just to the left of their right ear, following the natural hairline. They one nearest the ear was the longest, with the next two just a bit shorter.
"Yeah, exactly,” said Steve enthusiastically. "How about it Dave?”
"Where's that picture from, Frankie?”
"Well Dave, it's actually from the 60's. Back then kids were just as crazy about their hair as kids nowadays. Ok, generally their hair was a lot shorter, but they did interesting and crazy things every now and then. Want to try it?”
"When you're done edging around the ears would you show me the back so I can decide,” asked Dave. "What do you guys think?
John had gotten up and gave the hand mirror to Dave, and then looking at Dave's very short tapered back, suggested that he get some ‘horizontal lines just above the skin taper…would look cool just behind your ears.” Then looking in the mirror, John said that he might just do it...”next time!”
"Let me do it,” offered Steve.
"HA, I don't think so Steve,” replied Dave. Then checking out his haircut from all sides and thinking that Frankie had done a fantastic job, he threw caution to wind and told Frankie to do it, he wanted some lines just like John had described. So Frankie obliged, carefully using the edger to shave three horizontal lines from Dave's side hairline behind his ears, with the first one just above the taper line. "There you go Dave, something simple, but oh so radical for you. Hope it doesn't get you into trouble with your parents,” said Frankie as he proceeded to ‘style' Dave's hair just as he had done with John.
Looking into the mirror, Dave just couldn't believe how much different he looked, even though his hair was basically cut as short as it usually was at the barbershop. Indeed, there was some ‘style' to the cut; perhaps it wasn't as ‘crisp' as a barbershop haircut, but it looked fabulous, as it seemed to conform more to the shape of his head…or maybe it was that it framed his features quite well. And the tapered back was perfect; that, along with his skin tapered sideburns and temple area…man, he couldn't wait till everyone saw him. Well, maybe he could wait for his dad to see his new haircut, and hopefully he would be as enthusiastic and as complimentary as John's mother was, who had just come to pick them up. She just couldn't believe how good her son looked with his Ivy League haircut, and thanked both Dave and Steve for suggesting it. And she was happy to take the boys to the barbershop, though she instructed John not to get any ideas of "doing anything to your new haircut.”
So the boys left the salon, paying for their haircuts and tipping Frankie well. Dave even told Frankie that if all went well, he just might come back for another cut. John was sure that he would be coming back, and would call soon for another appointment, as he was informed that it was best to get his Ivy cut every two weeks.
It didn't take long for them to get to the barbershop; and when they pulled in Steve stated that it was now "time to get your good buddy Steve looking good like you two, let's go in and you'll see a barbershop haircut, John.”
Though the barbershop was in easy walking distance of everyone's houses it was still raining, so after a quick trip inside Steve told John's mother that if she would come back in about an hour they would be ready. So she left the boys at the barbershop, and John went in to get his first look at a barbershop.
It was a three-chair barbershop, with space in the waiting area for 8 patrons. There were two barbers busy at the moment, with Steve being the next customer. However, these weren't the starched white smock wearing barbers from the past; no, these youngish barbers had on comfortable jeans, long sleeved blue shirts and black aprons. As for the shop, it was basically like a salon, chair in front of mirror with implements arrayed around the chair. Lots of cords as well, though instead of blow-dryers and curling irons there were lots of…clippers. As a concession to the times, there were a few posters on the walls with the various longish hairstyles of boys and men—whether or not they were given John couldn't tell. But then he saw the ‘Men and Boy's Official Hairstyles' and other charts—those were an eye-opener.
"There's your Ivy League, John,” Steve said as he pointed to the poster. "Though yours is shorter, kind of like the College Contour. And Dave's haircut is also a kind of blend between a Caesar, Ivy and Crew Cut. Some would say they're all the same, just with different lengths. But that's what a lot of kids don't understand, the barber can also leave the hair longer or shorter than the ‘standard' cut. And my Stevie Crew is off the charts, as they say.”
"I was wondering when you were going to try to get that in,” said Dave, who turned to John and said "Steve is proud of his haircut. It's a really short crew cut, without a quiff.”
John, almost as if on cue, ran his fingers through his long quiff, re-positioning it up and over to the side, saying "too bad his father doesn't allow a quiff,” Then just as quickly, "sorry Steve, couldn't help it. I read the article, and I know your father decides on your haircut. By the way, that took a lot of balls, Dave. I should have told you this before, but in a way, I sort of have that same issue with parents. At least when it comes to my mom. She decided on my haircuts at the salon! Till Junior High, I couldn't get her to allow me to have the stylist cut my hair around the ears. Now, of course, she just loves my new haircut. But the first time I had it cut around the ears…man was she angry!” Lowering his voice, he told the others that "I'm lucky that I found out about Frankie at the Salon, since my mom absolutely does not want me to get my haircut at a barbershop.”
"I never thought of a parent keeping their son from getting a short haircut as the same thing, but I guess it is like me having to get a short crew cut. Seems like you were disappointed every time you got your hair cut. Hey, John, what do the others at school say, if anything about me and Dave now?
Smiling, John told them that "they all still thought you were cool with your baldies even after Dave spilled the beans. Now no one cares…a few of them couldn't believe what you two put up with. But it's all cool now. What haircuts would you guys get, if you really had your own choice?
Dave said "Well I would always say ‘short boxy flattop' when I always had a short haircut, but now since I've been to a salon, I would say something like yours, John…really. Not too short on the sides, and longish on the top. And lines, maybe…still have to see what my dad says.”
As Steve went up to take his chair, he told the boys "Pompadour, long and slicked, oh yeah!” Then to the barber, he said "Skin tapered extra short crewcut, sort of make it shorter all over.”
Now it was time for John to watch a ‘real barbershop haircut;' the first thing he noticed was how loud the clippers seemed to hum, and he wondered how loud they resonated in Steve's head as they seemed so impossibly close to his head. First from the nape, then around the edges, the clippers seemed to clear huge swaths of Steve's hair from this scalp. And then with a quick change of blades, the barber took most of the rest of Steve's hair down really close. Grabbing his comb and using the bare clippers, the barber expertly blended the sides into the top and making sure Steve's crewcut gradually got shorter from the front to the back. John was absolutely fascinated, though, when the barber brought out his straight razor and applied some cream around Steve's ear and sides, carefully defining the arches and hairline. Though Steve's haircut was much shorter then John wanted at this time, he couldn't deny that Steve's haircut was very well done, and suited him. Maybe, just maybe.
As Steve was released from the chair, he paid the barber and stood before the others in the waiting area, pointed to his head and said "one Stevie Crew for your review…going to get one next, John?”
Before he could answer, he saw his mother and just said "who knows? But my mom's here, you guys want a ride home?”
"Sure” they both said, and as they went out to the car, they made plans to go to the movies that night. "If I get past my dad, I'll see you guys,” said Dave.
End of Part 2