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Hunting Camp by P.J.
Dan and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. That we've been able to remain close all these years is a minor miracle. Dan now owns a successful construction company and I'm an engineer at one of the aerospace companies. We're in upstate New York. Dan has had a hunting camp in the southern tier for the last 30 years, since before we were even married. We both have wives and each have 3 boys, now in their last stages of college and finding careers of their own. I've been both our families amateur barber ever since college days.
I have a secret haircut fetish that started way back then, fed by lots of guys in the dorm with shaggy hair and no money. I've been able to keep it going cutting my boys hair and Dan and his boys hair all these years. Dan is a no nonsense kind of guy, always has a buzz cut, and made his 3 boys get them too till college. My boys have been indulged by me and have had the gamut of styles through the years. Nothing quite prepared me for hunting camp this year though.
The Friday after Thanksgiving I drove down to hunt with Dan for the weekend as we always do. I told him I'd get their by dinner time and have dinner waiting for him. I was at the stove stirring the chili when I heard him come in. I yelled HI, and told him dinner would be ready in 5.min. go wash up. What I didn't realize was that Dan wasn't alone. I heard a second person shucking off cold weather gear at the door. I looked across the cabin to see a tall slim person with long golden blonde hair past their shoulder blades, at first glance I thought it was Kat, Dan's wife. I thought it a bit odd that she would be here, but, you never know. I yelled HI Kat, and to my surprise, I heard a laugh and a, NO Adam, it's me, Will. I almost dropped the spoon as he came into the kitchen. Will was Dan's eldest boy, I hadn't seen him in what , going on 4 years now, after he'd finished his undergrad studies, he'd gone west to Stanford to do Doctoral and Post Doc studies.
Will, Buddy, So good to see you, it's been a long time bud, said. He hugged me and laughed. Its been a LONG time I said again, tugging on his handsome mane. He laughed again. Yes, it has, hasn't' it, he replied, smiling broadly. Glad to have you back bud, I said, smiling back at him. Dan and I treated each other's boys as if they were our own. I honestly thought you were your mom for a minute, Will. I know , he said sheepishly, I've heard that a lot this week while I've been back he replied. My brothers are both playing it up to the hilt. On the plus side, its driving dad up a wall. He's about beside himself, knowing I'm not cutting this mane till I finish my Post Doc studies next May. Wow, I said, so I guess you won't be over for even a trim while your home, I questioned. Nope, we'll see about next summer, I'm planning on moving back east, and looking for a teaching position at one of the bigger universities in his area, Will replied mater-of-factily. You can have a go at it next summer, before I start interviewing, how about that, he smiled, flipping the huge thick bangs off his face OMG I wanted to get my hands, and preferably my clippers too, into that mane. I'll tell you all about it later Adam, let me get washed up, I'm famished Will said, walking over to the kitchen sink.
I got the chance to study the mane from the back while he washed up, it clearly hadn't been cut and had grown out from a buzz cut, the layers were natural, the longest were in the back, just below his shoulder blades, more than three years worth of growth. His bangs were just shy of his collar bones. Thick, luxurious and healthy, he was clearly taking good care of it I noticed. I watched him produce a leather tooled hair tie and pull the plush mop back into a low pony tail. He turned to me while fastening it, the leather tie doesn't damage the hair like elastic hair bands do he said shyly. If I'm going to go through all the work of growing it to donate, I want it to be the best it can be. Cutting that mane was going to be a joy I thought, fantasizing for a minute pushing the clippers up through that thick heavy mane and clipping it back with a 2 guard. Wow, I could hardly wait.
Dan came out of the bathroom, all washed up, his 3 month old dark brown buzz cut freshly brushed out and damp. He always stopped cutting it after the August buzz, letting it grow out just for hunting season, and then had me clip him back before Christmas. he sported a few days growth of dark brown beard too, just getting the first flecks of gray in it. man, we were getting old. He was still a handsome guy though.
So, Adam, what do you think of the new addition to the family, Princess Willy, Dan said, addressing me, and shaking his head. Oh Dan, stop it, I said, laughing, it's only hair, a half an hour with me and he'll look like a new man. Can't happen soon enough Adam, Dan replied, you know I can't stand long hair. His is beyond long, he looks like Kat for God's sake. Yes, I just made that mistake myself I said laughing . And we all know how you love a buzz cut, right, I said. But, He's still handsome Will, Dan, I remarked. Yes, but wow, I can't hardly stand this shag, Dan said, grabbing at the inch or so long fleece covering his own head, I don't know how he can stand all that hair. Easy, I replied, he's NOT you! I thought for a minute, we were blessed, all of our boys had grown into handsome strapping good-looking men. They all had great heads of hair too, to my delight. Will had those model quality good looks, now with the Fabio hair, I figured he'd had any number of girlfriends over the last few years out west. Funny, I'd never heard Dan refer to any girlfriends though. Dan broke into my thought, that reminds me Adam, he said, don't forget our clipper date, Dec. 11th , right after season closes. Yes bud, how can I forget, I said, your soooo scruffy, I looked over at Will and we all laughed.
We sat down to dinner, caught up on what was going on in each other s lives, and then retired to gather around the stove and share an after dinner drink. Soon it was time to hit the sack, needed to get up early for the hunt. Will and I retired to the sleeping loft, each grabbing a bed, and Dan to the first floor bedroom. O.K. Will, I said softly, what's the story with the mane. Well, he started, smiling sheepishly, when I moved to Palo Alto after graduating from college, I hadn't had time to stop by your place for the standard shearing before I left, so I needed to find a barber out there. I'd decided that I was starting a new phase in my life, in more ways than one, and I was going to let my hair grow out a bit. I found a shop, asked them to trim up around my neck and ears, and that I wanted to let it grow out a bit, well, the barber didn't pay attention, and clippered me right up, almost as short as you usually did, it was just a bit longer than you'd usually cut it, but still way shorter than I wanted. Typical Barber, Will remarked, smiling, they never listen, or they only listen to Dad, as I remember.
So, I decided I'd wait till I came home for Christmas that year and see you, that obviously never happened, and I kind of liked the longer haired me to be truthful. One thing led to another, and I decided to let it go and see how long I could stand it, and here I am. I've decided awhile ago to donate it next year, and still keep it a bit on the long side though, after its cut off.
Think you can oblige me when the time comes Adam, he asked. Of course bud, I replied, I'd be honored to. If you have an idea of what style you want to try, bring a picture with you, I've gotten pretty good mimicking looks that the other guys have seen and want to try. I've always wanted you boys to let your hair grow out a bit while you're young and not hampered by jobs or office decorum. Your brothers have finally decided to defy your dad and let their hair grow out a bit, nothing extreme, mind you but you all have startling good looks, the hair style only adds to the persona. Buzz cuts are lazy and cheap in my book, unless dictated by your profession, I said. Your dad being a case in point. I've been after him for years to let it grow out a bit, ever since I gave him his first buzz. He's still in love with it, I'm afraid. Yeah, Will laughed, Mister "no nonsense", remember. Yep, I replied, "no muss, no fuss, no bother". We both laughed.
Long story short, we finished the weekend out, Will went back to Stanford and Dan came over for this shearing December 11, as scheduled. O.K. Adam, you know what to do, Dan said scrubbing his hand through the short fleece that had grown our over the last 3 months. Yep, I do, I replied, down to the chair friend. I had a small room off the basement rec room that I'd fitted out over the years with an old barber chair, big mirror, and all the necessary gear to keep the guys looking good it was my hobby, and over the years I'd cut a lot of hair down there, friends and family. I'd made sure the chair was in full view of the flat screen in the rec room so the boys could be distracted while I cut their hair. Dan flopped into the big chair, I taped and caped him, and ran a comb through an inch and a half of thick dark locks, like long soft fleece. I secretly loved it when Dan came over for this particular cut. It was the only time since we were kids, that I got to cut his hair from" long" to short. I remembered back to when we were in high school, Dan asking me to cut his long shag into a summer Buzz, what a rush, shaving his shoulder length hair off, he never grew it back.
I got the clippers, slapped a 2 guard on them and proceeded to slowly and methodically shear off all the thick bulk from the back and sides of his head. Diving into the soft brown bulk that was just hiding his nape, slowly let the clippers glide up the back of his head to the crown. He groaned with pleasure. I always made sure it all landed in his lap, I wanted him to see how much I was taking off. God, that feels great Adam, he said, watching as the first handfuls of thick brown fleece landed in his lap. I worked my way slowly around the back, enjoying the clippers plowing into the soft bulk, and the soft velvety brown stubble appearing as they passed through. I finished with the back, then moving to the sides, peeling off the thick shag that was just starting to cover the tops of his ears, clipping tight all the way up to the parting line. I always kept him turned towards the flat screen, not turning him to the mirror till I was finished and he could see the " Big reveal".
I could never resist a bit of teasing when I do this particular cut with Dan. So, now is the time dude, I said, fluffing the short thick locks on the top, as yet unshorn. I can give you a great undercut, or a Caesar, or even a Princeton, give Kat a bit of hair to pull and play with before you get old and it all falls out I said, winking slyly at him. You're not wearing a hard had at work anymore either, mister owner. You ask me that every year Adam, and what do I reply, Dan said, laughing. Good grief man, shave it all off, I can't stand it another minute, I replied. Did I get it right, I said. Yep, that's about right, Dan replied. One of these days though I'm going to surprise you and say, sure, just give it a light trim up there, I want to let it grow out a bit. Yeah, right I said, as I sheared off the thick bulk from the top of his head. He'd look great with a short undercut I thought. I plowed in, it took several passes before I'd sheared all that thick fleece off down to a velvety #4 guard. Handfuls of it rolling off his shoulder and into his lap. The slightly deeper pile velvet appearing in the clippers wake.. It always gave me a thrill to clip him down. Dan's hair was still thick as ever. I used a #4 on top to give his cut a bit of style, not that he ever noticed though, I tapered to a #1 around his ears and neck. After I was finished I turned him to the mirror. Ah, God, I look like my old self again Dan said, rubbing his freshly sheared sides and back, thank you buddy, he said, his reflection smiling at me through the big mirror. My pleasure dude, I replied, rubbing my hand slowly up the back , feeling the soft velvety stubble, making Dan smile broadly.
I wonder what he'd look like with an undercut with a shaggy overhanging mop top. I wondered if he'd look good, or just like an old guy trying to look hip. I laughed to myself. it wouldn't be much work for him to keep a cut like that groomed either. Oh, the musings of a hair fetisher. If Dan only knew.
I finished him off with hot lather and a straight razor on the neck, a technique I'd been working on since all the boys had become "Men", and wanted the full Barber Shop experience. I slapped a bit of witch hazel on his sides and neck, making him jump and yelp a bit. Oh, s**t!, that smarts Adam, I hate when you do that. I smiled devilishly, and said, I know. We cleaned up, and retired to the rec room to talk and have a beer. Another of Dan's annual sheerings in the book.
Time passed and before I knew it summer was here. Dan mentioned that Will had moved back and was going to start interviewing soon. He'd brought his roommate back with him, they were both looking for teaching positions.
Hmm, I wondered if Will remembered our hunting camp conversation.
Sorry, I had to break this into a two parter. Stay tuned for Part II. Wills new look.