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Russell's Haircut Adventures: Part I by Just_Me
This is a very autobiographical story. I will write it in several parts, to keep it from getting too long.
My name is Russell, and I am a serious haircut fetisher. I also have a pipe and cigar fetish. This is my story.
Let me start by saying this, I’ve talked with many people (men and women) who have haircut fetishes, and most of them say they don’t know where their fetish comes from. I can tell you exactly when mine started, and what made it grow. I think I can point to three separate events that led to my fetish, and I’ll tell you about them.
Before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about my youth.
I grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, the son of a veteran Marine. Severe haircuts were just a way of life during my childhood, and I didn’t think much about it. It was just something that I knew was going to happen. I really don’t think that’s what led to my fetish.
Dad went to the barber every week and got a severe haircut (normally a horseshoe flattop, but sometimes he’d come home with his head buzzed down to stubble). However, he didn’t take me with him. He cut my hair himself, and he believed the shorter it was, the better it was. Mom says I was just two weeks old the first time he buzzed off my hair, and he kept it buzzed off until I started school. After I started school, he left the top a little longer, but my bangs were cut at a sharp angle with a sharp side part and lots of Brylcreem put in it, to make sure the hair stayed in place—unless he decided for some reason to buzz it down. No matter what the top looked like, I always had sides that were white-walled: peeled way up the side of my head, with high arches over my ears.
Anyway, I spent many hours sitting in a dining room chair, with a stack of encyclopedias under me, so that I would be within easy reach of Dad and his clippers. He always smoked his pipe while cutting my hair, and to this day, the smell of cherry pipe tobacco brings up images of me sitting on those books while Dad cut my hair. Memories of him yelling at me to be still are the next thing I remember. He yelled because I’d squirm and whine that he was taking too long to get my hair cut.
When I was about twelve, I had a real meltdown while Dad was cutting my hair, and threw a huge fit about him taking too long, and how stupid it was for me to have to get my hair cut every week. I guess I picked a bad day, because Dad got really mad. I knew he was mad because he started cussing up a streak. I could see he was mad, because he was puffing on his pipe faster than I’d ever seen him smoke. I know kids aren’t always that observant, but I distinctly remember how the smoke was billowing out of his mouth and nose in huge puffs. He said, "Alright, Russell. You want me to hurry. I’ll hurry. Your hair will be cut in less than two minutes. Sit your ass down, and I’ll do it fast!"
Well, he did it fast. He took the guard off the clippers, and d**n near shaved my head. The he turned around and walked out.
That was the last time he ever cut my hair.
Later he came into my room and said, "Son, I’m sorry I cut your hair while I was angry. I’m not sorry I cut it all off. You deserved that, but I should’ve waited until I was calm to do it."
After that haircut, I had to go with him to Sarge’s Barber Shop every Saturday morning to have Mr. Callahan "clean me up"—and I mean EVERY Saturday morning. I really resented having to go to the barber shop, and I regretted the fit I threw that put me in the position of having to go. At least when Dad was cutting it I didn’t have to wait for everyone to get their haircut before I got mine. At home, I just sat down, and soon it was over.
I actually developed a deep hatred for the barber shop, Mr. Callahan and Dad because of my weekly trips. It seemed unfair that all of my friends got to play on Saturday morning, and I had to sit in the barber shop, waiting for my turn in the chair to get a haircut I didn’t want. It wasn’t that I minded the haircut. I just hated the waste of time. I also hated the barber shop. As far as I was concerned, there was nobody there but old coots with old-fashioned haircuts. It seemed they sat around all day telling tall tales, complaining about the government, smoking and chewing tobacco. As I got older, and started paying more attention to the style of the day, I started to hate the old coots too. I often thought, "If it wasn’t for the few old men (and my seriously out-dated father), Mr. Callahan would have to close up this old-fashioned shop, and I wouldn’t be subjected to his ridiculous haircuts." I sometimes even wished the old farts would start dying off, so Mr. Callahan would have to close his shop. I muttered to myself, "Seriously, no one who is cool would even walk by Mr. Callahan’s shop, much less walk into it."
(Just to give you a little background. Mr. Callahan was what I called a real barber. He was a retired Army first sergeant, and he had the vocabulary you’d expect in an Army first sergeant. Some folks called him "Mr. God-d**n." He also looked like you would imagine a first sergeant looked. He was tall, and he still looked very powerful. He often had a scowl on his face and God knows he had a powerful, baritone voice. You could hear him a mile away. His thick grey hair was always peeled in a super short military cut, and he carried himself like a soldier. He constantly had a cigar in his mouth, and he kept a box of King Edward cigars on the counter. They were free to his clients, and many of the men who came in would grab a cigar, and sit and smoke while waiting their turn. There was always a cloud of blue smoke in the room.)
Anyway, he was a real old-fashioned barber who thought everyone should look like all his basic trainees had looked. There was a popular saying around town about Mr. Callahan. I’d heard more than one person say, "You’ve heard of short, shorter and shortest? Well, Sarge only believes in shorter and shortest, and he doesn’t have much faith in shorter."
Even though I hated going to the barber shop, I really didn’t think much about my hair style. I hated wasting my time getting a haircut, but really didn’t care what my hair looked like—until about 1974-1975. By then, I was the only boy in my school with short hair, and kids started tormenting me about my haircut. I’d hear, "Here comes the no-hair wonder" when I was walking down the halls. It seemed that taunts about my hairstyle (or lack of a hairstyle) rang everywhere I went—even at the mall. I could hear people talking about me as I walked by. People would stare. Once I even heard an older woman say, "Poor kid. I think it’s horrible that he has to have his hair cut so short. His parents should let up on him."
I endured all the short haircuts that Dad (and Mr. Callahan) forced on me until the next year, and then I started a campaign to move myself into the Seventies, and to leave Dad and his old-fashioned ideas far behind. I wanted to be in the forefront of fashion, not lagging twenty to thirty years behind.
I enlisted Mom’s help, but it was to no avail. Although Dad was normally fairly reasonable, and would listen when I presented arguments about something I wanted, he was adamant that no boy of his would ever have long hair, at least not as long as that boy was living under Dad’s roof. (I honestly believe that kids nowadays don’t really understand why hair was such a struggle for those of us who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies. They may understand on an academic level, but I don’t think it’s really possible for them to understand it on an emotional level.)
Not long after I started my campaign, my hopes soared when I heard Mom and Dad talking. It seemed that Dad’s work was going to transfer him to Pennsylvania for six months, to help get a factory up and running. The company was being nice, and waiting until after the Christmas holidays, but he was going. I was elated. I was fairly certain he wouldn’t spend the money to come home during that time, and I thought I’d be able to talk Mom into letting me grow my hair out while Dad was gone. I also hoped that she’d let me buy some "normal" clothes while Dad was away.
I was sick of being the only one in the entire school who had to wear dress pants and a dress shirt. I had pushed Dad a few times to get to wear "normal" clothes like jeans and t-shirts to school, but Dad really thrown a fit about this one. I heard a million sermons that went something like this. "Son, there’s no reason to wear jeans out in public. They’re just tacky. They’re fine if you can’t afford anything else, but if a man can, he needs to always put his best foot forward. While I’m at it, there’s no excuse for going out in public half-dressed. I don’t think shorts and tank tops are acceptable for mowing the yard, and it’s just downright disrespectful to expect folks out on the street to look at you half-naked and sloppy. It just shows you don’t care about yourself or your fellow man." More than once I’d seen him cringe when he’s see a young person in shorts, and he’d shudder when he saw a man with long hair.
It seemed like it took forever for Dad to finally leave on his trip…and I was hoping he would be so busy he’d forget to take me for my weekly haircut. My hopes were dashed. The Saturday before he was to leave, he came into my room and said, "Russell, get up. I’ve got some errands to do, and I want you to go with me. I want to spend as much time with you as I can this weekend."
I was thrilled. As much as Dad and I disagreed on things, I still enjoyed his company.
We walked into the kitchen, and Dad said, "Hazel, don’t worry about breakfast this morning. Russell and I are going out for a while, and we’ll pick up something while we’re out."
I should’ve known it, and tried to weasel my way out of going with Dad. Our first stop was at Sarge's Barber Shop. I knew the routine. Before we went in, Dad always filled his pipe and lit it (if it wasn’t already going). When we walked in, Dad went straight to the crowd of old geezers, and started talking with them. I would grab a magazine, and go sit in a corner, trying to hide from them, and get away from the stink of all the cigarettes, cigars and pipes that were being smoked.
That day, it wasn’t long until Mr. Callahan bellowed, "Russell, get your butt over here. You’re looking pretty d**ned shabby today. Let’s get you cleaned up." (This was the same thing he said every week—just like he always said, "There you go. You look ten years younger now" after he finished the haircut. He always ignored my protest that I wasn’t much older than ten.)
Once I was caped up, he looked at Dad and said, "The usual?"
Dad grinned and said, "I’m gonna be gone for a while, and I want him to look good while I’m gone. Give him a nice Marine’s haircut. A shaved high and tight. Just a little to comb on the top, and get rid of the rest of it."
I wanted to cry. I had been around the barber shop long enough to know what he was talking about. I knew it would take me a long time to grow my hair out from that type of butchering.
Mr. Callahan nodded his approval, blew some stinky cigar smoke over my head and said, "That’s what I like to hear." He shoved my head forward, grabbed his clippers and went all the way up the back of my head. I shivered in dismay. My heart started pounding, and my hands got sweaty. I knew what I was going to look like, and I didn’t like it! I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see my hair being ravaged by a mad man with a pair of clippers.
After he was done, he said, "Russell, open your eyes and see what a real man looks like." I grudgingly opened my eyes, and the first thing I saw was a huge pile of hair on the cape. I was shocked. I didn’t know there was that much hair on my head, because it was already short. Then I looked in the mirror. It was worse than I had imagined--and I had imagined it was going to be awful. He had followed Dad’s directions and had shaved the sides and back, but he ignored what Dad said about leaving a little to comb on the top. The top was buzzed really low. It was not quiet shaved, but it was close enough you had to look to see if there was any hair left on the top of my head.
I struggled not to cry when I saw myself in the mirror. Dad had always taught me to say, "Thanks for another great haircut," but I just couldn’t muster the wherewithal to say it.
Once Mr. Callahan got the cape off, I ran to my chair in the corner and tried to curl up in a ball. I rudely ignored all the comments of the old geezers sitting there--comments like, "It’s good to see a boy with a ‘real’ haircut." God, how I hated that phrase!
Mr. Callahan turned to Dad, and said, "Your turn, you sorry old fart. What’s it gonna be for you? You wanna god-d****d cut like Russell’s, don’t you?"
Dad shrugged, and said, "Sure. Why not? I’ll show my solidarity with Russell." Once Dad was caped up, Mr. Callahan went straight down the middle of Dad’s head with clippers that had no guard on it. Dad's hair was shorter than mine, but at least Dad’s hair was dark, and you could still see the shadow of his hair.
All I could think was, "It’s not going to be much of a change for you Dad. A horseshoe flattop to a buzz cut ain’t much different."
Then I started sniffling again, as I thought about having to go back to school. I knew I was going to have to defend myself in a few fights because the bullies were going to jump on me like ducks on a June bug.
We left, and drove in silence for a while. Well, Dad drove, and I sulked. Then Dad started talking to me.
He started out by trying to be nice. He said, "Your haircut is shorter than I thought it would be, but I think it looks nice on you. I like mine too."
My anger boiled over, and I yelled at him. "Of course you like yours. You don’t have sense enough to know how ridiculous we both look! How could you do this to me? You know if you tell that old illegitimate son of a whore to trim your hair he’s gonna scalp you. How could you tell him to cut it so short? You knew he was going to cut more than you said! He always does! Do you hate me as much as I hate you now?"
That startled Dad. I could tell. He took a deep draw on his pipe, and it choked him. He coughed a little bit. I went further. "Don’t answer that. Your actions proved to me how much you hate me! I’m glad that stinky old thing is choking you. I hope you choke to death!"
About the time we pulled into the driveway, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I just exploded, and started yelling like a mad man. Dad put his hand over my mouth, and said (in a voice that left me no doubt that he was serious), "Son, be quiet, NOW! Any man who lets his emotions control him like that is a d**ned fool and I ignore him. I won't listen to you while you're ranting and raving. You should control your emotions instead of letting them control you. Go to your room and come back to talk to me when you can be civilized. You know I'll listen to anything you say, and that I'm willing to change my mind if you're presenting your case rationally, but I won’t tolerate a display like this." He pointed, and said, "Now, get out of here. I’ll be waiting when you’re ready to act like a decent human being."
I screamed, "A lot of good it would do me if you changed your mind now. I’d still be stuck looking like an old man, with a haircut that most f-ing old men wouldn’t like. Anyway, I’d act like a decent human being if you’d treat me like one. I’d act like a decent human being IF you were a decent human being. You’re not! You’re evil!" I started to say more, but then I saw the look in Dad’s eyes. The look he gave me let me know I had gone way too far. I knew he wasn’t going to let me get by with being disrespectful like that. He pointed toward my room again, and said, "Now!"
While I was in my room, I tried to will myself to die, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my heart to stop. Then I comforted myself by imagining how bad Dad would feel if I died of a broken heart or shame. The idea of him tormenting himself for years to come made me feel good. Then I prayed that God would kill Dad. I figured Dad would burn in Hell for what he’d done to me, and I liked the idea of him being as miserable as I knew I was going to be.
After I calmed down, I went into the den, where Dad was watching TV and smoking his pipe. He said, "Russell, don't feel bad about feeling the emotions. The thoughts aren't bad, but how you act on them can be horrible, and what I saw earlier was pathetic."
"I know, Dad. I just hate what you made the ol’ bas…I mean, what the old buzzard did to me."
What he said next cut me to the quick. Very quietly, he said, "I know I taught you better than that. I taught you not to act like you just did, and I certainly have never allowed you to talk about your elders that way. I’m shocked. On top of that, I’m disappointed in you. I don’t know what to say or do right now."
About that time, Mom came home (I hadn’t even realized she was gone). She took one look at me, looked at Dad and said, "Al, what have you done to this poor boy? I’m seriously disappointed in you, and disgusted by your actions today. Do you ever think about anyone’s feelings but your own?"
She turned to me, and said, "Russell, leave us alone. I have a few things to say to your father, and I don't want you to hear it."
I listened outside the door as Mom tied into Dad. I have to admit. I was thrilled to hear Dad getting what I thought he deserved.
I was also thrilled when he finally left town. I didn’t care if I ever saw him again.
I was so worried about what the kids were going to say that I didn’t sleep the night before school started.
The reality of that first day was worse than anything I had imagined, and I had thought it was going to be bad.
The first thing I heard when I got on the bus was, "Hey, Russell? Did you join the Army?"
One of the older boys slapped my head and hollered, "No. He’s so dumb he doesn’t know the lawnmower is for cutting grass. He used it on his head. I’m surprised he didn’t cut off those big ears." I heard plenty of other comments throughout the day, and I had to fight with one boy who went too far.
What people said didn’t bother me as much as the stares. No matter which way I turned, someone was staring at my almost completely bald head.
I only had one semi-positive experience at school. We had an old teacher who was completely bald on top. His bald spot came down so low that he only had a couple of inches over his ears and above his collar, but he let that fringe get long. It hung over his collar.
Anyway, he rubbed my head and said, "I like it. I like it a lot. It's nice to see a young person with a real haircut!"
I thought, "I'm so sick and tired of hearing about 'real' haircuts. I wish they'd shut up about it."
Mr. Scott kept on talking. "I might get a haircut like that. What do you think?"
I didn't know what to say. I think I muttered something like, "Whatever you think. It's your head and you can do what you want with it."
He came to school the next day with his head freshly buzzed. He came up to me and rubbed his head. "What do you think? Does short hair look as good on me as it does on you?"
"I guess it works for you, but I wish I didn't have hair this short. I hate it!"
"Oh Russell! Don't hate it. Be proud you are man enough to stand up and be different. Anyway, having a short haircut makes your eyes stand out. I like it. If I thought I'd look as good as you do, I'd get my hair cut every week. Unfortunately, there's no way I'll ever look that good. I have to deal with the fact that I'm a bald, fat, old man."
Him saying that about my eyes made me see my haircut in a totally different light. I began to wonder if maybe he was right. I knew I had nice eyes.
After he walked away, I thought, "That's two people who've got their heads buzzed because of me. First Dad, and now Mr. Scott. I wouldn't feel so weird if I could get about fifty more people to get a 'real' haircut." Then I thought, "Did I really just use the phrase 'real haircut'? I can't believe I used those words."
As far as I can remember, the haircut Dad inflicted on me when I was twelve, and Mr. Scott's comment was the start of my haircut fetish. It wasn't long after that that I started looking for men with really short hair. I didn't care if it was a burr, crewcut, flattop or whitewalls. I thought maybe I wanted to see them so I wouldn’t feel so alone in the world. I didn’t know. I just knew I wanted to see a man with short hair.... And discovered there was a distinct shortage of them. Sometimes I'd go days without seeing anyone worth looking at.
At first, when I’d see someone with an "interesting" cut, I'd shake my head and question their sanity. I often thought, "Who in their right mind would willingly have short hair like that? I thought Dad was the only one stupid enough to like short hair."
I guess I didn't want to admit to myself, much less anyone else, that I now liked men with short hair.
I don't remember exactly when it happened, but soon I was admiring the few men I saw who had short haircuts...
Then the admiration turned into a fascination.
I started wondering what I'd look like with a cut like theirs.
I also began to understand what Mr. Scott had meant when he said something about being man enough to get a real haircut. I started thinking of these men as people with lots of guts and self-confidence. I knew I wanted to be one of those brave, self-confident men. My admiration and fascination soon turned into a longing to go see Mr. Callahan again... And again... And yet again.