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It Felt Right This Time: Part 2 by Just_Me
Someone suggested I do a follow up to "It Felt Right This Time". This is what I came up with.
I was sitting on a chair in the kitchen, anxiously waiting for Dad to start my followup haircut. He'd cut it the night before, but I hadn't been happy. As weird as it sounds, I wanted my hair shorter--a lot shorter.
Since my haircut was a spur of the moment decision, Dad had said, "I'll tell you what, you sleep on it, and if you want it shorter in the morning I’ll really put these clippers to work and go a helluva lot shorter. Just remember you have to face your peers tomorrow." After that, he promised me some serious white walls if I still wanted it shorter the next morning. I knew from experience what Dad could do with a pair of clippers, and I was looking forward to seeing what he’d do to me.
I had thought about it all night, and knew it was right for me. I was so excited that I was bouncing. I couldn’t be still, no matter how hard I tried.
Dad wasn’t cooperating with my desire to get started on my new haircut. He was futzing around, and driving me crazy. First he'd had me stick my head under the faucet to wet my hair down (I'd understood this. I had a serious case of bed head). Then he spent hours combing my hair. (Well, that might be an exaggeration. It felt like he spent hours combing my hair.) I wanted to yell, "Would you stop messing around and start cutting?"
Dad wasn’t through dilly-dallying though. He yawned. "I need some more coffee before I get started." Then he spent way too long drinking some coffee. He sneezed. "Hang on Chris. I’ve gotta blow my nose." It seemed like he took an hour doing that. He finally picked up the clippers and turned then on and immediately turned them off. "Just a minute, son. These clippers need oiled." The oil was applied, and he turned them back on. "They needed to be adjusted. Give me a second here." Once the clippers were adjusted, he picked up the scissors and opened and closed them a few times (as if the scissors would’ve magically stopped working overnight). I growled, "The damned scissors didn't rust shut in one night. Let's do this!"
He grinned and picked up the clippers again. "These need a little more adjusting."
"Oh, come on, Dad. Haven't you tormented me enough?"
I couldn’t see him, but I could hear the smile in his voice. "Maybe. Maybe not."
He turned the clippers on and shoved my chin into my neck. This time it was my turn to frustrate him. I stopped him. "Hold on, Dad."
"What? Wanting to back out?"
"Hell no! I just wanted to make sure you don't have a guard on those clippers. I want to see some skin--a lot of skin!"
He seemed to relish the thought. "No guard. One set of white walls coming up."
"OK. Don’t hold back."
"Believe me, I won’t!" He pushed my head forward again, and ran the clippers about halfway up the back of my head. I smiled. It felt like he'd made a good start on delivering on his promise. It felt right. It felt so good I shivered.
Dad stopped. "Are you ok, son?"
I didn’t know how to explain my reaction, but I tried. "Yes, sir! That wasn't a bad shiver. I guess the clippers on my head felt too good, and it made me react."
"You might not have noticed, but I had the same shiver. I'm relishing the thought of seeing a lot more of your hair on the floor."
"Well, no disrespect intended, how about shutting up and doing some cutting!"
"Happily!" He turned the clippers on (again), and I felt the vibration of the clippers as they went up my nape again. The sound of clippers aggressively removing the hair on the back of my neck thrilled me to the core.
I looked at the floor to see how much hair had taken off, but couldn't see any.
"Damn it, Dad. Don't throw the hair on the floor. I want to see it."
He took the clippers halfway up the back of my head again and threw the hair he’d just severed so that it landed in my lap. There was a lot more hair than I had expected. "Go, Dad go! Keep it up!"
Another pass of the clippers and more hair landed in my lap. "Is that enough for you?"
I laughed. "Keep tossing. I want to see it all."
"You got it. I'm glad to see you're enjoying it."
I thought, "If you could see under this cape you'd really see how much I'm enjoying it." I shifted, because things were getting uncomfortable "down there".
Dad gave a knowing laugh. He didn’t say anything, but I was fairly certain he knew what I was experiencing.
I rubbed the back of my neck, and enjoyed the rasping sound my hand made on it. I moved my hand up and shivered again when I felt the closely clipped hair on my neck taper into the longer part at the top of my head. It was fantastic. I didn’t put my hand back under the cape. I wanted the hair to fall on my arm. I hoped to see chunks of hair landing on my arm.
"What do you think, Chris? Are we leaving the stubble, or am I going to shave it?"
Like a smartass, I said, "You guess." I turned to look at him. "I don't mean to be insulting, but that was a stupid question!"
Dad grinned. "I’ll get the razor after I cut your hair."
I smacked myself in the forehead. "I thought I'd got everything you'd need. How could I forget the razor?"
The clippers came back on, and he went over what he’d just cut, pushing hard on the clippers. I guess he wanted to make sure he’d got everything. I couldn’t help it, when he moved to the side I had to rub the back of my head again. He swatted my hand away, and put the clippers below my ear. He pushed them toward my temple, destroying a sideburn. A big wad of hair fell on the cape. Then he laughed.
"What's so funny, Dad?"
"I was just thinking about me asking you about your sideburns last night. I guess the way that one hit the floor makes it a moot point this morning. "
I frowned at him. "By the way, don't think I didn't notice that. I told you to take them off last night, and you didn't listen. Just in case you didn't know, sideburns to the bottom of the ear is NOT taking them off."
"In my defense, when your sideburns are chin length, taking them to the bottom of the ear is taking a lot off."
I grumbled, "It's not taking them off, no matter what you say."
"Well, you don't have to worry about that now. One’s gone. Barely a sign of a sideburn left on this side, and the other side will soon be the same...unless the excitement of getting to cut the rest of this crap off your head causes me to have a heart attack. Then you'll just have half a haircut."
"That's not cool, Dad. Don't even joke about that!"
"Son, don't worry. Even if I did have a heart attack I'd find a way to finish up this haircut. I refuse to die before seeing you with some white walls again." He sounded melancholy when he said, "I'd given up hope of ever seeing you with a decent haircut again, much less a good haircut."
"Sorry, Dad. I don't know what made me lose my senses."
"Son, it's called being a teenager, and I'm going to laugh my ass off when you experience it first hand."
He said that with a little more relish than I was comfortable with.
"Hearing you say that makes me think I don't wanna have kids."
He ignored that comment, and kept the clippers buzzing up the sides of my head. After the sides were cut, I felt all the way around my head. I could use all the normal words to explain the physical part: bristly, like sandpaper, soft, velvety or smooth. It was all of that, but those words only described part of it. The harder part to describe was the sensation--the emotional part--the part that hit me in the gut. I was tingly inside, excited, thrilled, a little nervous and a lot more things--but that doesn’t describe it either. All I can say is what Dad had done so far felt right.
Dad picked up the scissors. "I'm going to leave the top a little longer, and before you start giving me crap, let me tell you why. I remember the dark ages, way back when I was a kid back. Back then, little boys had the top cut real short, and men wore their hair longer on the top so they could comb it back. I think you're an adult now, and I'm going to give you an adult cut."
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. "Wow! You think I'm an adult after the way I acted this week? I'd better take you to a mental institution."
He laughed. "You may be right about that. I probably need to be institutionalized after putting up with you for almost seventeen years, but to answer your question, yes. I'd say you're acting like an adult at least 51% of the time, so I'll round up and say you're an adult "
"Either way, do you wanna try a little more adult look? I'll tell you this, it'll probably help keep the Dennis the Menace rooster tail down."
"Sure. I'll try it. I can always get you to cut it shorter if I don't like it."
He smiled at me. "Yep. I can cut it off. I just don’t wanna listen to you bitch for the next six months because you're sick of the rooster tail."
Dad gave another jaw-splitting yawn. "I'm gonna wring your next the next time you wake me up this early!"
I tried to look innocent. "I didn't wake you up. It's not my fault the smell of the coffee I was making just for you woke you up. I was just trying to be nice, and have it ready when you got up."
"Son, I might’ve been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. I know that coffee was a deliberate move on your part. I should box your ears, but instead I'm going to finish cutting your hair and try to get a little more sleep."
He made no move toward my hair. "Damn it. I don't wanna go to work. What do you think about playing hooky and going fishing?"
I tried to look horrified and scared. "Oh, I couldn't do that. My cantankerous, curmudgeonly father is extremely mean, and he would beat me black and blue if he found out I skipped school. I'd have bruises for months. I’d be grounded for years. Please don't make me skip school!"
He gave me his deepest, most bear-like growl. "I’ll deal with the grumpy old fart. What do you say?"
I grinned at him. "What kind of teenager do you think I am? Do you seriously think I’d pick going to school over fishing? Of course I want to go--that is, if you ever finish this haircut. At the rate you’re yacking, it might be midnight before you get done."
"Ok, ok." He picked up the comb, and the scissors started clicking. More hair fell on the cape.
He startled me when he combed my hair straight down in my face. I hadn't realized there was still that much hair on my head. He cut my bangs at an angle. The right side was pretty long and they ended somewhere near my temple on the left. He made a few more snicks with the scissors, taking off a few stray hairs and making sure everything was right.
"Damn it, son! I’m sorry!"
"I didn’t ask if you wanted a side part. I just assumed you did."
"Don’t worry. What else could you’ve done, anyway?"
"Well, I damn sure wasn’t going to do a center part. I’m sick of that sissy look. I could’ve parted it on the other side, or I could’ve cut it where you could comb it straight back."
I looked sad. "Dang it, Dad. I was gonna ask you for a center part!" Then I laughed. "You did good, old man. Your memory hasn’t failed you completely. This is what I remember, and what I wanted."
"Who you calling an old man?"
"I’m calling you an old man, and it looks like I’m gonna be calling myself an old man before you get this haircut finished!"
He picked up the comb and swept my bangs toward the back of my head. He started a routine that was familiar, but one I’d forgotten. He'd comb my hair, cut some more and comb some more. Then he'd trim a little and comb my hair yet again. It seemed like he did that forever.
I was about to have a nervous breakdown when I heard, "OK, good enough. Let me put some slick-’em on your hair now." He picked up the Vaseline, and put a good-sized gob in his palm. He started rubbing it in, a little bit at a time.
"My god, with all the rubbing he’s doing I’m gonna look like I stuck my finger in a light socket." When the Vaseline was rubbed in to his satisfaction, he spent a lot more time combing it. He picked up the clippers and did a little more trimming. Evidently he wanted me to look perfect.
I thought he was done, and tried to stand up. I was ready to go see myself. Dad pushed me back into the chair. "Hang on there, Buster. I ain’t done with you. I’ve still gotta shave the sides."
"Ok, Dad, but can’t I go look first?"
"Nope! You don’t get to see yourself until I’m done."
I teased. "I should’ve put a mirror in here when I was getting ready." I smirked. "I think I’ll let my hair grow out again, and when I decide I want to go short again, I’ll go to a barber with lots of mirrors, so I can see what he does--and I won’t take you with me."
He growled (again). "Like hell you will! I’ll hog tie you, and shave your head if you try to put me through this hell again! There’d better not be a next time!"
I immediately felt bad. "Was it really that hard on you? I’m sorry."
"Well, it wasn’t easy, but don’t feel bad. Part of growing up is stretching your wings and pushing the boundaries." He looked fierce, but I knew he was teasing. "I’ll forgive you...as long as there is no ‘next time’."
He started spreading shaving cream on my neck and sides. Then he yawned and stretched. "Dear god, my back is killing me, and I’m so sleepy I can hardly stand up!"
"I’m sorry, Dad. I guess I’ll have to let my hair grow out again, so you don’t hurt your back cutting my hair again. I’m also sorry I forgot you’re an old man, and need all the rest you can get."
He laughed, "I’ve done told you. No more long hair. I’ll buy a damned barber chair so I can get you where I need you!"
The idea of a barber chair in the house sounded pretty cool to me. "Where would we put it?"
"If we got a barber chair, where would we put it?"
"I don’t know, we’d figure out something." He glared at me. "Now who’s yacking? Shut up and let me finish this haircut so I can try to unkink my back."
He got his razor, and shaved the lower part of my haircut. After he finished shaving the backs and sides, he did some more blending with the clippers.
I was getting antsy. I thought I’d figured a way to get a sneak peek. "Dad, my bladder’s about to burst. I need to pee."
"I know what you’re doing...you’re just gonna have to hold it, or I can get a jar, and you can pee in it."
"Damn! You busted me. OK, finish this up. I’m dying to see how I look."
"You can’t rush perfection. Give me time to do this right."
The scissors appeared, and he did some cutting with them. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it any more, he startled me by putting some shaving cream on my face. "What are you doing?"
"You look like a wooly mammoth with all that stubbled. You’re gonna get the full effect when you see yourself."
"Dad, you’re killing me!"
Finally I head the magic words. "Go take a look. I'll think you'll be happier this morning than you were last night."
I was grinning before I even got a good look. The white skin distracted me from looking at the haircut for a minute. I thought, "What are you bitching about? You wanted to see skin." I looked again. "Thank god we're going fishing today. I can get a little sun on my head before going back to school."
I took another look. The sides were peeled high, but just to the right point. Not too low, and not too high. The blending was perfect. I had to touch it, just to remember what it felt like. I looked at myself again. "Chris, this is phenomenal! Look how the light reflects off the Vaseline!" I admired myself some more, looking at every detail...the tracks the comb had left in my hair, how I looked with no sideburns, and the way Dad had given me a sort of quiff by combing the longer front toward the back. I thought, "Dad's right. Having the top longer does look more adult than the way he cut it when I was a kid."
Thinking about the difference between what Dad called the adult look and the little boy look made me search my features, trying to find the little boy I remembered. I couldn't find him. The little boy had been replaced by a man. I grinned at myself. "I like the man who pushed the little boy out of the picture. He looks pretty damned good."
Dad walked in, and stood behind me. He put his hand on my shoulder and we stood there looking at me for a while. "Dad, the haircut is flawless. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job. I really love it. Thank you."
He hugged me. "Welcome back, son. You were missed." He looked at me some more. "I’m glad you love it. I was scared to death you’d hate it." He gave a big yawn. "I’m going to go take a nap, since you got me up so early. Anyway, I’m sure you probably have some unfinished business to take care of."
I'm not sure, but I think he looked at my crotch when he said it.
I gave him a shrug and a goofy smile. "Go get some sleep. I’ll try not to wake you up."
He gave me another hug. "Son, seeing you look like this was worth getting up for."
I kept looking at myself. The more I looked (and felt my head) the more I was certain I had told Dad the truth. I loved it.
After we’d both had a nap (well, I took care of the "unfinished business" Dad had talked about before taking a nap) we went to a big lake about thirty minutes from the house. A couple of old men were fishing off the dock, and I had barely got out of the truck when I heard one of them say, "I’ll be damned, Frank. Take a look-see at that young whippersnapper over there. I think he’s the first young man I’ve seen with a decent haircut in the last ten years." I saw Frank take a look at me, and his eyes bugged. I waved at them.
Frank said, "He seems to be a friendly sort too. Don’t see too much of that these days."
Dad waved at the old men too, and then looked at me. "Come on, Chris. Let’s get this boat in the water. The fish ain’t gonna jump in it. We’ve gotta catch them."
It didn’t take us long to get on our way to our favorite fishing spot. Dad killed the motor, and reached in the cooler. He grabbed a beer and tossed it at me. I was surprised and almost missed it. "Huh? What’s this for?"
"Well, the last time I checked, you drink beer."
"Yeah, I’ve heard that, but you’ve never let me have one."
"Oh, come off it, Chris. You’re a teenager. I know you’ve drank. In fact, I expect that’s one of the things I’ll hear about when you come clean when you’re thirty."
I grinned. "Maybe, maybe not. Maybe there’s worse things I want to tell you about."
Dad cringed, and shivered. "God, I dread that day!"
I laughed. "I guess since you’re expecting it to be bad, I’d better start doing more bad things." I can only describe the sound I made as an evil cackle. "I want to live up to your expectations and have lots to confess."
He glared. "Don’t you dare!"
"You’ll have to wait thirteen years to find out if I did or didn’t."
He groaned. "Tell me again why I had kids?"
We had retreated into a comfortable silence, and I was almost asleep when I heard. "Did I ever tell you I seriously thought about becoming a barber?"
I was fascinated. I’d thought I knew about most of Dad’s past. "No! Really? You would’ve been a great barber. Why didn’t you?"
"Well, in case you haven’t noticed, I like being outside--a lot. When I realized I’d be cooped up inside all day if I opened a barbershop, I changed my mind. Plus, it was just easier to be a farmer. Dad already had the farm, and I knew I’d inherit it, so I went with what the Fates had decreed."
"Do you ever regret not becoming a barber?"
"I do, but not too often. I sometimes think about how nice it would be to stay in a nice, cozy barbershop when I’m going out to feed the cows and it’s freezing cold. When I’m fixing fence and it’s ninety-nine degrees with 95% humidity I sometimes question my sanity, and wonder why the hell I chose to be a farmer."
I laughed. "It’s probably best you didn’t become a barber. You would’ve pissed a lot of folks off when you peeled their Sixties and Seventies hair into something straight out of the Forties and Fifties."
He grimaced. "You’re right about that. I don’t know if I could’ve left a man with long hair. The urge to peel that mess off would’ve probably overtaken me, and I’d have left some fool with no hair. I swear, I just don’t understand why a man would want long hair."
"Well, you sure peeled me, and left me with no desire to have long hair again. I think I’m stuck on short hair, but I am thinking about going with a flattop for the summer. What do you think?"
"I’m not telling you how to wear your hair, but I think you’d be a damned fool if you didn’t try it." He lifted his cap, and rubbed his head. "Be careful though. Sometimes flattops get stuck, and don’t ever go away. I’m proof of that."
I reached over and rubbed his head. "I can think of worse fates."
Dad grinned. I laughed. "Dad, I can see your wheels turning. You’re plotting ways to convince me to get a flattop. Don’t tax your little pea-sized brains trying to figure it out. I’m pretty sure I’m going to follow in your footsteps and get one when school’s out. Like father, like son."
I went to a friend’s house after we got back from fishing, just to see what his reaction would be. His first words were what I expected. "What the hell happened to your hair?"
I tried to explain, but he was gobsmacked, and didn’t understand. "You look like a stupid ass, and I think you’ve lost your damned mind, but it’s your hair. Just don’t try to talk me into following in your footsteps. I don’t wanna look that stupid." After he got over the shock of it, he seemed OK. Nothing he said made me feel like he would ostracize me. That gave me a little hope that the first day at school wouldn’t be too bad.
I was OK until I laid down that night, and I have to admit I got more than a little apprehensive about going to school the next morning. I kept thinking, "Dad was right. Facing the first day with my newly shorn head is going to be tough. In fact, it might be harder than I’d imagined." I kept talking to myself, and finally went to sleep after thinking, "The deed is done, and you’re happy with the results. If they don’t like, they can go sit on a broomstick."
I walked into the bathroom the next morning, and couldn’t help admiring myself in the mirror, and then I had to rub my head a bit. I asked myself, "Do you think you’ll ever get used to that feel, or will it always excite you to get a fresh haircut?" I had an answer to my question. "I guess I’ll have to keep getting my hair peeled, and find out."
I finally stopped admiring myself and got down to the business of shaving. It’s vain of me, but the whole time I was shaving I was thinking, "Damn, Chris. You’re one more good looking man, and you can really pull this look off. Aren’t you glad you decided to do it?"
In a typical teenage move, I went from being excited to being apprehensive. As I was combing my hair, I noticed the shine the Vaseline put in my hair. I started talking to myself. "Chris, it might be easier going back to school without the high gloss. You should lose it for a few days, and then if you want to, you can start easing into it at school." (Hairspray was king in the Seventies. The "dry" look was the style, and no one would dare have a "wet" look.) I got undressed, and stepped into the shower. My hair still felt oily after I shampooed it twice. I gave up and got out. One look in the mirror told me that I didn’t like what I saw. My hair didn’t look shiny, it just looked limp and lifeless--almost like it was oily and needed washing. "Screw it, Chris. You’re only going to get to go to school one time with a big change like this. Go for it." I pulled out the Vaseline, and really loaded my hair up. It was shining like a beacon when I walked out of the bathroom. I felt like a movie start from the forties.
I pulled into the school parking lot, and the day got off to a bad start. As soon as I got out of the truck I heard, "Who the hell is that loser?" One look told me I was surrounded by the worst kids in the school, and they started giving me a hard time about my hair. Just when I thought I was going to have to fight them (and I was ready. They’d really started to piss me off), one of the boys said, "I smell Coach Green’s cigar. Be cool, dudes." (Yes, in those days, the teachers smoked around the students, and the smell of Coach Green’s cigar often alerted us to his presence in time for us to stop doing something that would’ve got us in trouble.)
Coach Green wasn’t fooled by their sudden innocence. "What kind of mayhem are you losers trying to stir up here?"
"Nothing, sir. We was just going to introduce ourselves to the new guy."
"My god, try paying attention in English class. It’s ‘we were going to introduce ourselves’ not ‘we was’. The whole lot of you are a bunch of dumbasses." He stared at the leader of the group. "Jay, I think you’re a damned liar and I ain’t buying your pretense of friendliness. You weren’t trying to introduce yourself to the new guy. You were trying to start a fight. If you want a fight, I’ll give you a fight. I’ll bet you this young man and I can give you a run for your money. Now get out of here, and try not to cause any more trouble today, because I’m gonna be watching you."
They left, mumbling all the way. I heard Don say, "We would’ve whipped his damn ass if that coach hadn’t showed up."
Coach Green turned to me, and said, "I’m sorry you had to face that on your first day. Welcome to Pine Forest High. I’m Coach Green." He stuck his hand out to shake my hand.
I lost it. I howled with laughter. Coach stood there looking at me like a cow looks at a new gate. Once I could breathe again, I said, "Coach Green, it’s me, Chris."
He did a double take. "I’ll be damned. It is! I don’t know what happened to your hair, but I sure as hell like it. If I had any hair on the top of my head, I’d run to the barbershop and follow your example. Who cut your hair? They did a good job."
"Dad happened to me, Coach. He cut my hair for me yesterday."
"If you’d asked me which of my students would’ve gone for a short haircut, I would’ve picked you last. What brought this on?"
"I really don’t know what happened. I just got tired of my hair, and asked Dad to cut it off."
"I wish more of my students would think like that. See if you can influence a few of your friends to follow your example."
"You got it, Coach. By the way, thanks for helping me out. I was ready to take those losers on, but I’m glad I didn’t have to."
"No problem. Now get your ass in the school, and try not to start another fight."
I said, "Yes, sir. I’ll head in, and hope no one else wants to start something. I won’t start anything, but I won’t back down."
Once I got in the school, I got some positive feedback. I was standing at my locker when I felt two hands rubbing the sides of my head and heard a very passionate moan. A female voice said, "Mmm, that feels good." I turned around and it was Jennifer. She kept talking. "That feels amazing." Then she looked at me. "You look like a very handsome rogue cop who's about to put his handcuffs on me and do unspeakable things to my body."
I lowered my head so she wouldn’t have to stand on tiptoes to reach it. She rubbed my head some more and sighed. When I started to look up, her lips were right there, and I pulled her to me and gave her a very long, very passionate kiss right there in the school hallway. Wolf whistles echoed through the hallway when we finally separated.
She said, "Call me," and turned to walk away.
"Wait, Jennifer. I don't have your number."
She looked over her shoulder and gave me a very impish grin. "I imagine a very handsome rogue cop has the resourcefulness to find my phone number." I think she put some extra sway in her hips as she continued to walk away from me.
As the day went on, I noticed Jeff couldn’t keep his eyes off me. It seemed like he was standing wherever I went, with a look on his face that I couldn’t quite figure out. I could see he was fascinated. I don’t know where the thought came from, but it was suddenly lodged in my head. "Jeff, you don’t know it yet, but pretty soon you’re going to lose that long, pretty hair. I just picked you to be the first one I’m going to talk into following in my footsteps!" I walked up to him and started a conversation. He had lots of questions about my haircut: why I’d done it, who’d done it for me, how it felt, had I been scared...
In addition to Jeff and Jennifer’s positive reactions, I had two guys tell me they admired my courage, and I spent about fifteen minutes describing the haircut experience to another guy, and the effect my haircut had on Jennifer. He shook his head. "I don’t know how you found the courage to do it. You must have balls of steel."
Don't get me wrong, all the attention I got throughout the day wasn’t positive. I heard more variations of "What the hell happened to your hair" or "When did you join the Marines?" than I had ever dreamed possible. I got lots of razzing, but most of it was good-natured. I took some crap from some people and several people made snide comments. One jock walked by and sneered, "Looser!" One of the geeks walked by and I heard, ""Dweeble Dee, and Dweeble Dum. You look like a dweeb and your haircut is dumb."
I started doubting the wisdom of my actions. "My god, Chris, if the geeks think you look like a dweeb, you’re in bad shape." Then I thought, "Nope! Think about Jennifer’s reaction. You’re in good shape. Enjoy it!"
The worst bully in the school decided he was going to torment me. He harassed me between every class, and started talking more smack during lunch. I got fed up--really fed up. I waited until we were out of the lunchroom, and pushed him against a locker to have a conversation with him. I put my fist in his stomach (no, I didn’t hit him, I just let him know I wasn’t afraid to). I rubbed my white walls (which made my muscles flex) and I gave him the evil eye. "Richard, do you really want to make something of this? I will take your sorry ass outside and beat you black and blue if you don’t stop acting like a damned asshole. Then I’ll drag your ass to a barber shop, and make you get a matching haircut. Got it?"
I guess he believed me. He never said anything else to me.
I turned around and saw Coach Green standing there. He gave me a grin, and said, "Hi, Chris. How’s it going? In case you’re wondering, I didn’t see what just happened." Then he walked off toward the gym.
Coach Green sorta took me under his wing after that. I guess seeing me stand my ground made him think I was worth investing some time in. Soon we were spending our lunch hour just talking. I learned a lot about life from him during that time.
Coach Green wasn’t the only friend I made. Jeff and I became friends. He kept asking my about my haircuts, and I soon knew he was obsessed. Little by little, I started reeling him in. "Jeff, the clippers feel so great as they’re running up your head. There’s this really cool vibration to them that is amazing." Another time, "The sound they make as they strip away the hair is awesome." "Here, feel my head. Wouldn’t you like to be able to feel that any time you wanted?" After I let him rub my head, he started rubbing it every time he could. I finally put a stop to it. "Hey, Jeff, my hair’s off limits now and you’re going to have to stop living vicariously through me. From now on, if you want to feel buzzed hair, you’re going to have to feel your own. I’ve talked to Dad, and he’s willing to give you a haircut. Are you ready?"
"Me? I don’t want a haircut anywhere close to yours, I just like how yours feels."
"You’re a lying dog, Jeff. I’d be willing to bet you have wet dreams about a barber cutting your hair off. What’s your fantasy? White walls like mine? A flattop? A buzz cut? Maybe even a complete shave? What is it?"
He blushed beet red. "Umm...I don’t...How?..."
"GIve it up, Jeff. You know you want to do it. You really wanna feel the clippers going over your head. You’re dying to see that hair of yours disappear." I looked at him. "Just imagine what it’d be like to be able to reach up and touch buzzed hair any time you want to." I could see the fear in his eyes, and I could see the longing in them too. I pushed him a little. "How about going home with me after school? I’m sure Dad’ll make time to shear you like a sheep...and I want to be there to watch all your long hair fall on my kitchen floor. Deal?"
"Umm, OK. I’ll do it." He rubbed his head, and looked embarrassed. "You’re right, I’ve been wanting to follow in your footsteps since the first day you showed up with a clipped head." He shook his head. "Oh, my god. Did I just agree to get my hair peeled off?"
"Yep! You did, and I’m holding you to it. No backing out now. Meet me at my truck when the bell rings."
Jeff was standing by my truck when I got there. I grinned. "Come on, Jeff. Let’s get the hell out of Dodge. I’m sure Dad’s got some clippers that are hungry, and they’d love to feed on your hair."
He gave me a sick grin. I couldn’t decide if it looked like he wanted to pass out, puke or take off running.
Dad was in the back pasture when we got there. I waved at him, and he turned the tractor off. I said, "Hey, old man, feel like playing barber? I’ve got a victim for you."
He looked at Jeff. "Him?"
"Hot damn! Let’s go!"
Soon Jeff was sitting in a chair in the middle of our kitchen, while Mom talked his ears off. He walked out with a haircut that was identical to mine...except mine looked better on me than his looked on him. I say that with all modesty. Jeff’s ears stuck out. Call me vain, but I thought, "My haircut makes me look more mature, and he looks like a little boy. I wonder why?"
Jeff wasn’t the only student I converted to short hair. I kept talking to my friends about the benefits of a short haircut, and by the end of the school year there were four of us at school sporting fairly short haircuts. Jeff and I had white walls. One of my friends got a fairly short taper. Another one went with a boxy flattop.
Coach Green congratulated me each time one of my friends showed up with a new haircut. He always ended his conversation with, "Way to go! Who’s the next victim?"
If I'm honest, I almost regretted it every time I talked someone into getting a short cut. I liked the idea of being the odd man out, and every new haircut seemed to diminish my specialness. I enjoyed seeing the results of my conversions, but I hated not being the lone wolf any more.
Just as a side note, I went out with some friends to celebrate the last day of school, and didn’t get home until about 4:00 AM. I walked in, and saw Dad had the barbershop set up in the kitchen (even though he’d cut my hair the day before.) Out of the darkness of the hallway, I heard, "Flattop, anyone?"