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Friends Sticking To The Deal by M DeMarlo

Friends Sticking To The Deal By M DeMarlo

In my teen years my desire to get a short haircut was consuming me to the point of a double life. I was one of the cool kids, my network of friends kept me busy during the school year and I always had something going on during the summer. I turned 16 this summer celebrating with a pool party in my parent’s back yard. Every guy at the party had long hair, haircuts were taboo, avoided, especially a barbershop haircut. The style was a shag, long layered or the mullet, party in the rear and clean-cut in the front. I secretly wanted to get a real short haircut. Was hoping my dad would make me get a crew cut or something close to it. Its been a year or two since my dad controlled my haircuts. I had mixed feelings wanting him to not make it my decision, and be firm and strict the way he used to be. Watch what ya wish for, that is so true.
Early evening around 7:00 PM I was cleaning up around the pool area when I got a glimpse of Jimmy who lived next door. Jimmy was my age, tall good looking 16 year old with dark black brown shoulder length hair. He was wearing a baseball cap and it looked like he had his mane tied tightly into a pony tail, at least that’s what it looked like from a distance in the early evening. He hollered across the yard that he was coming over, and as he approached I was in shock when he pulled off his Detroit Tigers baseball cap. His hair was short, around his ears and tapered nape that was boxed and neatly outlined. Parted on the side I could tell the front was cut on an angle and combed back nice and neat. He had a regular haircut, around the ears but still full on the sides and back. No skin was showing.
I said "Jimmy, what the f*** happened to your hair", He told me his grandparents were taking him and his little sister with them to Oklahoma for the summer. His grandfather is retired top brass. US Navy. Jimmy was sent to the barbershop down the street. He had no choice. His grandpa really got on Jimmy’s case, it was the first time his grandfather has seen him with shoulder length hair. Nothing upsets the old Navy officer more than a young man looking like a god dam girl by letting haircuts go unchecked.
His father’s father, gramps was a tough old bird. Jimmy had been awaiting his father to get home and unravel l this whole haircut mess. But his dad didn’t make it home in time to save Jimmy from getting his hair cut. Wow, is all I could say, your completely clean-cut now.. Jimmy and I had made a pact years ago when we were just kids and starting to grow our hair. If one of us has to get a haircut the other will cut his as well. It was always me who’s parents would destroy any length of hair I would grow. Jimmy always a good sport and living up to him and I being best friends, he would also get a haircut.. Jimmy’s uncle owned several barbershops in the area, so Jimmy never had to pay for a haircut.
The last time was about two years ago. My hair was touching my earlobes. While I was on a camping trip with my dad without any warning he took me to a barbershop out in the country someplace and had the barber give me a crew cut. I was devastated, wanting to bury my head and hide someplace. That crew cut had been a major blow to my confidence and was the turning point where I no longer had to get my hair cut. My dad liked the cut, but felt bad because it was so short. He could see the impact it had on me. He had to literally drag me out of the camper to go fishing. That day he released me from his haircut rule. I could choose how my hair would be cut. When he said I could grow it as long as I want I was all joy and returned to a happy kid bonding with his dad, with a fresh crew-cut.
Two days later when we got home and Jimmy took a look at my fresh tight crew cut I told him it was ok, he didn’t have to live up to this one . Jimmy being a true friend surprised me showing up the next day with a crew cut.
Now Jim and I are going into our junior year at high school. We both had shoulder length hair starting the school year, that was until now we both had long hair. This is the first time Jimmy sets the stage with a haircut. Don’t worry about it he tells me, you don’t have to cut your hair too. That’s not why he stopped by. He just wanted to let me know he was going to Oklahoma for the summer and ride horses at his grandfather’s ranch.
"Jimmy, your going to have a great summer" I told him. I had seen pictures of his grandpa’s horse ranch before. I told him a haircut is a small price to pay for the enjoyment spending your summer on a horse ranch in Oklahoma. Wish I were going with you bro. Jimmy then told me Gramps has already said he and his sister can bring one friend each, so long as your parents say its ok. Just have your dad or Mom call or come over and talk to gramps, and we leave in the morning.
I asked my dad if I could go, of course he said yes, and called Jimmy’s grandpa on the phone. As Jimmy and I were listening we heard "of course" and "oh yes, he is well behaved, the two boys seem to bring out the better in one another". Then a frowned look and my dad said "well, I won’t make him, it will have to be on his own doing. However I will defiantly mention it to him. Good night and have a safe trip." He hung up the phone and told me it is all set, permission is granted. Jimmy had been wearing a baseball cap all this time and was basically downstairs in the basement family room. My dad was upstairs in the kitchen. I know my father all to well, and I know if he see’s Jimmy clean-cut he will want my hair cut as well. Regardless of the deal he and I had making haircuts my decision.
Yes, far-out I’m going too, this is going to be great. Thanks dad, I said to my father. I started to run down the stairs and dad stopped me. "You can go, but Jim’s grandpa says you have to get the long hair cut. Says he wants you boys to have short haircuts. He also said Jim has already gotten a nice clean-cut haircut at his uncle’s barbershop. My dad said "Now we have a good reason to get that hair of yours cut, its been bothering me for over a year now. It’s time for you to go to a barbershop. I knew it, and Jimmy was coming up the stairs. My dad snatched off his Detroit Tigers baseball cap. Dad smiled and said "Oh yea, now that is a sharp looking haircut, but needs to be shorter" . Jimmy said thanks and said to me, barbershop is still open.
The fate of me not having long hair was sealed, and nervously went with my dad and my friend Jimmy. Dad took us to the barbershop close to the military base, which was about ten miles out of the way. He said they will be open late. Jimmies haircut did not look so fresh anymore compared to the guys close to the military base. When we walked into the barbershop there were two barbers, neither one had a client in his chair. Are all three of you here for haircuts, no, said my dad, just these two. Jimmy looked at my dad and said he just got his hair cut. Yes you did, but lets get you a real haircut, something short for both boys.
When I got in the chair the barber started frenzy snipping my long hair quickly above my ears and collar with barber shears, took about 90 seconds and my hair was short above my ears and collar. In the mirror I could see jimmy getting his already short hair clipped tight, the barber was starting to cut the top down flat. He was almost done and his hair was really short, his white scalp could be seen just about everywhere. He had been in the chair not even 5 minutes.
Clippers were mowing up the back of my head leaving a path clipped down to an eighth of an inch, over again from my nape to my crown. Hair was everywhere. By now there was an audience watching. Several marines had stopped in after viewing the long haired kid in the barber’s chair. Any other time this would have been pure hell, an audience watching me go through a huge transformation. My best friend Jimmy getting scalped at the same time made it fun. We kept eyeing one another as the haircuts progressively got shorter. I could not see myself as I was turned away from the mirror. I heard the barber switching clipper blades. Then vibrating steel the Oster clipper blade A1A was right against my skin and plowing uniform stubble tight to my scalp straight up to my temple. One of the marines watching said. Good looking kid under all that mess, what a difference. His two friends were all nodding with smiles on their face in agreement. The oldest one is now getting in the chair as Jimmy stepped down looking in the mirror rubbing stubble up the back of his head. The marine getting in the barber’s chair asked how old we were. My dad answered saying we were both going on 17 The recruiter asked if we were going to enlist in the military after high school graduation? One of the marines waiting for the barber to finish my haircut said he wants to see both of us in the recruiting office. "Lets get you boys into our Devil Dogs program. We were both to young so he gave us both his card. The barber was finished, I looked like one of them, I felt masculine and proud. There was no feeling of regret, or embarrassment, I could have cared less what other people will think. An advantage getting a short haircut near a military base, whoever is getting a haircut its always short. This is a new feeling stepping out of a barber’s chair with a short haircut, and likingbit. The barber had skinned me down to a H&T crew/flat on top groomed with lucky tiger. My white scalp could be seen through the close clipped dark stubble to my crown and over to the center of the top of my head. Beyond clean cut, I had a haircut like I was in the military, and so did my buddy. The pile of cut hair around the chair was quickly being swept into a dustpan, which it filled spilling to the floor. On the walk back to the car we passed the recruiting office. Two of the marines that were in the barbershop watching Jimmy and I getting our hair cut were standing at the door, holding it open for us to enter. Walking past the officer he ran his hand up the back of my freshly clipped head and said" nice haircut you got there recruits"

Al summer long while at Jimmy’s granddad’s ranch we talked about joining the devil dogs, a day or two later we were discussing the Coast Guard. One thing was certain; whatever college we would consider has to have ROTC. The start of the 11th grade I had a really fresh looking short IVY, more like a crew cut with a bumper brushed up in the front. Jimmy had a regular clean-cut haircut, short back and sides but real short. The deal we made was when summer break arrives we go to one of Jimmy’s uncles barber shops and get our hair cut real short again, its fun. By M DeMarlo

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