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I saw a guy... by Storyteller



It was 1979, I (like all the boys in my classroom) had long hair. By the time this story occurred, my straight brown hair reached my shoulders and covered my big ears completely, the bangs reached my nose, and I constantly had to keep them out of my eyes. On the day that I had to go to the barber to do a slight trim of my hair, as I used to do, usually every three months, I happened to see that a boy, who had recently moved to my street, that I had seen a few times, and had hair longer than mine, have got a very short haircut in a style similar to the military.
As that was very unlikely at the time, it caught my attention a lot, I didn't even know who that boy was, but I wondered why he would have had to cut his hair like that since it was half the year and it wasn't the beginning of military school. Upon arriving at the barbershop, the barber greeted me with a smile and a "Good morning, son", since I had been his client for eight years. I politely said: "Good morning, Sir" and started walking to the barber chair, because I saw that he didn't have any clients at the moment, and sat down properly.
Everything in the barbershop was simple, it was very small, the barber chair was old, the equipment and products were all old and were displayed on shelves and on the counter. I remember a Pinaud product that never seemed to be used. There were clippers, but I never noticed they were there, as I never saw them being used.
The barber, with a white fabric cape in his arm, approached me and, placing a tissue around my neck, closed the cape with a pin, carefully preventing my long hair from getting caught inside the cape.
I was a shy and quiet boy, but as I had known the barber for a long time, I felt comfortable talking and we always talked about all matters. So, on this day, as always, we talked meanwhile he closed the cape, straightened my hair and started combing me.
Before he asked me how I wanted the cut, which was almost protocol, because I always told him to do "the usual", almost always asking to "cut less than last time" I ended up commenting: "Today I saw a guy my age who got a very short haircut, he looks like one of those boys from the Military School" and I completed "He used to have hair longer than mine "
The barber looked at me and said, "Ah, so today you want to change. We are going to do a Military School cut. " I gave a small smile preparing to deny and say that I was just commenting on what I had seen. But, there was no time.
The barber immediately took those clippers that I had never noticed existed, placed guard # 4, and held my head with a firmness that I never felt. Without waiting, he switched the clippers on and, placing them under my bangs, began to run them over the top of my head, from forehead to crown.
I was facing the mirror, kinda dizzy with the unexpected of the situation, and saw a strip in the middle of my head transform from those long bangs into a small area of short hair. And he kept working, moving clippers near that first strip of cut hair. And again. And again. And the top of my head was getting even and with very short hair. My bangs were gone. I just watched it happen, astonished. The barber would talk to me about other matters, no longer related to haircut, as we usually didn't talk about haircut. I just nodded or mumbled a sound.

He turned off the clippers a little bit, took off the # 4 guard, then he pushed my head, which he had never done, leaving my chin against my chest, put the clippers under the long hair on the nape, turned it on and started running from nape to the top, at the crown. I felt a chill when I noticed the metal touching my skin. A huge amount of hair fell on the cape in my lap. Then he was again making the clippers run alongside the first pass. And more hair fell on my lap. I made a movement with my legs that made hair fall to the floor. And so he went on making more passes of the clippers on the back of my head.
Then he brought my head back to the upright position. He moved it a little at an angle and started to clip the hair on the right side, from sideburns to crown. Now I could see what was going on, my hair on the side was becoming a very small, almost imperceptible, stubble, and it was almost to the top. He looked at me, smiled and said: "Very short, the way you asked". Then my right ear started to appear, immediately it turned red, because I was ashamed to see it exposed. The barber said "I bet you didn't even remember what a nice ear you have, son" and I smiled awkwardly. And he then bent my ear and started to clip around, several times, ensuring that he had done a good job in that area.
Afterwards, he went to the other side and changed the angle my head was at, then started making on the left side exactly the same as he had on the right side. When he finished that side he put my head straight again and looked at me comparing both sides with his eyes. He ran his hand gently over my head, feeling if the cut was all perfect.
Then he took a comb and, around the top, started to run clippers over comb, making the sides and back suit the top. After meticulous work in this area he turned off the clippers.
He took a brush and passed it over my face and head. Then he shook the cape, throwing all the hair on the floor, opened the cape and said "Okay, son, you can leave the chair." I got down from the chair, took my wallet to pay him and said "Thank you, Sir". He said "You're welcome" and I looked at myself once more in the mirror trying to recognize myself, and said "See you later, Sir" and left the barbershop, rubbing my head.




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