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The End of the Mullet by Shant
Spring had arrived and I was at Lowe’s buying plants for my garden. As I was looking around, a guy came over and asked me where one of the plants I had in my cart was located. I guessed that he was about 60 years old, like me. Another thing we had in common was that we both had great heads of hair. He had a full head of extremely thick, beautiful, brilliant white hair with no gray at all. It really was striking. When seeing him for the first time it was definitely the first thing someone would notice.
His hair was about 1 1/2 inches long on top and about 1 inch on the sides. He had it heavily gelled, making it look wet and shiney and brushed it all straight back. The top stood up and was spikey and then the sides blended in. You could tell that once he had it combed it never moved. I’m not a big fan of that greasy, shiney look but when the hair is that white it really does stand out. It was a really trendy haircut and rather unusual for a man his age, but when you have great hair, why not show it off?
When he turned around, I couldn’t believe it, but he had a mullet! It did not start at the crown. The back was short like the sides and the mullet started just above his collar and was about 3 inches long and about 2 inches wide. I wondered why he even bothered having it, with it being so short. Personally, I thought he would look much better without it. It was amazing how such a small amount of hair totally changed his overall appearance. From the front, he looked like this really fashion forward guy that had the confidence to wear a haircut that people definitely noticed. I can’t imagine any man not being envious of how great this guy’s hair was. However, when he turned around and you saw the mullet, he looked like an aging hippie. I immediately fantisized about cutting it off.
We talked for quite awhile and discovered that we were both retired and avid gardeners. We each spent a tremendous amount of time working in our gardens. We also realized that we only lived a few miles from each other. We continued our conversation and agreed to get together and exchange plants that we had.
Spring and summer passed and we ended up becoming good friends and worked together almost every weekend. Neither of us were no longer married and neither of us had children, so we had a lot of free time on our hands and enjoyed working together in the garden. At the end of our gardening sessions we would always finish off the day and have a couple of beers and just spend time looking at what we had accomplished.
I never said anything to Eric about his mullet. We had talked a few times about how lucky we were to have good hair but that was about it. One day, I finally got up the nerve to tell him that I thought he should cut his mullet off. I told him I thought he would look years younger without it. Eric replied that he had had his mullet almost all his life and felt like it was a part of him, but that he had occasionally thought about getting rid of it, but just never got around to it.
About another month went by and we were finishing fall cleanup, getting our gardens ready for winter. As we settled into our second beer, from out of the blue he surprised me by saying, "I think I’m about ready for you to cut off my mullet, that’s if you would want to. It’s really not all that long and after all these years, I’m ready to see how different I would look without it. Would you like to cut it for me?"
"Definitely. You know when we first met at Lowe’s, I thought you had one of the sharpest haircuts I’d ever seen. I was really surprised when you turned around and I saw the mullet. I couldn’t remember seeing anyone wearing one in years. It was such a contrast to the rest of your haircut. Have you had it for a long time? What caused you to grow it?"
"I guess it’s still a leftover from the 80’s. You should have seen my hair back then. It was really long. I’ll have to pull a picture out sometime and show you. At it’s longest it was almost to the middle of my back and it was solid black. When I was younger I wondered what color it would be when I got older. I really was happy and surprised that it turned out to be this white and this full."
Without saying another word, Eric went to his bathroom and came back with a complete set of barbering tools. He placed a chair in the middle of the kitchen floor, handed me the cape to place around his neck, sat down and said, "Let’s do this!"
I brushed his hair all straight back causing it to lose it’s shiney gelled look. Man, his hair was really thick! At the length it was, you could barely run your hands through it. It felt like a brush. I just wished he had longer hair for me to cut.
It didn’t take very long to remove the mullet. It was not that wide or long, just a few snips with the scissors on each side and it was gone. It was easy to blend into the sides because they were already about 1/2 inch long and did not require clippers. Even with so little hair coming off it ended up being a major improvement. Eric definitely looked better. I was glad how happy and pleased he was with the end result.
My hair was about twice the length of Eric’s. I too was lucky and still had a full head of thick hair. It was a sandy brown with a lot of blonde highlights due to working outside so much. I still did not have any gray at all. I guess it was my Scottish heritage because my mother and grandmother never had very much gray in their hair either.
I wore my hair in a typical longish businessman’s hairstyle. The sides were about 2 inches long and brushed back. The top, about 4 inches long, was brushed slightly to one side and then brushed up and back. Nothing outrageous, but I was still proud of my hair and knew how lucky I was to have it. My hair had enough body that I didn’t need to use any type of product to keep it in place. Working out in the hot sun all day however resulted in it looking pretty messy when we finished for the day.
Eric said he loved seeing the mullet gone and couldn’t believe the difference it made without it. We had a third beer and when I finished I figured it was about time to head home. To my surprise, Eric smiled and said, "Seeing that I just let you cut my hair, I think you should let me do the same for you. You look like you’re definitely in need of a trim, especially with that top being so long. I watched you pushing it back out of your eyes all day today."
"Oh, I don’t know about that," I said. "I’ve never let anyone other than a barber cut my hair before. I’m pretty fond of my hair and I like the length it is now and was actually thinking about growing it out even longer over the fall and winter. We’ve never talked about you cutting my hair before. Have you any experience? If I said you could cut my hair, how would you want to cut it?"
Eric said, "You mentioned earlier how sharp you think my hair looks. Well, I cut it myself, so I think I’m pretty good at giving haircuts. I’ve cut my own hair my entire life. It’s fun to cut a thick head of hair and you definitely have that. How about I give you a similar haircut to the one that I have only a little longer? I’d like to take about 2 inches off the top and 1 inch off the sides. I think it would look great all gelled up and brushed back like mine, but it would also look good just letting it dry naturally. Why not go for it and change your look too?"
Eric was kind of putting me on the spot, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided what was the big deal? It really was only hair. At the worst it would only take a few months to grow out and if it were really awful I could go to my regular barber and have him trim it up. The thought that maybe this could turn into us giving each other haircuts all the time made me consider letting him cut my hair even more.
"Oh what the hell," I said. "You’re right. Why not try something different? If you end up doing a good job I won’t need to pay for haircuts any more. Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up cutting each other’s hair all the time."
I could tell from the smile on Eric’s face that he had obviously thought about cutting my hair before today and that he was really excited about getting to actually do it. I sat down in the chair and let Eric cape me up. I had a lot more hair to come off than he did and I was actually nervous about how it was going to turn out, but looking forward to it too.
Eric wet my hair and then took his blowdryer and brushed it all straight back like his. My usual barber cut my hair with me facing the mirror but that was not going to happen here. That made the haircut even more exciting and terrifying.
Eric spent quite a bit of time brushing my hair. He then picked up his scissors, combed my forelock straight up and quickly snipped off the 2 inches we had discussed. What a rush! I had not had that much hair cut off at one time in years! I really didn’t know if I was ready for this but surprisingly I felt extremely relaxed. Eric continued cutting 2 inches off from the front to the crown. He made certain that the hair continued to fall into my lap. Even though it was only 2 inches long, because it was so thick, it really piled up.
"Now let’s take these sides down," Eric replied. Still using scissors he sectioned off an area and starting at my temple worked his way back to the crown, leaving it about 2 inches long in front and a little over an inch long in back. As he continued cutting I realized that like he had said I was going to end up with a slightly longer version of his haircut. I actually preferred having my hair tapered around the ears and back but was curious to see how it would look longer than usual.
"Now let’s wet your hair and gel it up and see how it looks," Eric said. When he finished he took me to the bathroom so I could see the job he had done. I liked the haircut but even though it was cut the same way as Eric’s, it didn’t look anywhere near as good as his. With his hair being so white the gel caused his hair to really shine. My brown hair did not have the same affect.
"I really like the haircut but I don’t think when it’s all gelled up that it looks as good as yours. I think I’ll probably just continue to comb it when it’s wet and then let it dry like I always do. I kind of wish that the sides and back were a little shorter. I’m used to my barber tapering it up and blending it in to the sides. I like it so that it is short enough that I can’t grasp it at the base. Do you think you could do that? Do you have much experience with clippers?"
"Sure. I’ve buzzed my hair down short several times over the years. Let’s go back to the kitchen and we’ll finish the cut." I got back in the chair and Eric caped me up again. He put a #2 guard on the clippers and proceeded to taper up the sides and the back. When he turned the clippers off he said that all he had left to do was blend the hair he had tapered into the remaining sides and top. He then took a wide toothed comb, ran it straight up the sides and back and using scissors, cut off any hair that was sticking out from the comb. I felt this was slightly different than how I usually had my hair cut but I was fine with it.
"Well, that’s it. I’m done. I hope you like it because I think it really looks sharp on you," Eric said. We went back to the bathroom so I could see the haircut. I couldn’t believe it when I looked in the mirror! Eric had given me a flattop and I hadn’t even realized it! It was not a short military flattop but one that had square sides and back and was longer on top. I loved it! I would never have had the nerve to ask my barber to give me a flattop. I hadn’t worn one in years but I knew that this would definitely be my haircut starting next spring and all through the summer.
"I hope you’re okay with the flattop," Eric said. "I figured that since you felt your hair didn’t look as good as mine that it would be better to give you a slightly different haircut. If you don’t like it, it will only take about four weeks to start being long enough to brush back. If you do like it however, you’ll need to get it cut more often to keep it in shape. It really looks sharp when it’s perfectly square."
"Well Eric, it looks like you’ll be cutting my hair for a long time. I love the haircut! It’ll be fun every now and then having you give me a different haircut resulting in a different look… and I think it’s only fair that if you continue cutting my hair that I should be able to cut yours too. I’d like to see you with a different look every now and then as well. What do you think?"
"I think that’s a great idea. I’m up for it. I’ll start by letting my hair grow out while you figure out whether or not to keep the flattop. What a great night this has turned out to be! I’m looking forward to many more haircutting evenings!"