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Culture Shock by M DeMarlo

Culture Shock

The first major transformation haircut my dad made
me get happened in the spring /summer when I was almost 17. My mom & dad
had gone through a bitter divorce several years before. Myself, it had become
very hard for my mom to handle, I was running wild. My hair was quite long, and
this was allowed, as there was nobody around that could make me get it cut, and
it was almost to my shoulders. It had been about a year since I had seen my
dad, and at that time it was about mid-ear maybe to my earlobes.

During the winter I had taken my sisters' facial
vaporizer and her sun lamp. She had once had really bad acne and these tools
were part of a clear complexion for her. I was fortunate and maybe have had two
or three zits in my entire life. The sunlamp and vaporizer I used growing pot
in my closet during winter. My mom even asked me "what's that in your
closet" I told her it was Zenia's, that I was into horticulture, she was
as happy as a flea on a cat that I had found something I was interested in. She
even helped me transplant them into the backyard behind the garage.

In a month or so the plants were thriving. Rita Plant, who was our neighbor and always referred to me as"THAT Mark Macci" as if I were a Juvenal delinquent or some real trouble maker. Rita showed my mom a picture of cannibals in a book telling her those plants are not zenia's, he is growing marijuana. That was the icing on the cake as far as having no control over me and she called my dad. This was when the idea for me to go and stay with him for that summer came about. However, it was just an idea my mom said. No decision has been made yet. Any more trouble and I guarantee I will let your father sort it out. Don’t even jaywalk young man.

Not that I disliked my dad, it was all his rules. Especially appearance, he is very conservative on clothing and will make me get my hair cut being the reason I only see him at my moms' house. All that doesn't matter to her, she is more up to date. Besides, the guy that takes her out now and then has hair longer than mine. So I am on my best behavior. I even staged it for her to see me walking Mrs. Kraft (a little old lady) across the street carrying her bags for her. She called my mom and told her what a nice young man I was. Looks like I am in the clear.

Two more days left of school and it would be summer break. I was going to be a senior the next term and would graduate with my long hair and even have my graduation picture taken with my long mullet. Second to last day of school I was buying a 1/4 pound of pot from my connection during lunch in the school parking lot. Lafourche Parish Police busted my connection and me along with him. Zero tolerance on any kind of drugs at the school meant I was automatically kicked out, as this was not the first problem the school had with me. My mom called dad who drove through the night to come and pick me up.

It would be more than the summer with him in Brazoria Texas. About a five-hour drive from my moms' place in Thibodaux Louisiana to Brazoria Texas. Thibodaux is bad enough, it's Cajun country red necks. A lot of country people are more focused on fishing and hunting in the bayou, French culture is much more relaxed. Brazoria Texas is what it is. Most of the men work in the prison system which is the Texas Department of Corrections. Brazoria has got to be the neck capital and my dad was a neck in every way shape and form. I couldn't help but notice his actual neck had a sunburn. Looking out the window I thought to myself why, why, why, why, why did I have to do that deal in the school parking lot.

My dad was pissed off too, really pissed off. About halfway there he told me I had to get a haircut. He wasn't asking me anymore if I would get a nice haircut, no. He was telling me that I was to get a short haircut, in a barbershop. We would stop before getting to his house. I knew it was coming but didn’t expect to stop on the way. Frustrated and angry I said Jesus Christ on a pogo stick you really can’t wait, can you? Slap, he smacked me in the mouth almost driving off the road saying don’t you use the lords' name in vain. Boy, I will not spare the rod and spoil my child. Now I was buthurt, pouting, looking out the window. until he inserted a CD playing Meryl Haggard and country twangy music made my situation clear.`

We arrived and parked in front of The Plantation Barbershop. My dad told me not to act stupid or I will regret it. Also, he said this haircut is not a punishment. You will get your punishment with my belt when we get home. You're getting a haircut because I want to see a change in your appearance. We are going to do this my way and there will be no long hair living under my roof. No sucking teeth, no pouting, and no smart-alick back talk or you will be very embarrassed because I will slap the tar out of you in front of everybody put you in the chair, and have the barber shave your head, You understand. Yes sir, is all I could say

Plantation Barbershop, a small shack the
size of a tool shed. One barber’s chair one barber, and a waiting bench. An
overhead fan kept the air circulating along with a small window air
conditioner. Walking in the door the smells of cigars, cigarettes, aftershave,
and talcum powder was a scent to identify a barbershop in a movie that had
scratch and sniff cards. The old barber jumped out of his chair and started
barking to "hurry, close the door, I’m
not cooling the outdoors"

"I don’t style long hair; this is a
barbershop, not a styling salon. My dad had a fresh-looking haircut, as he had
recently walked out of a barbershop that very day. So the barber was looking at
me while he pointed at a wall poster that was black & white showing several
short haircuts. The date stamp on the poster was 1960. "Pick a haircut from
that poster if you want a haircut". The longest haircut pictured was a short
back and sides, the shortest was a butch. In between was a Princeton Ivy
league, a crew cut, and a flat top. A sign read "Active duty military half
price. Must be in uniform or have military ID for discount"

My dad looked at the poster and said, "he is getting his hair cut". The barber then
patted on the back of the barber's chair. "you have a seat right here young
man" I sat in the chair wide-eyed and nervous. Snap, the barber shook out his
black pin-striped cape and flew it over my torso fastening loosely at the neck,
then a tight neck strip. The stage is set, that’s what was going through my

Looking at my dad the barber asked "how short do
you want it cut? Had a long-haired fella in here the other day, gave the lad a
crew cut. His father ordered the haircut with a phone call. Said he wanted his
boy's hair cut like a Marine. Gave him a sharp-looking high & tight crew
cut. The kid looked like he was about to cry a few times. I told him "you cry
and I will shave you bald". Then talking to me in the chair he says. "same
goes for you, no crying". My dad gave a chuckling laugh and told the barber
"let us start with a short back and sides, make it real, real short. No, I want
a serious haircut for him, make that a nice tight Ivy... My heart sank to the
churning butterflies in my stomach, and my dick got bone hard. Then he added,
well-groomed, off his face. Barber pumped up the chair a few times and fired up
large loud clippers. Clipped tightly up the back of my head and over the crown,
and he had just started.

The barber was too chatty saying. "young folks these days, once the hair gets long parents
lose control. I give crew cuts to quite a few teenagers. The police have
escorted teens to my chair with that long hair. When they leave I always tell
them to come back no later than two weeks. Two weeks later the same coppers
bring in the same kid for the same haircut. Clippers repeating in
the same spot while turning the chair, and soon my sides were clipped to
stubble too. The hair around the chair and in my lap could be mistaken for a small animal. a cat or little dog sleeping. Then the barber shook off the cape,
and reattached it to shave an arch around my ears. . I was clipped like a
military school cadet.

The sides and back were clipped tapered tight over my crown. The contrast from dark hair stubble
to white scalp gave that fresh clean military look to the haircut. The barber
left a little bit more than an inch in the very front. Rubbed lucky tiger butch
wax into the hair, lifted it and zipped it off flat. Wet little waxy chunks
hit my nose then down to the cape adding to the pet sleeping in my lap.
It was a crew cut and was repeated around every ten days to two weeks.

With a fresh haircut, I had to wear a crisp white shirt and a tie to church on Sundays
and my grandparents' house for Sunday dinner. I have never had long hair after
that day again. Wearing a tie made me look like a nerd, but I kinda liked being
a good son under control, it electrified me, I felt a charge every time I got a
view in a mirror or window reflection. My dad took credit that amazingly my bad behavior was corrected
with a change in my appearance. However, it would have changed anyway as I was not around anyone I could get into trouble with I was told the long hair says to people that
this teenager is without discipline and his parents don't care. Let my dad believe what he wants. I know even with a short haircut if I were around the wrong people I would be doing the same as always, only with short hair. He is stuck on the
other side of the coin saying a short haircut sends the right message that you are
under control and live with rules, and with that said the haircut was strictly maintained. He
wanted people to take notice of the change, and they did. However, I was
experiencing a shock going from a free-spirited no rules kind of living to a
strict conservative lifestyle that has many rules. I was suffering what is
called culture shock.

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