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New Year's Haircut by Storyteller


When I was 10 years old, in the 70s, long hair was the rule for almost all the boys. The few ones who had short hair were military school students or sons of military men, and if kids were not in the military environment they were usually taken as nerds if had any type of short hair. In fact, a boy would not want to have a short haircut in those days.
Until I was 6 years old, my father used to take me to a barbershop in the neighborhood where four barbers worked, all of whom were elderly and my hair used to be cut short. Then, a barbershop opened on our own street and we started going to that one where only one barber worked and, little by little, my father was releasing me from the obligation to get a short haircut, following the trend of the time.

That year we were going to spend New Year's Eve with some relatives we hadn't seen for a long time. My father asked me to go to the barbershop to have my hair trimmed, as it was quite grown, so that I would look decent for the New Year. I live in Brazil and New Year means summer and vacation.
I was a very polite and well-behaved boy, so I immediately said yes and went to the barbershop, knowing it would just be a light trim. I didn't even have to say what cut I wanted, the barber already knew what it was like. However, when I got there I saw a note saying that the barbershop was closed for the holidays. I was a little disoriented, but I thought about my father's request and tried to think of what to do.

I remembered that barbershop I went to when I was a little kid and decided to try and go there. I was a little worried if the barbers would remember me and might be angry that I never went there again and if they would know how to cut my hair the way my barber did then, but I figured in those days all barbers were used to that kind of cut.
The barbershop was in the same neighborhood, so it didn't take me long to get there. It was the same way. I opened the door, said "excuse me" and went inside. The barbers were the same and had not changed in appearance. I said "Good morning Sirs" to all of them, they were all not busy. They said "good morning" and the older one, who was in the chair near the door, said "You can come here, son" and pointed to his chair smiling. I was happy with his kindness and smiling I went to the chair and sat down.

He straightened me a little in the chair and put the cape on as he said "Wow, how did you grow up, son, it's been a while since you came here, huh?" I was a little embarrassed, but as he said it smiling I replied "Yes Sir". He said "You liked getting your hair cut here, didn't you?" And I, to be nice, said, "Of course I did and still do, Sir" and then I said "I need a New Year’s haircut" and he said "Oh yeah" and swiveled his chair around, opposite to the mirror.

He promptly straightened my head, came up with clippers with #4, turned them on, and started moving them on the top of my head saying "Let's get back to the cuts you liked son" while the noise of the clippers buzzed in my ear. I was startled, I got a little dizzy, I was silent. He followed buzzing the top of my head, saying nothing more.
I, trying to be nice, managed a smile. The barber said "you're so happy with the cut" running a hand over the buzzed part of my head. And he said "You were the most educated boy who ever came here, son" and added "I missed you here". I was really happy with what he said, I was sad because he was cutting my hair so short, but he was so excited and said such nice things that I could only smile and say thanks.
"Thank you so much Sir, it's great to get back to your barbershop." He kept going with the clippers, but by then he had already switched the #4 to #0 and was buzzing my hair on the sides and back. As he said, "I knew that your dad started taking you and your brother to another barbershop and let you guys grow your hair, back in those days." I was quite surprised and he continued "but I always thought that when you had a choice you would come back here for the old haircuts", while turning my hair into something really short.

He said "I remember that when you came here, long hair fashion was already starting and you said you liked short hair" I kept thinking and remembered that when I was very little I used to say that, to please my father and the barber . "And when you walked in the door I thought " finally, he came back." He smiled a lot as he said this and rubbed my now short hair.
I wanted to strike up a conversation and said "I really like to come here Sir, it smells so good" and took a breath. He said "it's the smell of shaving foam" I laughed and said "I was scared when you slashed the razor" because he done the outline shave back in the old days.

He finished using the clippers and put them away, and he came with the shaving brush full of lather and said "now that you're big, don't be afraid anymore" and spread lather all over the back and sides and said "smell the aroma". And he then took the razor and promptly began to shave what little hair he had left on the sides and back. And he did it carefully, probably remembering that I was afraid. Before long, everything was shaved in that area.

He then said "It looks really cool son but, I don't know, I think maybe you'll like it shorter on top." He looked at me smiling and rubbing my short hair on top. I, already not knowing what to do or say, said "Sure, Sir" and he said "Let's make it really short then" and put the #1 in the clippers.
He soon began to run the clippers with the #1 on and my short hair was getting even shorter, while little hairs came out as the clippers passed. It was very fast and soon I felt his hand rubbing my head, I could feel it very well.

He then turned off the clippers and started dusting my head with a duster brush, I didn't even remember he used that. Then he put talc in the brush bristles and spread it around my ears and my nape. He showed me the cut from all angles, and I wasn't even that surprised by what I saw anymore because I'd already felt it when he ran his hand. He shook the cape and opened it carefully and said "ready son, you can get off the chair"

I went down the chair and reached into my pocket for the money and he said "No way, son, I'm not going to charge you for your New Year's cut, I'm so glad with your return." I, very shy, said "T-t-thank you so much Sir". He patted my head and said "Now you know the way, come back often, I'll make you a special price." I smiled and said "Thank you so much, Happy New Year Sir". He said "Happy New Year" as I walked out of the barbershop.

When I got home my father was very surprised and asked "What happened?" and I said "the barbershop was closed and I went to that old men’s shop on the other street, the barber recognized me and thought I was going there to get the old haircut", my father just smiled and said "well, hair grows, and you have the whole summer vacation for your hair to grow out and when you get back to school it will be normal." I smiled and said "It's true dad"

We went to New Year’s celebration at our relatives' home and almost all of them were older people, they didn't like the long hair fashion for boys, they hadn't seen me for a long time and everyone complimented me and said I was a very well behaved boy. I was happy with the treatment I received and thought a lot about the barber's offer...




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